Caring Arts

Caring Arts

Art Heals
Art has the power to heal. Research studies have shown how participation in the arts contributes to higher quality of life of cancer patients by improving coping resources, self-esteem, and mental and physical health.

The Caring Arts Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing emotional support to Chicago-area cancer patients and their families. Our mission is to facilitate and encourage expression and healing through music, fine art, journaling, photography, and other creative disciplines.

Join us for an event, sponsor an activity, or learn more about how Caring Arts Programs are enhancing the lives of children, adults, and their families living with cancer in the Chicago area.

3-D holiday card making via Zoom with patients from ALAS-Wings Latinas Breast Cancer Support group was a hit last year! Materials provided by Caring Arts were mailed in advance to each participant by Wellness House.

Zooming Forward Despite a Pandemic
2020-21 was not what we imagined our 20th Anniversary Year would be. And yet it exemplifies our enduring relationships with the local cancer patient community, our partner organizations, the generosity of our donors, the strength of our programs and dedication of our artists and Board of Directors. From the start of the pandemic our programming has remained uninterrupted, though it did take on a different delivery method. Rather than in-person classes & performances, we quickly adapted to virtual technology, from video to web-based Zoom & Webex. We adapted art programs to make use of simple materials people would have on hand or, in some cases, delivered materials to patients. We’re now slowly making our way back to limited in-person programming, along with a combination of those technologies. Adaptation is the name of the game.
Speaking of adaptation, we have an overdue announcement. Phil Balsano, our Board President since 2011, retired from the board this year. Phil lead us through monumental change, including our name change and rebranding, rebuilding financial reserves, forging new partnerships and the pandemic. His contributions have been invaluable. He has our deepest gratitude. We are happy to welcome our new President, Zacary Wesoloski. Zac, who literally “grew up” with the Foundation, has been a board member since 2018. He is the Business Operations Assistant for Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care in DesPlaines, providing support for internal systems at a number of Seasons locations in the Chicagoland area. Zac is also a DJ, certified mixologist, music & film buff and avid photographer. We look to his guidance to help lead us into the future.


Our hugely popular Holiday Family Photos return in person to Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center in Aurora this year, after a 2-year hiatus. Our pro photography team bring lights, a holiday backdrop and props to the community. Photos are delivered to the families free of charge to create holiday cards or prints for gift giving.

Making Holidays Caring
Holidays during the pandemic were tough on families last year, especially those dealing with cancer, so Caring Arts worked hard to brighten things for them with virtual programs and activities. We plan to continue programs this year in every safe way we can and are slowly getting back to limited in-person activities. We’ll lead virtual craft & mocktail making for Gilda’s Club’s annual NoogieFest Halloween event for kids. We’ll repeat our popular holiday card making class in Spanish for ALAS-Wings, and Ornament making with patients both in-person and via Zoom. Our musicians will provide live music for Rush University Hospital’s “Shine a Light on Lung Cancer” event in November. We’ll return to Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center in Aurora this year for family photos and will continue Zoom classes and creating videos to share on our YouTube Channel. You can see all our videos there.

End of Year Giving
Caring Arts has continuously brought the comfort and healing of the Arts to cancer patients & families for over 20 years. As this year draws to an end, please keep Caring Arts in mind for Giving Tuesday, year end, workplace, memorial donations or other giving opportunities. Use the "Donate" button at the top of the page.

Phil Balsano coaches a team event at the TLC Day Camp for children with cancer in 2016.

Zac Wesoloski facilitated the “mocktail” creation segment of a virtual Halloween NoogieFest event for kids with Gilda’s Club’s, dressed as a “mad scientist.”

Caring Artist Brooke Rogerson showed patients how to create a number of fun and easy holiday crafts throughout the year using videos for our Caring Arts YouTube Channel.

Lucas Wesoloski recorded a video to create luminaria from Chinese carryout boxes. Luc also leads holiday card making and other craft classes in Spanish.

