Creative Care – An Arts in Healthcare Program

Creative Care, a program offered through Creative Clay Cultural Arts Center, is a multidisciplinary arts in healthcare program serving patients, families and caregivers in healthcare communities in the greater St. Petersburg region of Florida. Creative Care addresses the whole person in the healthcare setting and forwards Creative Clay’s vision of making the arts accessible to all.

In 2008, Creative Care began a pilot project with a grant from the Allegany Franciscan Ministries to offer the arts to patients, families and clinicians at St. Anthony’s Hospital, All Children’s Hospital, Benedict Haven, and Ronald McDonald House. Through a formal evaluation process, benefits emerged that are consistent with arts in healthcare research including enhancing patient and staff satisfaction and promoting whole person healthcare. Additionally, the results demonstrated that artists in residence had become highly valued members of the interdisciplinary team and program participants experienced pain reduction, enhanced mental and spiritual health, and improved clinical outcomes including physiological responses to creative sessions.
In October 2013, The St. Pete Glitter Queens presented a check for $28,550 for Creative Care’s children’s programs. The Glitter Queens raised enough money at their annual Royal Ball to send Creative Care back into All Children’s Hospital.

In March 2013, Creative Care was contracted by St. Anthony’s Hospital to provide arts and healthcare to their patients and staff. Creative Care artists-in-residence provide arts experiences in the following units: Behavioral Health, Skilled Nursing, Orthopedics and Oncology.

In January 2012, 2014 and 2015 Creative Care was awarded funding through the National Endowment for the Arts for the Arts for All Kids program at All Children’s Hospital. Professional visual, dance, music, and literary artists are a valuable presence in the hospital and provide individual and group art experiences to pediatric patients, their families and hospital staff.

At All Children’s Hospital the arts have a vital role to play with children. Children have unique emotional and developmental needs that can be supported by weaving creative expression into the healing environment. Artistic expression is a developmentally appropriate means of communication for children as it allows them to express thoughts and experiences in a non-threatening way.
Creative Care has the ability to increase patient, family, and staff’s access to the arts as a means to serve underserved populations and exemplify new models of engaging the community in the arts and health. Evidence supports the inherent value of creativity and access to expressive arts modalities during key life moments such as a new medical diagnosis, hospitalization, medical procedure, living with a chronic illness and end-of-life matters. Creativity and expression through art making enhances health outcomes and healthcare environments and supports the healing process. The Creative Care program is designed so that anyone can make art when assisted by a trained professional artist. Past evaluation of the program indicated enhanced patient quality of life through access to meaningful arts activities.

Art making provides distraction, relaxation and a focus on something pleasant. It also allows for expression of feelings and the telling of personal stories. The arts foster an identity that is more than one’s diagnosis, and art products help medical staff to increase their understanding of what is important to the patient, which can aid in treatment planning and implementation. Furthermore, when exposed to emotionally arousing images, patients experience a reduction of pain through the release of endorphins. Art can empower and validate people’s lives. For participants with disabilities or special needs that impact mobility and/or developmental capacities, access to the arts can be a normalizing experience by promoting socialization, self-awareness and confidence. Quantitative and qualitative research has documented the arts lead to better patient outcomes, shorter lengths of stay, reduced healthcare costs, and greater patient and family satisfaction. (State of the field report: Arts in healthcare 2009. Washington, DC: Society for the Arts and Healthcare)

The Creative Care team consists of topnotch artists in their fields with multiple years of combined experience, numerous graduate level degrees and copious awards, exhibits, performances and publications.

In the News…
Fox 13’s What’s Right with Tampa Bay November 2012


Thank you to our funders:

  • nea-web-logo
  • st a's web logo