Creative Arts Therapy

At Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware, we offer both music and art therapy. These therapies are evidence-based health services in which music and art are used within a therapeutic relationship to support children’s social, psychological, cognitive and physical wellness.

Benefits of creative arts therapy include:

  • Improving Communication: Creative arts therapists work to promote artistic avenues of expression to help children maintain connections with siblings, parents, friends as well as their medical team. Art and music experiences can give kids and their families a safe, nonverbal way to communicate emotions, concerns, anxiety and stressors.
  • Maintaining a Positive Outlook: Patients are given opportunities to create original works that can help enhance their mood. Participating in individual or group creative arts therapy sessions instills a real and continued sense of hope in both our patients and their families.
  • Promoting a Sense of Control: Sometimes children get few choices when it comes to when and how their medical treatments occur. Creative arts therapy can help kids experience a sense of control over their hospitalization in the ways they can pick materials or instruments.
  • Enhancing Engagement: Children can go through periods of decreased motivation in their treatment. Creative arts therapists can help motivate kids to mentally or physically engage, while also being sensitive to their physical and emotional limitations.
  • Creating a Relaxing Atmosphere: Creative arts therapists are trained to work within their specialized modality and can offer patients ways to manage their pain. These sessions offer a space to validate children’s emotional states by reflecting their experiences through music or art.

Our Creative Arts Therapy Programs

Our creative arts therapists are Masters-level, board-certified professionals who use art modalities and creative processes to support wellness and health. We’re fortunate to have a lively creative arts program that includes music therapy and art therapy.

Music Therapy

Music therapists are trained in ways to safely use music as a therapeutic tool to address children’s treatment goals. Music therapists are able to bring out the musician in all patients, regardless of their previous experiences.

Children are offered opportunities to:

  • sing
  • play musical instruments
  • write music
  • compose lyrics to songs
  • create dramatic enactments of songs
  • tell stories through music
  • create music improvisations
  • record and perform musical works
  • imagine to music
  • breathe to music
  • listen to music
  • draw pictures to music
  • move to music

Clinical studies have shown that music therapy has biological effects on patients, such as influencing:

  • heart rate
  • blood pressure
  • respiration rate
  • cardiac output
  • muscle tone
  • skin responses
  • immune system
  • endorphin production

Music also has been shown to have beneficial effects on children’s emotional and social health.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is a way for both patients and their families to use creative expression to help deal with the stress, difficulties and pain that often can come with a stay in the hospital. No previous art skills needed — art therapy is about the process of engaging in a creative endeavor to help support emotional health and expression.

In art therapy, children can:

  • work on imagery to create a different relationship to their medical issues
  • engage in guided imagery to promote relaxation and stress relief
  • make a self or family portrait to help understand how they and their families deal with difficulties
  • construct containment boxes
  • make collages
  • create masks
  • so much more

A visual history is created within the art therapy sessions. This allows children to be able to look back to see their journey and progress while readying for the future while in the hospital.

Arts in Medicine Program

Welcome to Nemours’s Arts in Medicine (AIM) program, where local and international musicians and artists share their talents with our hospital community. Our AIM program strives to help transform the health care environment by providing patients and families with a variety of art experiences. The AIM program helps make the hospital experience feel less stressful by:

  • beautifying the environment
  • normalizing the hospital experience
  • engaging people (patients, families, staff, visitors, etc.) in aesthetically pleasing activities
  • providing comfort during challenging times

Our program includes volunteers, visiting artists and artists-in-residence who work in specialized roles with our creative arts therapists.

Creative Arts Volunteers

Volunteers are local amateur or professional artists and musicians who serve our hospital on a continuous basis. These volunteers are members of the Nemours’s hospital volunteer program. Also, they participate in a competency-based certification training led by our creative arts therapists. Once certified, volunteers enrich our healthcare environment by:

  • providing arts/performance experiences at patients’ bedsides
  • helping with supply management
  • assisting with patient care interactions
  • supporting the Creative Arts Therapy program
  • facilitating in the development and implementation of our closed-circuit television programming

Visiting Artists

Visiting artists are national and international professional artists and musicians who serve our hospital for specific periods of time. They enhance our environment of care through beautification projects, temporary exhibits, performances and in services. Creative arts therapists oversee these artists’ orientations, supervision and project designs. These art experiences may benefit patients and families by providing them with positive distractions, educational experiences, community interactions and pleasing surroundings.


Artist-in-residence participants are experts within their field and have advanced insights into the healing power of the arts. These artists serve for a specified period of time and reside on the Nemours campus during their time of service. The creative arts therapists provide these artists with supervision, training and support in the development and implementation of their artistic programming. In exchange, these artists provide our hospital with specialized events, performances, exhibits and presentations. These experiences benefit our community by providing meaningful cultural exchanges, collaborative ventures and an advancement of cultural understanding.

Want to Learn More?

Those interested in applying to be a volunteer, visiting artist or artist-in-residence should email their name, contact information, statement of interest and résumé to

Contact Us

Child Life Programs

Jess Kee, MA, ATR-BC

Art Therapist
(302) 298-7333