Essentially Key Biscayne: Cristina Figueredo Zizold

Cristina Zizold supervises the creation of Valentine's Day cards at the Holtz Children's Hospital
Key Biscayner Cristina Figueredo Zizold chose a career in art instead of medicine, but eventually combined all her interests and found a creative way to help heal kids. Zizold is the founder of Art Heart, which runs art classes and events at Holtz Children’s Hospital. Specializing in holiday related projects, the organization brings art supplies - and often, local artists – to young patients and supervises the creative processes during their often extended hospital stays.

“They’re stuck there,” says Zizold. “And the art is therapeutic. It helps these kids to think about something else for a little while.”

Zizold is a graduate of Key Biscayne Elementary School who later went on to Florida State University. She briefly considered a pre-med major but eventually opted to enroll in the school’s overseas art history program, which allowed her to study in Spain, England and Italy. She earned a master’s degree in Art History from University of Miami before working at MOCA in North Miami.

She decided to set up Art Heart after having her first child, Victoria, who is now age 2. Working through the Key Biscayne Community Foundation for non-profit status, she immediately got the attention of corporate donors, such as Whole Foods. Most recently, the organization received its first grant for $950 from the Rotary Club.

“It’s so intense,” she says. “Some of these kids can’t get out of bed. I just want to make them feel happy and if I can, then I feel great.”

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