The Emily List Fund for Performing Arts Therapy has been established by Emily's family to honor her memory as an actor, a dancer, a reviewer and a lover of the performing arts. The Fund will be used to support theater, dance and music projects aimed at helping the sick and disadvantaged in the interest of making their lives better and brighter through the performing arts.

Grant Recipients

haiti performing arts camp

Good Medicine Productions received a grant to support its improvisational and comedic interactive performances with young patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

GMP actors play characters like Nurse Nutz, Dr. Wizard and Ralph, the Therapy Dog, using humor with hospitalized children “to reduce sadness, isolation and anxiety in the medical environment.” The children, who range in age from 5 to 15, help create the plots, are “complicit in the mischief” and end the shows with dance parties, sometimes from their wheelchairs. Shows supported by Emily’s grant last year included ones focused on wizards, a luau, superheroes, a Halloween scare-off, a turkey hunt and “a do-it-yourself Christmas Carol.”

The GMP team has a wealth of performance background, including circus arts, theater, improvisation, magic, music and more. They all are trained in hospital protocol and work to make meaningful, spontaneous connections with the young patients “to help them remember the joy inside of themselves.”

Founder Kristie Koehler Vuocolo has been creating, performing and teaching professional, empowering theater since 1997. Among her many accomplishments, she performed with the country’s premier hospital program, the Big Apple Circus Unit, for a decade and at Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

Emily was set to work at the Hole in the Wall Gang camp her last summer. Kristie wrote, “When I read about Emily, I felt this work was something she would do.” Kristie was right.