The Art at Heart Program


When a child is hospitalized, it’s important that he or she can enjoy the kinds of activities that help them feel comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings.  These might help distract them from not feeling so well or may give them a break from their worries. But mostly they offer a creative outlet, and just plain fun, too.

That’s what ART at HEART program is designed to do for the little patients of Toronto hospitals: to give children a sense of normalcy while they are there, distract from their health condition and hospital environment by giving them a chance to use their vivid imagination, acquire new skills and grow their artistic talents.

Currently Art at Heart facilitates the delivery of weekly kids’ workshops to the patients of SickKids hospital. Our art program is held on site at a calming and inspiring Marnie’s Studio that gives patients a chance to leave their hospital room for a while to color, paint, make arts projects, and let their creative urges run wild.

Patients can keep their works of art or, if they’d like, they can donate them to the hospital for display at Marnie’s Studio.

Many children have done just that, leaving the hospital with an extra sense of pride because they’ve left other patients, and the friends they’ve made, with a gift of art that came from their uniquely creative spirit.

We provide experienced art teachers and supplies for each workshop. The teachers have at least 3 years’ experience working with children. They meet the immunization and surveillance requirements, and have statutory obligations to safeguard SickKids patients’ Personal Health Information.

Art at Heart ensures all the materials and equipment used during art classes and workshops are in good and safe working order and fit for the particular purpose. All supplies are maintained and cleaned in accordance with infection prevention and control protocol at the hospital.



Using acrylic paints on canvas you will have a choice of 4 inspiring images to recreate your own piece of art. We will learn how use acrylic paints, mixing colours, composition and perspective.


Using shells, rocks and other objects you can create a beautiful piece of art on canvas!


In this creative class you can learn how to sculpt with plasticine, use appropriate tools and build your favourite animal!


In this educating and informative class you can learn about the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh and recreate one of his famous artworks “Starry night”. We will use canvas and paint.


Learn how to work with watercolours and watercolour paper. We will create beautiful enlarged flowers while learning the techniques and tools.


Using oil pastels on black paper we will create beautiful images of animals. We will learn how to use oil pastels, mix colours and work on black background.


In this class we will learn about monochrome technique .Using acrylic paints on cardboard, you will have a chance to create a unique and interesting piece of art.


Using plasticine and pointillism technique we will create interesting images on cardboard.




Creative art pursuits provide seniors with multiple benefits, not the least of which is the enhanced cognitive function. 

Throughout history, artists have known that art provides benefits for both the creator and viewer. Current studies in the fields of art therapy, music therapy, and other creative modalities confirm that art can affect individuals in positive ways by inducing both psychological and physiological healing. We know that, in general, exercising our creative selves enhances quality of life and nurtures overall well-being. We all are creative—not just a select few.

Less well known is the effectiveness of incorporating expressive arts into programs for seniors and patients who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other chronic degenerative diseases. Recent clinical research proves what many professionals and caregivers who work with seniors have known for years— making art is an essential, vital component of activities that offer a wide range of health benefits. Several studies show that art can reduce the depression and anxiety that are often symptomatic of chronic diseases. Other research demonstrates that the imagination and creativity of seniors can flourish in later life, helping them to realize unique, unlived potentials, even when suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. 


Art activities offer a wide range of benefits, including: 

  • helping individuals to relax; 
  • providing a sense of control; 
  • reducing depression and anxiety; 
  • assisting in socialization; 
  • encouraging playfulness and a sense of humor; 
  • improving cognition; 
  • offering sensory stimulation; 
  • fostering a stronger sense of identity; 
  • increasing self-esteem; 
  • nurturing spirituality; and 
  • reducing boredom. 

Additionally, expressive art exercises constitute innovative interventions to promote self-expression and improve communication with others.

That is why ART AT HEART is bringing two complimentary art programs to long-term care facilities and retirement centers: for independent residents and for assisted residents. Both programs are conducted by seasoned art instructors who are using a variety of medias including acrylic, watercolours, oil pastels and sculpting. 

Currently our programs are run at Mackenzie Health Long Term Care Facility (Richmond Hill, ON) and at Richview Manor Enriched Retirement Living (Vaughan, ON).