Matheny Muses ‘roar’

Matheny residents Jameir Warren-Treadwell and Tasha Santiago-O’Keefe perform “Roar,” assisted by personal care assistant Cathy Ibarrondo.

Art can’t save a life, but it can always enrich one.

While suffering from bone cancer in her teens, Naomi Cohain used art as a vehicle for self-expression, an emotional outlet and a source of comfort. Sadly, she died at age 15. In Naomi’s memory, the Englewood, NJ-based organization ArtWorks: the Naomi Cohain Foundation was formed. It serves children and young adults who suffer from chronic and life-threatening illnesses, giving them and their siblings access to creative and performing arts programs that encourage the use of the creative process as a vehicle for healing, communication, self-expression and personal development.

Every November, ArtWorks presents “Express Yourself,” a creative and performing arts exhibition that provides a forum for artistic expression. The Matheny Muses, a group of Matheny students and patients who share their love for singing, dancing and playing music, led off this year’s “Express Yourself” performances with their rendition of Katy Perry’s “Roar.” As the program stated, the Matheny Muses “remind us not to sit in defeat but to move to the music.”

The Muses are participants in Matheny’s music therapy program, which uses various types of music to aid students’ and patients’ cognitive, physical, emotional and social skills, helping them realize their potential in society. Other hospitals providing performers at “Express Yourself” included the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackesack, NJ; St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Paterson, NJ; and PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ.