From the moment they first step through the door to their final performance on stage, they know they’re part of something special.   Their hearts may race as they stand in front of the crowd and their emotions may run high, but each of them represents an undeniably inspiring story of success. 

These performers aren’t critically-acclaimed musicians or world-renowned dancers…they’re children.  And they are part of Hands Together, Heart to Art, one of the Auditorium Theatre’s most profound community outreach programs. 
Hands Together, Heart to Art is the Auditorium Theatre’s one-of-a-kind summer arts camp for children who have experienced the death of a parent.  The camp uses music, dance, and theatrical performances to help the children interact, communicate, and ultimately heal.  Each day the campers explore a new artistic medium and a different conduit for channeling their creativity, activities that help them overcome the obstacles of their past and confront the pain left in the wake of their loss.

In addition to their daily activities, each session of camp culminates in a final performance during which the children perform for their friends and family.  Another poignant moment at Hands Together, Heart to Art is the balloon launch, when the children write messages to their deceased loved ones, tie them to strings attached to balloons, and release them in unison at Buckingham Fountain.  Few experiences are more affecting than watching the balloons, each containing the campers’ purest, most intimate sentiments, ascend to be embraced by the sky.

Of course, even a program as inspiring as Hands Together, Heart to Art can never truly fill the void in the children’s lives.   But through this unique summer camp we help hurting kids understand that they are part of a family now, a community that not only cares, but empathizes with their loss and understands their grief. 

Obviously we understand that we can never fully fill the void in each child’s life.  But by providing them with this outlet we can aid hurting children in their healing and ultimately empower them to lead happy, productive and healthy futures.  These goals, and our commitment to them, only increase every year—and we honored by the kindness of all those who help us provide hope, guidance and comfort to so many young lives. 

To find out about supporting “Hands Together, Heart to Art” at the Auditorium, please call Amanda Byrne at 312.341.2364.