Introduction

Arts & Health is an ever-growing field and in the past decade it has been moving from the periphery of health and culture to center stage. From doctors prescribing art lessons, to music therapy, to creativity employed to prevent burnout in healthcare workers, art and wellness are increasingly becoming phrases that go hand in hand. 

At HEARTS, we have curated this list of Arts & Health Resources, a small collection of resources dedicated to explaining this emerging field and its importance.  Here you will find links to articles, academic research papers, databases, resource compilations, and organizations and institutions focused on Arts & Health.  We hope that you can learn, explore, and find inspiration that serves you and your community. 

We welcome your comments! Please scroll to the bottom for more about adding comments.

Articles & Papers

GENERAL, ARTS & HEALTH:

Arts in Healthcare: Creativity for the Health of It

This 2010 article in Psychology Today describes how first-year students in many medical schools routinely take courses in arts and humanities to experience visual art, music-making, movement, and/or creative writing as therapies for health and well-being.

Can Art Heal Our Healers?

Published in 2019, this Op Ed article discusses the “Arts in Medicine” Department of New York City Health + Hospitals and the benefits of participation in the arts for healthcare teams.

For more about the Arts in Medicine Department of New York City Health + Hospitals see INSTITUTIONS & MEDICAL CENTERS.

The next two are from the Center for Arts in Medicine, University of Florida:

Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America

Published in 2019, this paper describes how the arts benefit public health and includes a wonderful graphic.

Evidence-Based Framework

Published in 2020, this evidence-based framework outlines the potential benefits of incorporating the arts into larger public health projects.

For more from and about the Center for Arts and Medicine see REPORTS & RESOURCE COMPILATIONS, DATABASES, and INSTITUTIONS & MEDICAL CENTERS.

Creative arts as a public health resource: moving from practice-based research to evidence-based practice

PDF: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1757913912442269

Published in 2021, this paper reviews some population-level evidence from epidemiological studies on the connection between participation in cultural activities and health.  It explores research on initiatives related to use of creative arts in healthcare settings and communities in ways that support health and well-being.

Physician burnout: contributors, consequences and solutions

Published in 2018 in the Journal of Internal Medicine, this study looks at physician burnout and describes strategies that can mitigate burnout, including: “participation in small-group programs oriented around promoting community, connectedness and meaning” – which includes arts programs!

Why Doctors Think Art Can Help Cure You

Published in 2019, this article describes how the world is beginning to recognize the important position that the arts hold in the field of healthcare.

MUSIC:

The Biological Benefits of Drumming

Published in 2013, this article describes the health benefits of participating in drumming, citing the research of Dr. Barry Bittman.

What Happens in the Brain When People Make Music Together?

This 2021 study from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University succinctly describes what happens in the brain when people embark upon collaborative musical projects together.

Reports & Resource Compilations

GENERAL, ARTS & HEALTH:

Art & Well Being: Toward a Culture of Health

Published 2018, this dense and multifaceted 4-page booklet by the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture illuminates a grassroots network of those who foster creativity to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging.

Arts Strategies for Addressing the Opioid Crisis: Examining the Evidence

This 2020 report published by the National Endowment for the Arts brings together current research on the application of arts therapy towards substance abuse, addiction, recovery, and pain management.

Congressional Arts Handbook

The Handbook is an annual compilation (2021) of resources including facts, figures, recent legislation, and information on policy issues related to American Arts and Health.

For more about Americans for the Arts see ORGANIZATIONS.

The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature

Published in 2010, this is an overview of the Arts & Health research available at the time of its publication. While more research has been conducted since then, this paper nonetheless contains a plethora of valuable information.

Research Collection, Center for Arts in Medicine, University of Florida

This extensive resource includes current research, databases, and publications relating to Arts & Health.

For more from and about the Center for Arts in Medicine see ARTICLES, DATABASES, and MEDICAL CENTERS & INSTITUTIONS.

WHO Report on Arts and Health in General: What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being?

Published in 2019, this resource by the World Health Organization reviews global evidence from over 3,000 studies that support the inclusion of the arts in health programs.

What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being? A scoping review

Published in 2020 in the Nordic Journal of Arts, Culture and Health, this ambitious report assesses current evidence on the contribution of creative arts in promoting health.

THEATRE:

The Case For Medical Improv!

This is a compilation of research papers, articles, and books about how improvisational theatre can promote healthy communication in the field of medicine.

