LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has begun a new program to encourage young patients to explore their inner Picasso and Kahlo.

The program allows kids who are going through dark and tough times to create things that are light and beautiful.

The art and music oasis allows patients to focus on healing and creating rather than pain.

KCAL9’s Stephanie Simmons met recently with the artist who inspired the program.

Simmons talked to Carlos Nieto III; that is, when little C.J. wasn’t rocking out on the xylophone.

“Instead of seeing syringes and machines and medical stuff, in here they come in and see pencils, crayons and markers. It instantly lights them up,” says Nieto.

He provides the kids a platform and a literal canvas to express themselves.

The program helps the kids with pain management.

“We’re going to do a safari theme,” he said to one recent group. “Do you guys know what a safari is?”

Nieto says: “Art is a very creative and meditative tool. You can get really lost in a painting or a drawing. You’re just having a good time and you’re not realizing where the time is going.”

The program is clearly working for 7-year-old Victor Guerra Jr., who was working on a ceramic tile.

Doctors are examining a tumor on his back. His dad knows how invaluable the art has become for his son emotionally.

“It helps him a lot, we are under a lot of stress,” Victor’s father says. “Mainly for him, he’s thinking without worries. He knows what’s going on with him.”

The art and music activities are structured around doctor visits so it gives the kids a chance to escape.

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