Our Artists in Residence (AIRs) provide fine and expressive art encounters at patients’ bedsides and in clinical settings. Since January 2011, Boston Children’s Hospital has employed AIRs who offer creative writing, video making, painting, cartooning, arts history, and visual arts activities. Together, AIRs provide artistic opportunities on all inpatient units, all intensive care units, dialysis, outpatient infusion center, primary care, the 9th floor family resource room, inpatient psychiatry unit, the Martha Eliot Health Center and Boston Children’s Hospital at Waltham. Current projects include creative writing, poetry, video art, origami, digital art, cartoon art, collage and mixed media art, sculpture, and jewelry-making to name a few.
Meet the Artists in Residence
Take a look inside the joyful, healing collaboration between patients and our artists—carrying on Boston Children’s Hospital’s commitment to innovative, patient and family centered care.
About our Team
Aaron Devine—Creative Writing
Aaron is a writer, educator, and arts advocate with an MFA in Creative Writing from UMass Boston. He has taught writing at UMass Boston, 826Boston, and through Grub Street’s Memoir Project. Stories and poetry that patients wrote with Aaron are featured in The View From Here: Vol. 2 collection of patient writing from Boston Children’s Hospital. Aaron speaks English and Spanish fluently, and earned certification as a hospital clown while living in Caracas, Venezuela.
“I invite patients to take a playful approach to writing as a way to express and to explore. Language is as fun and bendable as our imaginations. My goal is to help patients surprise themselves by finding words for something they’d never said before, or didn’t realize they had the language to say.”
Try this! Jumble the letters in your name to create a character who is your opposite. Write a short story about this character on his/her best—or worst—day (remember: it would be the opposite of yours). In the middle of the story, add a character that changes the day in a surprising way. Write to the end to see what happens.
Ana Linares—Collage, Drawing, and Jewelry Making
Ana is an artist, musician, and salsa dancer from the multicultural metropolis of Miami, FL. She earned a BA in Visual Art Studies and Art History at the University of Florida in 2011 and an MS in Arts Administration from Boston University in 2014. Since joining the Artist-in-Residence team, Ana continues to work as a practicing artist, creating graphite portraits, digital drawings, original jewelry, letterpress prints, and digital collages made with photos and documents from her family history. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at the University of Florida, Lasell College, Boston University, Carrollton School, as well as independent galleries in Florida and Massachusetts.
“I strive to empower every patient during our art interactions so they can continue to call themselves artists long after their stay at the Hospital. Through the process of conceiving and manifesting a creative idea, we deem ourselves creators in our own lives, lending an element of control that is often lost during a hospital stay."
Try this! Flip through a magazine and pick out one word. Reflect on the word and think about all the different meanings and contexts of this word and all the ways it could be interpreted. Go back to the magazine and cut out some images that relate to the word in any of the ways you just brainstormed. Layer the images in the center of the sheet and then place the initial word in the center of the composition—or anywhere in the composition that you choose!
Laki Vazakas—Video Making
Laki is a video maker and an Artist in Residence at Boston Children’s Hospital and Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. He has been instrumental in developing the digital storytelling process with patients and families at both locations. He has also created collaborative video projects with women in recovery, refugees and returning veterans. His videos have been screened at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Cinematheque and the Venice Biennale's Retrospetiva.
“I enable the patient to be the director of his or her personal story, by giving them choices and control over the form and content of their video expression. I also help children and families create journey videos that reflect on challenges and defining moments while helping to build resilience.”
Try this! For “Planet Hospital” videos, I ask patients to take 15 to 20 different shots of their environment, holding each shot for 5 to 10 seconds. Then we transform the footage by utilizing special effects and sound effects in iMovie. The result is a new way of looking at the hospital.
Phyllis Beinart—Visual Arts
Phyllis is a Visual Artist-in-Residence (AIR) and joined Boston Children’s Hospital in 2011. She is a painter, fiber/ teaching artist, and has worked in public and private education teaching all levels of art. She has a BFA from Syracuse University, an MA from Montclair State College and trained at The Creative Center for Artists-in-Residence in NYC. She worked as an AIR for the Department of Education/University of Vermont BEST Institute, was a presenter for Art and Observation skills for Nurses’ Week at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and a teaching artist for “Artz” – Artists for Alzheimer’s.
“As an Artist in Residence, I meet each patient with the idea of giving him or her a private art lesson. I have seen agitated kids become completely relaxed while painting with watercolors. I know from experience that the arts are an integral part of the process of visualization and creation, regardless of their ultimate goal or medium. The young patients I work with feel self-satisfaction. Art makes the hospital stay more tolerable.”
Try this! Close your eyes and draw a large scribble for one minute. Think about the kinds of lines you can draw (such as thick, thin, dark, light, straight, and curly). Open your eyes and turn your drawing around until you see an image. With crayons or colored pencils, finish your image with color so that it stands out.
Silvia Lopez-Chavez, Mixed Media Painting