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Our free arts workshops for pediatric cancer families are growing!
Kids & Art holds free art workshops at [FACILITY] for pedicatric cancer families once a week in the [LOCATION]. Workshops alternate between Tuesdays at 1pm and Thursdays at 10:30am.
Art workshops at the hospitals are run by one Lead Artist and two or more art assistants. K&A holds an volunteer orientation each year. Before working with the children, new volunteers undergo a background check, and undergo a thorough vetting by the Program Coordinators so they are well prepared for the workshops.
These workshops provide a moment of peace, joy or calm for participants in an often stressful environment through the creation of art.
Before signing up as a Lead Artist, it is important to assist a few times at the workshops to get a feel for the space and the types of projects that work well. Assisting a lead artist in working with participants is at the heart of what we do at Kids & Art. What we need from those who participate is a dedicated and lighthearted attitude and ability to adapt and follow the example of the Lead Artist and Workshop Manager.
This type of workshop is very different from an elementary school, and there are additional challenges such as:
- Small spaces to work in
- Waiting room, no loud noises allowed, and no art sinks
- Wide age range of children and adult participants
- Sometimes we have 10 minutes or the full hour and a half with the participants
- Materials need to be sterile and non toxic
These projects should be engaging, and we often plan them to be meditative or to draw one in, but not cumbersome. They should not require too many steps, as we don’t know who we’ll be working with from workshop to workshop. Our participants might have 10 minutes, or they may work with us the entire hour and a half.
Becoming a Lead Artist at one of Kids & Art Hospital Workshops:
Becoming a Lead Artist means designing and leading the project at a workshop. This requires a check in with the Program Manager several weeks in advance, who will order the materials at that time as well.
Next, the Lead artist prepares samples of the project to use at the workshop so that the different stations all have an example to work with. These can be photographs or actual created art works to model the project.
Assisting a Lead Artist
Assisting a lead artist in working with participants is at the heart of what we do at Kids & Art. What we need from those who participate is a dedicated and lighthearted attitude and ability to adapt and follow the example of the Lead Artist and Workshop Manager.
Planning an art project for the hospital waiting room means creating a project that can easily be done at a table with no running water, or on a clipboard at an infusion station. These projects should be engaging, and we often plan them to be meditative or to draw one in, but not cumbersome. They should not require too many steps, as we don’t know who we’ll be working with from workshop to workshop. Our participants might have 10 minutes, or they may work with us the entire hour and a half. We also don’t know what ages the children (or parents) who join us that day will be, so the projects should be adaptable. The projects should dry rather quickly and not require loud or noxious tools or materials.
The Program Manager has a great sense for what works and what doesn’t, so please reach out and start a discussion. These are always fun, and the preparation only seems daunting until you get the feel for it.
Lead Artist Responsibilities
Project Planning. The most important part to the Lead Artist role is planning an art project each month or so in advance with the Program Manager for that Hospital Program.
Supplies are also ordered at this time. This way, the Program Manager has plenty of time to recruit more volunteers and order the supplies in plenty of time.
Preparing Samples. Next, the Lead Artist prepares 3 samples of the project to use at UCSF, 2 for Stanford, so that the different stations all have an example to work with. These can be photographs or actual created art works to model the project.
Project Portability. The other important piece to this, is being able to bring the project, or an adaption to the project into the infusion area, so having it be mobile, and handheld with only a clipboard (no tables).
For this and precious reasons, we need the Lead artist to try volunteering as an Artist Assistant at the Hospital of choice BEFORE signing up to Lead, it is really helpful to know the space and the requirements for each hospital.
Restricted Project Materials. No toxic, noxious, or questionably stinky materials can be used. No biodegradable materials can be used either, due to potential harmful bacteria for patients with weakened immune systems.
Just like all of our volunteering opportunities, we cannot participate if sick or with the possibility of being sick.
Outpatient Hospital Workshop FAQs
I have high school aged children, is it ok to bring them with me to the hospital workshops so they can earn volunteer credits?
Only adults aged 18 and older can volunteer in the hospital setting. Kids & Art does hold monthly destination workshops on Sunday afternoons at different art locations around the Bay Area and teens are allowed to volunteer at those. Here is a link that will get your teen started on the process of becoming a Kids & Art volunteer: https://www.kidsandart.org/community-service/
What is the dress code at the hospital workshops?
Please come professionally dressed or in conservative street clothes (no jeans) to represent Kids & Art. Do not wear any perfumes or scented lotions. Artificial nails are not allowed (no acrylics, tips, tapes, gels, wraps or nail piercing of any kind). No open toed sandals. You will be given a Kids & Art t-shirt to wear during the workshop.
I really hit it off with one of the patients that I worked with, is it ok to give out my personal contact information?
It is not permitted to give out personal information to the patients or their families. Confidentiality laws prohibit the exchange of information in the hospital setting.
Can I bring food or drinks with me to the hospital workshops?
Food and drink are prohibited during volunteer hours. Once volunteer hours are over, you are welcome to make use of the hospital cafeterias.
I really want to show people how amazing this experience is, can I take photos while I am at the hospital workshops?
It is not permitted to take photos of patients or their caregivers. You may take pictures of the artwork; If you share any of these photos on social media, remember to tag #kidsandartorg
I had a cold over the weekend and still have a scratchy throat, is it still ok to come in to volunteer at a hospital workshop?
Volunteers are not permitted to come to a workshop if they are currently ill or have been around someone who is ill. Please let the Workshop Manager know as soon as possible if you are unable to come in and a substitute volunteer will be found for that day.
3. Replace or merge with google calendar info.
UCSF, Mission Bay: Once a week, See calendar for details. Register on SignUp Genius.