Art with a Heart in Healthcare (AWAHIH) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to arts and healing. Since our founding in 2001, by cousins Lori Guadagno and Lisa Landwirth Ullmann, we have served thousands of patients and their families in Jacksonville, Florida at Wolfson Children's Hospital, Nemours Children's Specialty Clinic, Baptist Adult Behavioral Health, The Mayo Clinic and St Vincent's Healthcare, Riverside.
We also provide workshops to many local organizations including Kids Together Against KTAC, and The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund with our heart-centered mission.
Our emphasis on patient-centered creative expression helps humanize the high-tech atmosphere of clinical settings. The physicians, patients, and families we work with report that our services [help diminish fear and relieve pain while empowering patients who find themselves in a powerless situation
We focus on the participants experience with the media —not the end result. We inspire to empower patients by giving them choices in their creative process even whether or not they wish to participate.
Six days a week our talented team of artists in residence, community volunteers, and interns from the University of North Florida and the University of Florida develop individualized art sessions in order to meet the unique needs of each patient. Together, artists and patients create art that reclaims the persons sense of self from illness.
The dedicated healthcare staff, patients, and their families say it best!:
"Art with a heart allows for mindless creative freedom and the chance to just be without it being overly structured or the need for it to be therapy. Honestly it is a reprieve that truly touches the heart. Art with a heart i am truly thankful for because it is a time of freedom in the sense that we can peacefully work as we please and how we feel onto paper without it being judge or made into a bigger picture. Not only is the experience a great experience the leadership and even the people are extraordinary. They are able to treat us not like we're troubled and like we are just normal kids they could have met anywhere. The service they provide is a bright spot to I would say anyone. The workers are amazingly nice and talented. Their talent is inspirational because it is not flamboyant but a soothing and just nice to see a new face. So thank you art with a heart. You provide something that truly impacts this unit."
-Wolfson's Temporary Resident
“My Mom said that when I was painting today it was the first time I smiled since I was in the hospital. I could have painted all day and did not want the artists to leave. When I paint, I don’t think about the hospital.”
-Kylie, Age 10
“Painting gives me this relaxed and calm feeling and my emotions can let go. Art is my emotional support during extremely stressful time like the one I am experiencing now.”
-Aaron, Age 17
“The artists (from Art with a Heart) came in and it was truly a blessing because Catie was able to get her mind off her situation as well as her pain. It was truly more powerful than the drugs.”
-Jimmy Carter, Father of Catie, Age 12
“The current year Emily has spent a total of almost six months in the Intensive Care Unit. When the artist enters the room, I can just se her face light up. I can see that she is expecting to have a great time with whoever is there. They will ask, “What kind of supplies do you want today Emily? Would you like to use pastels? Would you like to paint? What would you like to do?” She doesn’t have a choice about the medications or the procedures but she has a choice about art and it makes such a difference.”
-Catherine Warren, Mother of Emily, Age 12
“Over the years, my staff and I have observed the quality, consistency and professionalism of Art with a Heart’s staff. The team interacts well with our children, their parents and caregivers, and our extensive clinical team. In addition to providing patients and their families with exposure to art and unique opportunities to work with professional artists, Art with a Heart artists establish relationships that complement and extend those of our clinicians. Art with a Heart is an organization that provides concrete benefits to the hospital. Our facility is filled with artwork created by patients motivated to transcend their circumstances and express what cannot be conveyed in mere words. Equally important, Art with a Heart gives children opportunities to interact with other patients, staff and artists in a non-threatening way. The program encourages kids to be kids in a challenging environment.”
-Carolyn Johnson, V.P. , Patient Care Services at Wolfson Children’s Hospital
" I love this program so much because you get to just draw and paint whatever you imagine in a completely judgement-free zone. (The AWAHIH artists in residence) are so kind and just genuinely talented people. It honestly helps to have an outlet like art to express your emotions. Thank you."
-Annalisa, Age 13.