The arts – music, visual, literary and dance – play an integral role in healing and promoting the well-being of patients, caregivers and staff in healthcare settings. Engaging in the arts may include enjoying a musical performance, listening to a vocalist, watching an artist paint, creating your own masterpiece, reading poetry or writing your own short story. Whether you engage actively or passively with the arts in healthcare settings, research has shown that these artistic interventions can improve health outcomes by reducing pain and anxiety, supporting caregiver wellness and transforming the patient experience.
Launched in 2021, the Miami Cancer Institute Arts in Medicine program includes professional musicians, singers, visual artists and literary artists. In addition to the performing artists-in-residence, clinical therapeutic artists board-certified in art therapy and music therapy provide evidence-based therapeutic activities for patients and staff.
Patients have the opportunity to engage with artists throughout the Institute. Artists perform and create artworks in the main lobbies, clinic waiting areas, radiation and chemotherapy waiting areas, chemotherapy infusion suites and the outdoor meditation garden. In addition, creative workshops are available for patients in active treatment.
The goals of Miami Cancer Institute’s Arts in Medicine program are to:
- Engage patients, caregivers and staff in the arts
- Cultivate a healing environment
- Create a therapeutic venue for self-expression
- Improve health outcomes
- Develop coping skills and reduce stress and anxiety
- Strengthen patient and staff communication
- Advance outcomes’ research within the field
New Meaning to "The Healing Arts"
Miami Cancer Institute’s Arts in Medicine program, part of the Cancer Patient Support Center services, was developed to help patients harness the healing power of the arts to better cope with their illness and treatment.
Clinical evidence shows that cancer patients who engage in the arts report significantly lower levels of stress, anxiety and nausea during chemotherapy infusions.
The Arts in Medicine program offers robust opportunities for patients and staff to engage with the arts:
- The Institute’s Art Studio is a 1,350-square-foot space that hosts individual and group art therapy sessions and specialty workshops, including mural painting, pediatric art activities, jewelry and quilt making, and more.
- Mobile art carts bring opportunities for expression to waiting rooms and infusion areas.
- Daily musical performances are held in the Institute’s lobby and broadcast throughout the building on mobile monitors.
- The Miami City Ballet and New World School of the Arts Dance regularly stage dance performances.
- Local authors hold inspirational book readings.
- Patients write about their own experiences in the “Green Book.” The collection of patient stories is bound and read during an annual ceremony.
Request an artistic or musical interaction during an upcoming visit
Miami Cancer Institute’s Arts in Medicine program is open to all patients receiving active treatment. To request an artistic interaction, please communicate your interest with your nurse or clinician during your upcoming appointment. A referral will be placed and fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.
To request more information about the program, art activities, workshops or therapeutic referrals, please email [email protected].
Philanthropic support is vital to the longevity and sustainability of our robust Arts in Medicine program. Because of your generosity, we have the funds to support the program’s key components, including creative art therapies, artist residencies, research, supplies, technology, people and education. With continued investments, we can meet — and even exceed — our goal of positively impacting the lives of our patients and their families by increasing their exposure to the healing nature of the arts.
Thanks to gracious supporters like you, we have established an Artist-in-Residence Fellowship and have brought on eight new artists-in-residence — three visual artists and five musicians.
The eight artists-in-residence at Miami Cancer Institute have expertise in the visual, literary and musical performing arts. A selection committee chooses artists for the residency program based on individual portfolios and fit for the program. A music therapist and art therapist oversee the fellowship program.
Our artists-in-residence include three visual artists and five musicians (guitar, piano, viola, violin and vocalist). From soothing piano music in the lobbies and waiting areas, to interactive songwriting and creative visual arts at chair-side, artists-in-residence create a meaningful engagement, encourage creative expression to reduce stress, and improve the patient experience and quality of life. Resident artists also conduct one-on-one patient engagements in waiting areas, infusion rooms and patient rooms. This program explores how the arts impact physical and psychological symptoms experienced by patients during their cancer journey.
Learn more about our eight artists in residence.
Moisés Herrera AcostaPianist
Mr. Herrera is a Clinical Psychologist and Master of Music with a Specialization in Piano. For more than 20 years he has served as an Orchestra Director, Choral Director, Composer and Music Producer. His works have been performed at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Madison Square Garden in New York and the Teatro Colón in Bogotá, among other venues. He is currently a professor of Music Applied to Therapy in the Alternative Medicine program at Juan N Corpas University, is Director of Music for the Archdiocese of Miami and develops his private practice as a Support Psychotherapist for cancer patients.
About his work at the Miami Cancer Institute: It is the perfect place to share and connect with many patients who need to experience the healing power of art and sound. The combination of medical technology, interpersonal warmth and musical experience is the best we can give our patients, by sharing with them the gift we have received.