Databases

Art and Healing Organizations & Programs

This link on The Healing Power of Art & Artists website leads to an extensive list of other organizations that are making great strides in the world of Arts & Health.

Also see The Healing Power of Art & Artists under ORGANIZATIONS.

Repository for Arts and Health Resources

The Repository includes hundreds of resources in the United Kingdom and internationally in the fields of arts, health, and well-being. It’s particularly geared toward academics, researchers, government policy-makers, health and social-care managers, and creative arts professionals engaged in using their artistic skills in healthcare and community settings.

Research Database, Center for Arts in Medicine, University of Florida

This large database is a terrific collection of articles relating to Arts & Health.

For more about the Center for Arts in Medicine, see ARTICLES, REPORTS & RESOURCE COMPILATIONS, and ORGANIZATIONS.

Organizations

Americans for the Arts

This organization is dedicated to highlighting the power of the arts to transform our communities and our lives by promoting the use of arts in the everyday lives of Americans. Their website includes links to research, opportunities to connect with other artists, and information about national arts events.

For more from Americans for the Arts, also see Congressional Arts Handbook in REPORTS & RESOURCE COMPILATIONS.

American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA)

AHNA serves over 5,500 nurses and holistic healthcare professionals in the USA and internationally.  Their vision is that Every Nurse Is a Holistic Nurse and their mission is to illuminate holism in nursing practice, community, advocacy, research, and education. Holistic Nursing was recognized as an official specialty in 2006 by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and today AHNA is well-known as the definitive voice for holistic nursing. AHNA is also a sponsor of HEARTS’ film musical about Florence Nightingale!

First Aid Arts

This Seattle-based, global organization brings effective arts-based resources to trauma survivors and those who care for them.  Their website includes informative videos, access to trainings, and a free, downloadable toolkit.  Contact: Ruth Yeo

The Healing Power of Art & Artists

An initiative of Manhattan Arts International, this organization is a global community of artists, advocates, and writers dedicated to raising awareness about how art serves as a positive catalyst for enhancing the well-being of individuals, society and the environment. “We believe that art has the power to heal, inspire, provoke, challenge and offer hope.”

US Department of Arts and Culture

The US Department of Arts and Culture is a grassroots-action network and their website contains many links to informative guides, articles, and national actions.

Institutions & Medical Centers

There are a growing number of institutions and medical centers creating arts programs and working with Arts & Health Professionals. These are the kinds of programs that beautifully illustrate the impact that the growing field of Arts & Health can have on our communities.

Arts & Health at Duke University

Since 1978, Arts & Health has provided quality arts programs to Duke University Hospital and its hospital-based clinics, including literary, performing and visual arts. On the home page you’ll find links to downloadable art kits, digital art tours, and much more!

Center for Arts in Medicine, College of the Arts, University of Florida

The Center is committed to advancing research, education, and practice in arts in health, locally and globally.  It views arts, culture, and health as integral partners in the realization of healthier, more equitable lives for all people everywhere.

Also from the Center for Arts in Medicine:

What is Arts in Health? (video)

Released in 2021, this video showcases a new field of practitioners called Arts and Health Professionals.  Although not trained as therapists or counselors, these professionals nonetheless play an important role in healthcare and in communities by helping create a “culture of health.”  We at Hearts are all about that! 

For more from the Center for Arts in Medicine, see ARTICLES, REPORTS & RESOURCE COMPILATIONS, and DATABASES.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Artful Healing

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is a great example of the kind of arts and health programs that we would love to see in the world. MFA Artful Healing offers arts programs for people of all ages currently in hospitals and healthcare centers.

NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine Department

The Arts in Medicine Department embraces the healing power of the arts and seeks to integrate all arts disciplines throughout their healthcare system. The department manages the system’s visual art collection and provides support for implementing arts programs that enhance patient experience, employee engagement, and community wellness.

For more from NYC Health & Hospitals see ARTICLES.

Shands Arts in Medicine, University of Florida

Shands Arts in Medicine program is one of the largest Arts in Healthcare programs in existence. Their programs are designed to promote health and wellness through the arts and to transform the hospital experience for patients, caregivers, and families.

We Welcome Your Comments

What are your own findings, ideas and intuitions about Arts & Health, either personally and/or professionally?

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How can HEARTS: Health & Arts support you, either personally and/or professionally?  How can we support your organization?

Email us at: info@HeartsHealthArts.org

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