Throughout the year, Small Factory’s instructors work closely with art therapy professionals at various area hospitals across the NY and NJ region to bring quality arts programming to patients and their families. Our instructors offer off-site creative workshops for hospitals, catering to their patients’ specific needs, talents and interests. The care and comfort of our students are of the utmost importance during the creative process; therefore, the format in which we teach, whether we collaborate with children and young adults bedside, or teach in a group setting, our goal is to ensure that the creative process is equally exciting, entertaining and educational.
Small Factory’s Chris Dudick is currently an artist in residence at several hospitals through The Naomi Cohain Foundation’s ArtWorks Intensive Creative Artists in Residence Program (Intensive CAIR). The Intensive CAIR program provides creative arts workshops in hospital settings for children and young adults suffering from chronic and life-threatening conditions. Weekly, Chris visits and creates art with pediatric patients at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, NY, The University Hospital in Newark, NJ, and at Harlem Hospital in Harlem, NY.
Small Factory’s Intensive CAIR workshops enable individuals to engage in creative expression while confined to the hospital. Collaborative creative arts activities serve to reduce stress and anxiety, decrease attention to pain, and normalize the hospital experience for young patients and their families.
During one of Chris’ workshops, a 12-year-old girl who was angry and depressed with no desire to interact with anyone or engage in any activities touched his heart. He cautiously entered her room and asked if she would be interested in working with him on creating an animation. Without hesitation, she cleared off her tray and they began to work together for 2 ½ hours. She was engaged, focused and excited. Her mood was transformed from a sad, lethargic patient to a happy and energized young girl! She thanked Chris for coming and expressed her hope that she would see him again the following week.
On another one of Chris’ hospital visits, a nine year-old girl who was incubated and could not speak typed a message to Chris expressing that she wanted to draw. Then she proceeded to draw shapes and drew the words M O T. It looked like she was trying to write an H so Chris asked her if she was writing Mother. She responded, yes. He then asked her if she wanted to make something for Mother’s Day. She said yes. So she drew some hearts, a picture of her and her mother and she typed the words, Happy Mother’s Day! Chris thought it was amazing. Here she was so young and frail, couldn’t even speak and she was thinking about her mother on Mother’s Day. He happily joined her in showing her mother the picture when she was done.
“Chris Dudick is working with a group of kids at The University Hospital in Newark, NJ creating a cartoon. The children in the group are primarily sickle cell patients and they decided that they want their characters to be superheroes. There are two villains- “Sickle” and “LP” (low platelets) that are related to the struggles the children face when afflicted with sickle cell disease. They are loving the program so much that one boy who only needs to come to the hospital every three weeks for a transfusion is making a point of coming weekly so he can be more involved in the process.”
— Kristen Schmicker Program Director, ArtWorks, The Naomi Cohain Foundation, Englewood, NJ