Program Director Barbara Weigand leads ornament making and other arts & crafts virtually, in-person & via video.

Bill & Greg  
Caring Arts musicians Greg Hirte & Bill Syniar return with live music for Rush University Hospital’s  “Light Up for Lung Cancer” event this November. 

Phil & Kathy  
All our musicians, including board members Phil Balsano & Kathy O’Rourke, recorded holiday music videos to share with patients at University of Chicago Hospitals. Videos were uploaded to the hospital’s internal channel for patients to enjoy in their rooms.  

“There is a Hindu Blessing which reads:

‘May God gift you with all the Colors of Life… Colors of Joy… Colors of Happiness… Colors of Friendship… Colors of Love… and all other Colors you want to paint into your life.’

Your artists bring this blessing to light
every time they come to Children's Hospital.”

— Mary Fiorito
Parent-to-Parent Coordinator, Children’s Hospital

Virtual Caring Arts
Even before the COVID-19 Pandemic closed everything down in March, 2020, Caring Arts quickly pivoted into the virtual world, to provide arts-based programming to patients and their families. We have a growing collection of musical performances to enjoy as well as instructional art & craft videos using inexpensive materials you can often find at home. Above, Caring Arts Program Director, Barbara Weigand, shows how to make a variety of tissue paper flowers at home. Make sure to check out all the projects on our YouTube Channel.

Easy Glass Marbling with Brooke
Brooke Rogerson shows you how to make beautiful marbled glass designs using nail polish! So fun and super easy.

Caring Arts Music with Bill & Katy
Bill Syniar & Katy Gillan provide fun, calming music for patients in a normal of at-home video performances. There are many other musical performance on our YouTube channel, so check them out!

Tissue Paper Mosaics with Ellen
Caring Artist Ellen shows you a great project to make with that tissue paper left over from the flower project! Super fun and easy.

Caring Arts Music with Olivia
We first met Olivia Ports when she was a patient at Lurie Children’s Hospital. Since then she has gone on to become an accomplished singer-songwriter. Here she shares a few songs for you, both covers & originals.

Twinkle Twinkle Challenge
Our Caring Arts musicians, Bill & Petar, created their own version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and performed it with patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital to celebrate the Caring Arts’s 15th Anniversary, and to raise awareness for the healing power of creativity. Make a donation using the button above and bring more music and art to Chicagoland cancer patients.

Caring Arts Photography
View a day of Caring Arts photography at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago in this video produced by The Daily Herald. See our Program page for more info.

Caring Arts Music
View one of our musical performances at University of Chicago Hospital’s new Center for Care & Discovery in Chicago.

Amazon Smiles on Caring Arts
Are you an Amazon shopper? If so, you can help raise money for Caring Arts just by shopping. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible purchases to Caring Arts and it’s so easy! On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Simply go to Sign in with your regular Amazon Log in, or create a new account if you don’t have one. Type In Caring Arts under “Choose a Charity” and you’ll see us pop up. Choose Caring Arts Foundation, and shop away! It’s that simple. All your future purchases will benefit Caring Arts as long as you log in through AmazonSmile. You use the same account on both and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same, but you must log in through AmazonSmile for Caring Arts to get a donation. Amazon will remember your charity selection, so every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result in a donation to Caring Arts. Shop ‘til you drop with AmazonSmile!

Caring Arts Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization registered with the state of Illinois FEIN 36-4378926. Your contribution is tax deductible and may also be eligible for matching funds from many corporations.

Global Airport Parking

Global Airport Parking Round up for Charity
If you travel, get easy, affordable GUARANTEED parking at O’Hare or Midway with Global Airport Parking... and benefit great causes! Guess what, Caring Arts is one of them! Global Airport Parking is proud to partner with non-profits around the world to help build awareness and funds for their work. Each month Global features a different organization on their website, as part of their Global Change Initiative. Simply make a reservation and on the checkout page round up your reservation to the nearest dollar and donate the extra change to the charity of the month. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the featured charity.
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