Alexis Alleyne-CaputoVisual Artist
Ms. Alleyne-Caputo is an anthropologist, researcher and award-winning interdisciplinary and visual artist. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from Goddard College, Plainfield, VT, and earned both her Master of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from New York University, New York, N.Y. She is a recipient of the prestigious Dr. John Graham-Pole scholarship through the Center for Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
Of her work at Miami Cancer Institute: During my artist-in-residence engagement with Miami Cancer Institute, I seek to elevate the patient experience with art practices as a conduit to balance the patient experience through life-affirming work.
David Fernandez is a dynamic Cuban musician with a background and training in classical violin and classical voice. Mr. Fernandez is currently a musician with the Miami Symphony Orchestra and is a private violin instructor throughout South Florida. He is an active performer in a variety of musical settings including chamber, solo and private events. In his youth, Mr. Fernandez competed and won one of the largest international competitions in Cuba when he was only 11 years old. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree at New World School of the Arts at the University of Florida where he studied with Dr. Daniel Andai, among others. While at NWSA as a high school and college student, he won the NWSA Concerto Competition a total of four times. In addition to being a classically trained violinist, he is currently studying classical voice as a bass-baritone with Gerardo Ortega. Mr. Fernandez is a musician who has the versatility to sing and play in all musical styles including classical, jazz and other popular genres.
Ms. Pedersen is one of South Florida’s favorite entertainers, a highly sought-after studio singer and a well-respected educator. She has headlined festivals and concerts around the globe, sang on hundreds of recordings and commercials, conducts master classes and workshops, and teaches at Miami Dade College and Barry University in Miami, FL. She earned a Master-of-Music in jazz performance from Florida International University in Miami, and is a graduate of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music Studio Music and Jazz Vocal program.
Of her work at Miami Cancer Institute: I believe that music in general and the voice in particular is the most healing force on the planet. The positive vibrations that flow out of your mouth on a cushion of air into the atmosphere keeps going and going and never ends, bringing energy and life force to everything it touches. At the same time, the music that enters your body as you listen has the power to change you, body and soul. But the real truth about singing is this: It just feels so good!
Sebastián Duncan-PortuondoVisual Artist
Sebastian Duncan-Portuondo is a multidisciplinary artist and educator from Miami, Fla., who creates vibrant environments that engage ideas of home, exile and placemaking. His practice emerges from a background in painting and focuses on contemporary craft, critical multiculturalism and strategies for public artwork. Stained glass channels both a sacred and Cuban-American heritage in his practice, while lyrical artworks navigate ideas of ecological connection, queerness and displacement. Often collaborative, his work implicates collective memory and hybrid identities. He holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, a BFA from New World School of the Arts, and a BA from Swarthmore College. He is currently an adjunct professor at New World School of the Arts.
Dr. Savitzky is an active performer, teacher, orchestral and chamber musician. She is a founding member of The Wild (a string quartet) and has performed in the viola sections of the Naples Philharmonic and the Florida Grand Opera. Robyn received a 2014 Grammy nomination for her performance on Jeremy Fox’s “All My Tomorrows.” She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts in viola performance from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. She also received her artist diploma from the Frost School of Music and holds viola performance degrees from New York University and Indiana University.
Of her work at Miami Cancer Institute: As a musician, I believe in the transformative and healing nature of performance. I value the profound ways in which music can communicate ideas, concepts and expression that words alone cannot. My purpose is to share music in order to connect, comfort and uplift.
Monica Lopez De VictoriaVisual Artist
Ms. Lopez De Victoria is a Miami-based multidisciplinary visual artist and choreographer in artistic and synchronized swimming. She has participated in many large-scale public artworks and been featured in international exhibitions. Her work has been included in L’Officiel magazine, The Guardian, STEP Inside Design, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Vogue Italia and on the cover of ARTnews magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography and video from Florida International University, Miami, FL.
Of her work at Miami Cancer Institute: My extensive experience as an internationally recognized multidisciplinary artist empowers patients to discover beauty through creativity. I focus on the healing effects of art-making through the internal geometry of the mind and heart, the intellect and emotion, and the gradient of feelings that connect our journeys.
Ms. Visconti is a singer/songwriter and winner of the National YoungArts Foundation award in pop voice. She teaches dance and music therapy techniques to individuals with disabilities in the community. She earned her Bachelor of Science in public relations, advertising and applied communication from Florida International University, Miami, FL.
Of her work at Miami Cancer Institute: My hope is that I’m able to uplift and empower all community members at Miami Cancer Institute through the undeniable force of music.
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