Each year Akron Children’s Emily Cooper Welty Expressive Therapy Center dedicates a night to showcase some of the hard work and outcomes of the many therapy sessions that occur throughout the year.
These works include a variety of visual art, dance, music and poetry – all created by patients, family members and staff.
On May 14, 150 people came to enjoy these creative works and performances. The night began with a performance by the staff group known as the Boombinos, followed by poetry readings from patients here in the hospital. Creative Writing is offered by Nicole Robinson from the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University.
Following the poetry readings, several patient songs were featured and performed. Patients Jacob and Aaliyah recorded the song, “Happy,” and then combined and edited them to create one song.
Manie wrote a lighthearted blues song about a monkey, which was performed by music therapist Sarah Gaither. The performances concluded with a video featuring Chloe, who wrote a song called “Bad Day” to help her cope with a long hospitalization. The video that evening was presented in her memory.
The night ended in celebration with a special performance by the Dance Unlimited group, which is led by physical therapist Kellie Lightfoot who coordinates these dance groups for kids with all ability levels and special needs.
Create Heal Inspire featured many types of art. Creative work done in individual, family and group therapy sessions with art therapist Molly Kohut included paintings, drawings, digital art created on the iPad, and clay sculptures.
Ceramic plates from All Fired Up pottery studio were also exhibited. The artists and hospital patients and families expressed different kinds of celebration such as birthdays, holidays, families and life.
Leah painted an image that celebrated the end of her chemo treatments. Nasir used digital art to express his excitement for the Cavs being a part of the playoffs.
Christian painted an image of the Fresh Air Camp logo and wrote “If you have children who are ventilator dependent and have a tracheostomy, ENROLL INTO THIS CAMP!”
Shannon, mother of NICU baby A’Kira, painted the image Fabulous A’kira’s World that visually portrays her daughter’s epic journey. She is featured in this photo with mother, Kimberly, and grandmother, Dorothy, of NICU patient Analise, who were celebrating their family too.
Several paintings were also featured from the art tracker program.
Maria Golden, art tracker, provides a neutral presence to allow the patients to have control through painting. Art tracking allows each patient to express themselves using traditional and adaptive art tools to make their art work.
The individual sessions are designed for individuals in palliative care or those who have experienced traumatic brain injury, with a focus on those who are non-verbal or have limited speech.
Art was also showcased from the monthly art therapy staff support group, resident wellness group, and palliative care staff support.
In addition to the art, many generous supporters of the center donated raffle prizes. All proceeds from the raffle ticket sales directly benefited the expressive therapy center and will go toward the purchase of items used during patient and family interactions.
Thank you to all who showed their support!