One of the messages you hear from Ellusionist constantly, especially from forum members: Get out and perform, because it will make you a better magician. But even though you benefit, your audience also benefits from the entertainment. Now, in this season of giving, think about this: It’s one thing to present your art to strangers on the street, who may or may not be looking for entertainment.
But a group of Chicago magicians has found an audience always ready for a performance, and to learn something. The magicians are making the rounds once a week in the children’s wings of five Chicago hospitals. They entertain, but many also take the extra step of teaching patients a trick or two.
The group is Open Heart Magic, a group founded by hospital magician Michael Walton. The group screens new magicians about once a year for a 12-week training class. The group’s mission is to use close-up magic as a therapeutic and positive interaction for children in hospitals. Walton said teaching kids tricks helps give them something they can control:
“When a child goes to the hospital, there is this loss of control, this lost sense of time, loss of friends. We try to give them something to continue the interaction beyond entertainment, to trick nurses and doctors.”
That got us thinking: How can you use your art to make others’ lives better? What can you do in 2009?
p.s. Note that OHM offers a 12-week training class for performing in front of kids who are patients. Performing for sick or terminal children requires training — your local hospital, Children’s Miracle Network or other charity organizations can help. More information can be found by browsing and searching the forums.