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Artist Michael Townsend has turned a utilitarian tool— low-adhesive colored tape—into his artistic medium of choice. He first created with tape while attending Rhode Island School of Design, where he graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in printmaking. One night Townsend and fellow artists used rolls of masking tape to create a figure holding a balloon on the ground, and his love of doing and sharing tape art took off from there.
He favors tape as an artistic medium because it allows him to work on large-scale projects, lends itself to collaboration, and is easy to teach. Townsend instructs patients in the adolescent inpatient unit how to make their own tape art murals.
Marvelous Marvin blends science, magic, circus arts, great visuals and a unique rhyming text to create memorable, fun, and educational entertainment for children in schools, libraries, museums, theaters and special events throughout New England. Performing mostly for children from kindergarten through eighth grade, Marvelous Marvin’s shows include The Magic of Science, which demystifies the scientific process; How the Body Works, which makes physiology fun; and Bugging Out, which is all about bugs. Math Blast, his newest show, gives students the opportunity to enjoy his fun-filled math class. Marvelous Marvin also offers two workshops: the Science/Dance Experience for young children, and the Circus Arts Workshop for events such as field days, gym classes, fairs and festivals.
For the special needs community, Marvelous Marvin mixes his magic shows with hands-on circus arts, giving clients the opportunity to be both audience and participant. Marvelous Marvin works directly with the Children’s Inpatient Program and the Children’s Residential and Family Treatment (CRAFT) program, and collaborates with the Children’s Partial Hospital Program during the holiday season.
“During our community meetings, we routinely ask patients for feedback about our program. We consistently get very positive and enthusiastic responses from patients about PeaceLove, hip-hop dance, the improv group and tape art. They love these groups! I have observed patients participating in these groups who do not typically participate in other activities. I think the Healing Arts Program has enriched our treatment program a great deal.”
- Laura Ruoff, MD assistant director, adolescent services
Owner and artistic director of Palmer Productions Dance Studio, Heather Palmer is an innovative dancer and choreographer with more than 25 years of experience performing and teaching dance. She has participated in national dance competitions, receiving many medals and awards. Palmer has performed at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, opening for various hip-hop and R&B music artists, and was chosen to lead a dance group from Los Angeles to perform overseas.
Palmer helped to start a local chapter of Students against Destructive Decisions, a program that helps educate, guide, and support young people to make good decisions. She also has nearly 10 years of experience working with and understanding special needs children. As artistic director of Palmer Productions Dance Studio, she shares her knowledge and talent and helps her students excel. She provides career coaching for serious dancers, especially those hoping to dance competitively or professionally. Palmer works with patients in the Children’s Inpatient Program and the Adolescent Inpatient Program.
Founded in 2009 by Jeffrey Sparr and Matt Kaplan, PeaceLove Studios was established to do three simple things to make the world a better place: create expressive arts programming to help people find peace of mind; build inclusive spaces where communities could come together to experience storytelling, expressive arts, and products that inspire a positive lifestyle; and build the first positive symbol for mental illness—the PeaceLove symbol that signifies peace of mind and love in your heart.
Today PeaceLove is a growing movement and community of mental health advocates, artists, friends, families, students, teachers, corporations and community leaders who work to foster acceptance, understanding and hope. PeaceLove’s CREATORS Program is thriving at Bradley Hospital, with Bradley employees delivering their expressive arts curriculum to various programs through ongoing workshops consisting of visual arts, storytelling, sound, and movement with the purpose of providing new resources and skills to achieve mental wellness.
Since 1995, musician and storyteller Anne-Marie Forer has been performing her Tunes’n Tales programs at schools, libraries, bookstores, churches, festivals, birthday parties, and family events. Her performances reflect her 20 years of experience as a special education teacher, children’s librarian and musician. She has performed at the Providence Children’s Museum, Rhode Island Johnnycake Festival, Rhode Island Storytellers in Concert Festival, The Toronto Storytelling Festival, and at many other events and venues.
In addition to telling stories, Forer enjoys playing the guitar, fiddle, harmonica and keyboard. She is a registered Music Together teacher and leads classes for children and their parents/caregivers at the Purple Piano, a music, art and wellness center in Smithfield, Rhode Island. She is a member of LANES (League for the Advancement of New England Storytelling), the Connecticut Storytelling Center, the National Storytelling Network, the Children’s Music Network, and Little Rest Storytellers. Forer works weekly with the Pediatric Partial Hospital Program, and does workshops with the Children’s Inpatient Program.
Shri Studio is an urban revitalization yoga project, offering all levels of yoga practice in a beautiful space while promoting physical, spiritual, and social well-being. The word “shri” can be loosely translated as “that which diffuses light.” The studio’s name reflects the studio’s mission: “to illuminate in the belief that yoga can be accessible to everyone and every body.”
Shri Studios travels to Bradley Hospital to work with the Children’s Partial Hospital Program, and is collaborating currently with other hospital programs.
“Yoga provides a context to work on body awareness and relaxation strategies, both of which have been especially helpful for children struggling with anxiety. Children have cue cards posted within relaxation areas to use various yoga poses so that they can continue to access these feelings of relaxation at other times during the day. Several children have reported intention to continue yoga after discharge because of their experiences within the program.”
- Anne S. Walters, PhD, clinical director, Children’s Partial Hospital Program
Trinity Repertory Company believes that theater has a unique power to enrich and transform lives. In the past 45 years, the company’s Project Discovery student matinees have reached over 1.2 million children, instructing more than 300 students per week in 24 different programs. They have classes specially designed for children on the autism spectrum, the first of their kind in the region. Teaching artist Jordan Butterfield makes weekly visits to the adolescent inpatient unit and teaches two acting classes focusing on improvisation, acting and playwriting. Improvisation allows the group to initiate conversations and analyze body language, tone of voice and gestures. Patients build confidence, learn to express their emotions in a healthy way, and have fun with their peers.
Our team of volunteer dog owners are on hand to visit various inpatient programs throughout the hospital. These steadfast volunteers visit regularly, giving patients a chance to play with their favorite canines throughout their hospital stay. Bradley Hospital’s nursing staff and pet owner volunteers strictly supervise the program. All visiting animals must pass a health screening and are fully vaccinated.
Nicole O’Malley is a board-certified neurologic music therapist licensed in the state of Rhode Island. She is the founder and executive director of Hands in Harmony, LLC (founded in 2008) and has been practicing neurologic music therapy in Rhode Island since 2003. She received her degree from Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts, and holds additional certification in neurologic music therapy from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. She is an adjunct professor at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, and is a regular presenter locally as well as nationally. O’Malley is currently pursuing additional certification on music therapy and pain through Tufts University. As the chair of the Rhode Island Music Therapy Task Force, she has extensive experience in music therapy programming throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She is passionate about conducting music therapy with groups and individuals in a variety of settings and collaborating to offer a multitude of services to a variety of clientele.