On the Pulse

Seattle Children’s Patients Help Create Out of this World Art Spacesuit

6.15.2023 | Ashley Speller

A smiling, little girl with a yellow bow in her hair is working on her art for the spacesuitSpace, art and healing is the mission behind one project that is uniting a planetary community of children through the awe and wonder of space exploration and the healing power of art.

As part of a unique space-themed art project between Creative Art Therapies and the Space for Art Foundation, co-founded by NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, Seattle Children’s patients are designing an art spacesuit that may one day have the opportunity to fly to space.

Patients were also invited to create colorful postcards that will be flown by ‘Club for the Future’ on a Blue Origin rocket, and once back on Earth, will be stamped with the phrase “Flown in Space” for the kids as a memorable keepsake.

A little girl in her hospital bed shows her unique art creationThe special project aims to bring joy and inspiration to children across the world.

“This project created meaning for each of my patients,” shared Michael Willen, an art therapist at Seattle Children’s. “For some, it spurred an interest in space. Others love being able to design an actual fashion garment—something a real astronaut was going to wear. All seemed excited that their art, their creation, may one day have the chance to travel into space.”

Art therapy is a way of using activities like drawing and painting to help patients cope with stress or anxiety while staying at the hospital.

A teen boy holds up the patch he created for the spacesuit“When kids are in the hospital, some don’t always feel comfortable with words,” added art therapist Helena Hillinga Haas. “It can be an uncomfortable or scary environment, so when they are doing art, there are emotions and thoughts that come out that you can’t often find words to.”

The 28 pieces of individual artwork contributed by Seattle Children’s patients will be quilted onto the spacesuit and given a special name.

“It gives them a bright spot in an otherwise dark time,” added Tanesha Ross, a Child Life music therapist who brought the project to the hospital, in an interview with KING 5 News. “I heard one of the kiddos say earlier is it makes them feel special. It gives them something to look forward to when they come here.”

A little boy holds up the piece of fabric he painted that will be quilted onto the spacesuitResources: