Center for Arts in Medicine

Creating Healthy Communities: Arts + Public Health in America


Above The Basement Episode 132: Dr. Francis Collins
NIH podcast series, Above the Basement spoke with Dr. Collins and talk about scientific surprises and musical exploration, about the importance of collaboration and listening, and about how music, family and spirituality seem to travel in similar circles.
Activating Cultural Assets: Boyle Heights
In 2012 The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) received a grant from The California Endowment to conduct the "Activating Cultural Assets" project in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. Led by a task force comprised of leaders from various organizations, including East LA Community Corporation, CASA 0101, Weingart YMCA, Maternal and Child Health Access, and Brooklyn & Boyle, the project aims to lift traditional arts and cultures as essential resources in the conversations and actions of Building Healthy Communities Boyle Heights. Workshops: In this second phase of ACTA's Activating Cultural Assets project three workshops were conducted for ten weeks. Each workshop focused on integrating arts practices into three Boyle Heights community campaigns: Legalize Street Vending, Restorative Justice/ School Climate, and the Affordable Care Act/ The Remaining Uninsured. SaludArte: An all-day free event, SaludArte gathered many of the relevant creative cultural streams identified by representatives of Boyle Heights-based organizations involved in the Boyle Heights Building Healthy Communities (BHC) initiative, facilitated by ACTA. The idea was to offer residents, neighbors, and community organizers a look at how the arts can help move a genuine neighborhood agenda forward as part of a process that seeks to build a healthier Boyle Heights from within.
Art, Music, and the Brain: Creative Approaches to Community Health
Ping Ho, founder and director of UCLArts and Healing, describes how art education is a matter of public health.
Building Healthy Communities: Social Cohesion and the Traditional Arts
Participation in arts and culture that is rooted in community can catalyze transformative social change. Our work at ACTA facilitates the engagement of artists and organizers with deeply rooted traditional arts processes and values as a way of informing local social justice efforts. The practice of community-centered art helps build sustainable opportunities for co-creation, engagement, and change. ACTA invests in frameworks of traditional art practices that are rooted in participation, mentorship, communal aesthetics, and the acuerdos (agreements) that come with those communal aesthetics. One way we do this is through the Building Healthy Communities initiative, launched by the California Endowment to address health inequities in 14 California communities. Since 2011, ACTA has been bringing traditional artists together with community members in Boyle Heights, Merced, Santa Ana, and the East Coachella Valley to open pathways for connection, reflection, and mobilization through the practice of art.
Collective Songwriting in Boyle Heights, California
The East L.A. community of Boyle Heights is a thriving hub for Chicano art with a long and significant history of activism. Located just east of the L.A. River, Boyle Heights is home to one of the largest Latino populations in the US. ACTA has been working in Boyle Heights since 2011 through Building Healthy Communities (BHC), a 10-year statewide initiative of The California Endowment. It focuses on building power locally by funding non-profit organizations in 14 communities across the state that have been devastated by health inequities. The Endowment has invested in those communities to facilitate collaboration toward policy change around three different areas: schools, neighborhoods, and preventive health. In the case of Boyle Heights, where gentrification has been changing/threatening the neighborhood, a fourth area was added: anti-displacement. Another engagement and social change methodology contributed by local traditional artists, including Quetzal Flores and Martha Gonzalez, is collective songwriting. A communal practice with strong roots in Chicano activism, collective songwriting workshops bring community members together to openly discuss local issues that affect their lives and channel their voices into music with meaning. Activism around policies like reduced sentencing, deferred action (which would allow children who immigrated to the US without documents to stay in the country), and restorative justice practices that open dialogue inside schools take center stage through the production of art. Artists and participants share a reciprocal space of storytelling and creativity, mobilizing toward a shared goal.
Hands Healing Hearts
Tom Musgrave chats with Doris Thurber, a cofounder of Franklin County's Hands Healing HeArts initiative, and Angie Boone, one of the Hands Healing HeArts participants, about this unique addiction recovery support program centered around the visual arts. Hands Healing HeArts works in cooperation with Franklin County Drug Court, using a variety of hands-on, multi-disciplinary artistic approaches with women in Drug Court to support their recovery. During the course of this conversation, we talk about a couple of videos Hands Healing Hearts has produced, and the organization has generously allowed us to post links to them: Art of Recovery trailer (2:19). Installation exhibit at Frankfort's Grand Theatre (12:01). This is a compelling visual and audio tapestry, showing the journeys the women of Franklin County Drug Court as they move through the Hands Healing HeArts program. For more information about Hands Healing HeArts, to volunteer, or to learn about how you can start a similar program in your community, visit the Hands Healing HeArts website.
Illness Revelations and the Bodies of History+Medicine+Us
A description of a new socially engaged art&health project at Duke University and in Durham, North Carolina that creates a conversation around the intersections between disability, race, medical practice, and the 'eugenics impulse.'
Improving Public Health Through Community Design | Gary Gaston | TEDxNashvilleSalon
The shape that we give to our city, in turn shapes us. In this TEDx talk, "Improving Public Health Through Community Design, Citizen Engagement, and the Built Environment," Gary Gaston, CEO of the Nashville Civic Design Center, discusses epiphany, public health, the built environment, and how youth-centric civic engagement and community-based design practices are making an impact in Nashville, TN.
Las Mujeres de los Tejidos Purépecha: Building Healthy Communities Eastern Coachella Valley
A center of agricultural production for the state of California, the Eastern Coachella Valley is home to a number of farm workers and their families. More than half of the area’s population is Latino, some of whom are undocumented. While money, media attention, and public interest are invested in the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the issues around healthcare, education, lack of safe drinking water, and structural racism in the Eastern Coachella Valley remain underrepresented. ACTA initiated work in the area in 2011, applying funds from the California Endowment to support community development through the traditional arts as part of Building Healthy Communities – Eastern Coachella Valley. In the example of the Women’s Tejidos Purépecha Group of North Shore, ACTA organized a regular meeting of women from the community around the practice of embroidery from the indigenous Purépecha people of Michoacán, Mexico, who have settled in the farm worker communities of Mecca and North Shore. In the process of gathering together to learn the new and culturally relevant skill of embroidery at the home of master artist Natividad González Morales, these women had the opportunity to meet one another, break bread, and discuss the problems they face in their daily lives. Advocates from the Building Healthy Communities’ Schools Action Team of Eastern Coachella Valley and the cultural empowerment organization Raices Cultura joined the meetings to learn about local priorities and provide resources for action. The practice of embroidery created a safe, communal space to give voice to the issues and questions that had been unspoken for many women. Change, empowerment, and growth happens in these communal spaces.
Sing for Hope: Creating a Better World through the Arts
Through dynamic education, healthcare, and global initiatives, Sing for Hope activates creativity in schools, hospitals, refugee camps, and public spaces for millions of people worldwide. Watch for highlights from the organization's first 12 years.
The Healing Power of Music: Johns Hopkins Center Marries Music and Medicine
Music has long been associated with mental, physical, and spiritual health. And someday soon, doctors may start prescribing their patients a dose of music to accompany more conventional medicine.The Johns Hopkins Center for Music and Medicine, an interdepartmental collaboration between the School of Medicine and Peabody Conservatory, is actively exploring the science and therapeutic potential of music in medical care.
Traditional Arts and Systems Change [Building Healthy Communities - Boyle Heights]
For over four years, Building Healthy Communities - Boyle Heights has invested in arts and culture as an essential resource in the struggle for health impacts and systems change in abandoned communities. The Alliance for California Traditional Arts has served as a key protagonist in lifting up traditional artists and their cultural convening methods as important vehicles for exercising and sustaining opposition to injustice and proposition for a collective future.
Art of Elysium, Inc.
The Art of Elysium connects volunteer artists with the Los Angeles community, providing arts opportunities to people in hospitals, medical centers, and a variety of community settings. Community members include children who are medically fragile, adolescents, adults, older adults, people who are homeless, and people dealing with a variety of health issues.
Los Angeles, CAUnited States
ArtPlace America
ARTPLACE AMERICA is a ten-year collaboration among a number of foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions. We envision a future of equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities in which everyone has a voice and agency in creating contextual, adaptive, and responsive solutions. Our mission is to position arts and culture as a core sector of community planning and development.
Brooklyn, NYUnited States
Arts Council New Orleans
Now in its fourth decade, the Arts Council New Orleans is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting arts and culture in the city and demonstrating how art transforms communities. Arts Council New Orleans administers grant funding, produces the city’s largest arts markets, commissions art in public places, designs creative youth development and skill building initiatives, and more. They strive to connect with artists, and arts advocates around and beyond the New Orleans metro area.
New Orleans, LouisianaUnited States
Arts Health Early Career Research Network
The Arts Health Early Career Research Network brings together early career researchers working on projects at the intersection of the arts, humanities, health and medicine. Aims: 1. To LINK together early career researchers through social events, networking opportunities and workshops 2. To provide podcasts and newsletters to help early career researchers LEARN more about the field 3. To run training events to enable early career researchers to LEAD their own research projects If you are a student, early career researcher (within 8 years of receiving your PhD) or an early-career professional working in research or evaluation, you can join for free. It’s open to any early career researchers in any country.
