Burlington City Arts

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Art from the Heart

Until further notice, Art from the Heart visits from volunteers are on hold. In the meantime, please visit the AFTH blog for ideas on how the arts can help us feel better with posts that offer research-backed, creative responses to connect community, wellness, humor, and culture.


If you or someone you know is hospitalized at the medical center, you can request an art kit with project ideas and supplies for the patient and family members, making the hospital a more creative place. Email Rebecca Schwarz at with the patient’s room number, which floor they are on, and which kit is requested. Choose from Watercolors, Write to Heal, Coloring for Adults, Coloring for Kids, Oil Pastels, Drawing and Mandalas, Pattern Doodling, Card Making, or Mini Journals.

Art from the Heart is FREE for anyone at UVM Medical Center and Children’s Hospital including caregivers, family members, staff, patients, and visitors of all ages and abilities. One-on-one or in groups, volunteer artists visit patient rooms and common areas while respecting the needs of privacy and hygiene to connect you with the arts.

Research has shown that spending time on creative activities helps us feel better, even if we don’t think we have art skills. Just talking about or experiencing the arts can be good! The arts can decrease pain, anxiety, sleep issues, and increase positive emotions and positive communication.

Connect patients, family members and staff with the arts. Some of the possibilities include:

- The Room – Creating a more individualized and beautiful room. For example art prints to enjoy looking at, window art drawn on your door window inspired by something you love.

- About Me Pages – Help hospital staff get to know patients as people.

- Activities – We get to know each other a bit by talking about the arts, then suggest different activity ideas, set you up with supplies and begin creating. Depending on everyone’s interests, we can lead activities in crafts, painting, origami, poetry and much more.

Weekly Schedule

Art from the Heart volunteers visit every day of the year. Volunteers visit patient rooms by request, and visit multiple areas, going room to room each day. The current schedule is Pediatrics: Children's Specialty Center M-F mornings, and Thursday afternoons, and Baird 5 (inpatient pediatrics) weekend mornings, and M-F evenings. Adults: Sheperdson 3, Baird 3 and 4 (adult medicine), Baird 6 (post-surgical), and Baird 7 (Mother Baby Unit for women on bedrest), and the ICU and Emergency Department waiting rooms several times a week: Currently Saturday mornings, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Occasional music events and art-making sessions for staff people. 


Who We Are 
Art from the Heart connects volunteers, patients, caregivers, and art supplies at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Creativity, imagination, and expression open up possibilities in gentle and playful ways and helping us all feel better through art. Volunteers visit every day of the year bringing art supplies and devoted time to help make the hospital a more creative place. Art kits are available to pediatric patients and caregivers 24 hours a day. Waiting areas, in-patient hospital rooms, and chemotherapy infusion bays become temporary art studios for patients and their families, transforming the hospital environment. 

The program runs with the help of 30 volunteers, a dedicated staff person 20 hours each week, and administrative support from UVMMC and BCA. Dedicated volunteers make Art from the Heart possible, along with financial support from the Children’s Miracle Network, the City of Burlington and generous individual donors.

Goals include Improving health, wellbeing, and empowerment through the arts:

• Customizing patient rooms to help patients be seen as people
• Strengthening communication between care team members, patients, and families
• Sparking joy
• Helping to manage stress and distract people from difficulties.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." Thomas Merton 

Who Benefits
We support children, families, patients of all ages, nurses, doctors, and all care team members. Just over half of the participants are children under the age of 18. Over 7000 people participated last year.

Art from the Heart was founded by Abby Rose and was modeled after the Harlem Horizon Art Studio at the Harlem Hospital Center in NY. Since 1994 Art from the Heart has worked collaboratively with the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital to support patients. In 2015 the program expanded through a generous gift to serve adult patients and caregivers. 

Art from the Heart is always looking for volunteers who have compassion and creativity. Artistic interest is important, but volunteer experience is not necessary. If you'd like to volunteer, please fill out a volunteer application on the University of Vermont Medical Center's website. The hospital's volunteer office will contact you once they receive a completed application to get you started.

Make a Donation! Support Art from the Heart with a gift. Gifts can be made online or mailed to BCA at 135 Church St. Burlington, VT 05401, or call 802-865-5816. Gifts of stock are also appreciated. 
More Information
Arts in Health: Research, Practice, and Experience a session of The Integrative Community Practitioner Forum Hosted by the University of Vermont College of Nursing & Health Sciences. Click here to view a PDF of the slides and notes, and a link to a video of the session. 

Rebecca Schwarz, Art from the Heart Coordinator, or 802-865-9163






Photo credit: Martha Loving Orgain