A successful and eclectic professional musician, Cathy DeWitt has shared the stage and/or the airwaves with the likes of Garrison Keillor, Pete Seeger, Rob Bargad, Dave Frishberg, Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer, and many more. She has been the Musician in Residence and music program leader for Shands Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida (www.shands.org/AIM) since 1994, playing at bedside, teaching and training volunteers, writing grants and acquiring instruments (including two grand pianos), hosting and coordinating concerts throughout the hospital.
She has presented workshops and seminars at many universities, arts & healing events, and hospitals, includ¬ing conferences for the Society for the Arts in Healthcare and spiritual gatherings and retreats for Unity. As a consultant (independently and for the SAH), her clients have include Vanderbilt University, Tidewater Arts,Virginia Tech, San Diego Hospice, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital and the Royal Hospital in London. Along with several individual songwriting awards, including two from the 2006 Unisong International Songwriting Contest (with entries from 90 countries), she is the winner of a Fetzer Grant for her Healing Music Program, a Florida Arts Council Individual Artist Enhancement Grant, the National League of Penwomen Branch Award for Music, Gainesville branch (2005), and Gainesville’s Musician of the Year Award (2010).
While participating in several research projects involving the healing power of music, she became particularly interested in its effects on people with dementia and memory disorders. Her work with creativity and aging began in 2003 at the Florida Center for Creative Aging, where she coordinated events and produced their newsletter. In 2006 and 2008 she helped coordinate and facilitate the NEA/NIH-funded Vital Visionaries Program at the University of Florida. Since then she has become even more active with the National Center for Creative Aging, as a founding Network member, a presenter, and a teaching artist. She has done presentations, programs and projects in partnership with many organizations, including UF Colleges of Geriatrics, Nursing, Fine Arts, and Education; VSA, Prime Time, Oak Hammock Retirement Community at the University of Florida, Alterra House, the Alzheimer’s Association, Senior Centers and Veterans Administration centers.