The Power of Arts in Health

by CHWB Team
January 11, 2023
Wholeness

Winston Churchill once said “happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end of the day.” In many ways, Churchill was ahead of his time, and certainly, his pontifications on the value of art foreshadowed today’s growing movement focused on arts in health. According to the National Association of Arts in Health, the fi eld is “dedicated to using the power of the arts to enhance health and wellbeing in diverse institutional and community contexts.” Arts in health encompasses a broad range of activities and formats, from the simple act of creating art to the integration of professional performing artists into healthcare settings to the complex and culture-shifting clinical practice of physicians writing prescriptions for arts participation, known as “social prescribing.”  

As the movement grows, so does the research that underscores the impact of the intersection of arts in health. Here are some of the most compelling fi ndings:   

• A 2019 epidemiological study demonstrated that engagement in arts and cultural activities enhances immune response, longevity, and wellbeing, among other outcomes (Rogers & Fancourt, 2019).   

• Arts and cultural activities can improve community capacity and    social cohesion, and they often influence areas of policy and practice such as health, community development, economic development, and education (Muirhead & De Leeuw, 2012). 

• Evidence gathered through large-scale cohort studies in the United Kingdom suggests that arts and cultural participation can mitigate the incidence of depression and chronic pain among older adults, as well as maladjustment among children, and that adults who frequently engage in the arts have lower rates of morbidity and mortality (Fancourt & Steptoe, 2019). These findings have led to significant health and policy outcomes in the UK, including governmental investment in social prescribing.    

• The neuropathways created through aesthetic conditioning can have significant implications— predicting behavior, health, and wellbeing across the lifespan and subsequent generations (Belfi, et al., 2019).  

Exercise your Creativity at the Center for Health & Wellbeing 

Like exercise and good nutrition, being creative is simply good for us. This winter, the Center for Health & Wellbeing is proud to offer a slate of special programs focused on supporting your healthiest inner artist.  Register for one of the Center’s Arts in Health community education programs HERE.

Related Articles

Is There an Upside to Stress?

Is There an Upside to Stress? Written by Alison Issen, MS, RN, LMHC. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. At the Center for Health & Wellbeing, we’re proud to regularly feature Community Education programs designed to support your mental health. One of our regular presenters is Alison Issen, a licensed mental health counselor and registered…

Read Article

Sustainable Living: When Healing the Earth Meets Healing Oneself 

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, sustainable lifestyles are “ways of living, social behaviors and choices that minimize environmental degradation while supporting equitable socio-economic development and better quality of life for all.” At the heart of sustainable living is an understanding about how our choices affect ourselves and eachother, and an appreciation of how those choices…

Read Article

Regulating the Nervous System 

Regulating the Nervous System In a recent Community Education program, Herbs for the Nervous System, presented by ACE Certified Health Coach Julie Ward, program attendees learned how to regulate their nervous systems with the aid of herbs and intentional lifestyle habits.   Here’s more from Julie Ward’s presentation.   Part 1: What is the Nervous System? …

Read Article

Get the Whole Story - Sign Up for Our Newsletter

A partnership between