Five Views of the Healing Power of the Arts
I have seen the arts and health movement grow exponentially since my initial involvement with the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military at Americans for the Arts in 2014. In military and civilian populations alike, from the existence of arts therapies of all disciplines to institutional and landscaping design, clinical research is now giving us the statistics to prove that the arts not only help us heal mentally, physically, and morally, but enhance our well-being, improve our coping skills, and help us build resiliency.
As the first university in the United States to offer a Graduate Program specifically for Arts in Medicine (AIM), the University of Florida (UF) is a center of innovation and application for the arts in all sectors of the population and health including public health, self care, and environmental care. The UF Center for Arts in Medicine also serves as an ongoing research resource in the field and offers online Performing Arts toolkits including Music in Emergency and Trauma Care, and Arts in Healthcare for Rural Communities. In order to define and shape the future usage of professional language, ethics, and AIM research, UF Center for Arts in Medicine has developed a White Paper: Talking About Arts in Health, 2017.
This week, Americans for the Arts is sharing the diverse arts and health experiences of five Assistant Scholars and Lecturers at the UF Center for Arts in Medicine in Gainesville. You will read of the joint experience of both patient and artist, the benefits of storytelling among children engaged in a journey of treatment, and the challenge of shaping healthy lifestyles among teenagers with theater. There are two stories of the arts and healing for Veterans, including “Telling: Gainesville” and the innovative RVTRI CAT—Rural Veterans Tele-Rehabilitation Initiative Creative Arts Therapy Project—that has become a model for Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network.
We are aware of the power of the arts to enrich our lives, to reflect civilizations, and to enhance our environment. In the upcoming blogs, you will see the power of the arts to heal and to shape healthy behaviors in case by case professional examples, reinforcing the necessity of the intersection of arts and health.