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Healing Arts Program

Read in Healthy Kids Magazine about the Healing Power of Art.

In the News: Music Part of Healing Process at Rady Children’s Hospital 

At Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, we believe that caring for children goes beyond medical excellence. The atmosphere surrounding children and families is also vitally important to promoting physical and emotional well-being. Through innovation in design, art and child-friendly programs, we provide a healing environment that is truly special.

Soothing guitar and harp sounds drift from rooms where children recover from surgery. Artists bring drawing and painting to the bedside, engaging a child’s body and mind. Drumbeats and guided imagery transport children who must stay in their rooms to virtual beaches. Storytellers spin tales and perform magic tricks, distracting children from the fear of chemotherapy treatment. Whimsical healing gardens give children the chance to touch, feel and play.

By bringing together our medical expertise and the growing body of knowledge of how places can affect people –from the impact of light and color, to texture and tone, to sounds and symbols – we turn to the arts, as well as science, to help children heal.

View more photos from our Healing Arts Program.


The Healing Arts Program was officially launched in 2006. Pamela Castle has been the Administrator since its inception and Jenelle Nettles is the Coordinator.

Music Program

Rady Children’s Music Program began in 1995. Thanks to philanthropy, the program remains one of the most valuable tools in our healing environment. We receive consistent and enthusiastic praise from patients, their families and our staff, all of whom have enjoyed and shared in these performances.

Our performers play throughout the Hospital, including the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, the Rehabilitation Unit, the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, the Bernardy Center and the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services (CAPS) unit, as well as at Alexa’s PLAYC and the waiting areas at the Medical Office Building.

Jose-SmithJose Smith: harpist. Jose’s harp music is very calming. He interacts with patients and their families, inviting the children to try strumming the harp and asking for requests. Jose also plays the accordion.



Karl AnthonyKarl Anthony: songwriter & singer. Going room to room with his music, engaging kids and even family members who are visiting, Karl sings his songs and sometimes writes new songs with the kids. Music can bring out a smile and melt away the stress.

Art Program

Rady Children’s understands that through artistic expression, children cope better and heal faster.

Eduardo-ParraEduardo Parra. Eduardo does one-on-one art projects with patients as well as group art projects in the activity rooms. He teaches patients new ways of expressing themselves through art.


Yanina and patient credit Robert Benson

(Photo by Robert Benson)


Yanina Cambareri. Yanina is an award-winning exhibiting artist and has been teaching art in the North County schools for 15 years. She is dedicated to sharing her vast knowledge with children, so they can use it to express themselves creatively. This helps to build self-esteem for all areas of their life. Before joining the Healing Arts Program, Yanina volunteered at Rady Children’s for more than 10 years.

Storyteller Program

Rady Children’s Storyteller Program began in 1996. The sessions help our patients and their families take their minds off the clinical setting and their treatments. Storytelling plays a pivotal role in the healing process at Rady Children’s.

Linda WhitesideLinda Whiteside. Linda is fluent in Spanish and has a deep understanding of Mexican culture. She tells stories from books and folk tales she knows from Mexico and South America at patients’ bedsides.

Patchwork-PlayersJames Lucas & Patti Christensen. James and Patti of The Patchwork Players Story Theatre have brought stories to life for audiences of all ages for the past 15 years, performing at schools, libraries, renaissance fairs, senior centers, family literacy programs and museums throughout Southern California. They use improvisation and audience participation, costumes, and props to create wonderfully engaging experiences. In their work at the Hospital, they also use and teach magic tricks to delight children and help them heal.


In the News

Video: Watch Our Healing Arts Program in Action