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Downstate Times

The Newsletter for SUNY Downstate
University Hospital of Brooklyn

Picture Perfect
Art Supplies Program Promotes Therapeutic Play

group photo

Emmanuel and Blessed Webb, were the first patients at Downstate's Children's Hospital to receive free arts and crafts supplies. They are shown here with Artworks Program Director Kristen Begley (left), and her team, Katherine Kelly and Tanita Reams.


Few things are better than drawing paper, colored pencils, glitter glue, and modeling clay to help a hospitalized child have some fun. Thanks to the Naomi Cohain Foundation and its ArtWorks Surprise! Supplies Program, young patients at Downstate's Children's Hospital can forget their cares by letting their creativity loose.

On July 22, members of ArtWorks Surprise! Supplies delivered a customdesigned mobile cart filled with art supplies and craft kits of every description to the Playroom in UHB's pediatric wing. The cart also travels to patient rooms, where youngsters can choose whatever they want, and their siblings are encouraged to join them in making art during family visits. When supplies dwindle down, the Surprise! Supplies Program sees to it that the cart is refilled.

"For more than 40 years the Child Life Program has employed play as a way of easing the anxiety and discomfort of a hospital stay," explains Lisa Smith, CLLS , director of the Child Life and Parenting Education Program. "We are grateful to the ArtWorks Surprise! Supplies Program for helping us facilitate therapeutic art interventions for our young patients."

ArtWorks was inspired by the life of Naomi Cohain, who succumbed to bone cancer at the age of 15. Rather than fall victim to her illness, Naomi used art as a vehicle for self-expression, an emotional outlet, and a source of comfort.