GlobalUnited States
Breathing Lights
In October and November 2016, Breathing Lights illuminated the windows of hundreds of vacant buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy, NY. Warm light filled each window with a diffuse glow that mimicked the gentle rhythm of human breathing. Concentrated in neighborhoods with high levels of vacancy, Breathing Lights transformed abandoned structures from pockets of shadows into places of warmth. This unprecedented, multi-city installation also transformed public streets into an evocative experience and provided a platform to reinvigorate stakeholders around the Capital Region’s most visible symptom of decades of disinvestment. Working with dozens of community and private-sector partners, Breathing Lights included eight months of programming and events, including youth media projects, building reclamation clinics, community arts presentations, gallery talks, policy discussions and more.
Albany, Schenectady and Troy, New YorkUnited States
Children's Cancer Association
The Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) knows that for seriously ill children and their families, every moment is precious. CCA was founded in 1995 by a family who faced – and lost - their own battle with pediatric cancer. From their experience came a passionate focus on the moment, and a commitment to deliver immediate help to kids when their need is greatest. CCA works alongside hospital partners to embed its innovative MyMusicRx program into pediatric healthcare programs, uplifting and empowering pediatric patients and their families through live, kid-prescribed music.
Portland, ORUnited States
Drawn From Valor
We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit animation studio that partners with subject matter experts to create freely accessible, engaging, educational animated videos to empower people in understanding and managing their medical and mental health conditions. Our Type 1 diabetes project was our debut series and we are currently hard at work on a series about the impacts and effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trauma in a family setting. The series will share different paths to healing and revolve around the powerful and central theme that no matter the circumstance, there is always room for hope.
United States
Exit12 Dance Company
Exit12 is a contemporary dance company committed to creating and performing works of high cultural significance that inspire conversations about worldly differences and the lasting effects of violence and conflict on communities, families, and individuals. Through movement, Exit12 educates audiences about the reality of war, advocates diversity and mutual understanding through cultural exchange, and champions the humanity and dignity of all persons. Exit12 supports and advances the notion that art heals, and is devoted to serving those who have been touched by conflict by expressing their stories. Founded by a US Marine Iraq War Veteran and two ballerinas in 2007, Exit12 is a pioneer in the genre of military veteran art.
New York, NYUnited States
IDEAS xLab is a dynamic artist-run nonprofit based in Louisville, KY - and working nationally - to leverage the power of community creativity and culture to transform lives through art. Their HEAL (Health. Equity. Art. Learning) Community Approach supports communities in their drive toward positive health outcomes through music and drumming circles, open mic poetry slams, visual art exercises, writing workshops and more. Through partnership with UofL through the Center for Creative Placehealing, IDEAS xLabs is measuring the impact of their artist-led initiatives on hope and belonging.
Louisville, KentuckyUnited States
Kentucky Arts Council
The Kentucky Arts Council is the state arts agency and is responsible for developing and promoting support for the arts in Kentucky. Strategically placed in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Arts Council is publicly funded by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent agency of the federal government.
Frankfort, KYUnited States
Kounkuey Design Initiative
The Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) works with local residents to transform unsafe and under-used sites into “Productive Public Spaces”. From permanent parks to temporary vacant lot activations, each space integrates key amenities such as community buildings, water and sanitation facilities, green infrastructure, and open spaces for recreation and exercise. KDI executes all phases of the design process. They also work with residents to create transportation plans, master plans, neighborhood plans, and regional plans to advance their long-term visions for equitable communities. KDI helps residents design and implement programming that generates income, energizes culture, builds community capacity, and brings our Productive Public Spaces to life for years to come. Many of the places they work lack adequate data, hindering policy makers and residents alike from making informed decisions about priority needs and effective solutions. KDI fills clear gaps in knowledge and creates a basis for effective and equitable development by working with communities to design and deliver rigorous research projects and test innovative solutions to inequity and risk.
Los Angeles, CaliforniaUnited States
Mixed Blood Theater
Using theater to illustrate and animate, Mixed Blood changes attitudes, behavior, and policy by paying positive attention to difference. The company’s predictably unpredictable work addresses injustices, inequities, and cultural collisions, providing a voice for the unheard—on stage, in the workplace, in the company’s own Cedar Riverside neighborhood and beyond. Mixed Blood continues to lead the field in programming and engagement at the crossroads of art and social justice, and in eliminating barriers to participation through its signature Radical Hospitality. The company annually presents a mainstage season of plays in its historic firehouse; works extensively with the Cedar Riverside, disability, Latino and transgender communities, using art as a tool to promote health and civic engagement; and produces customized productions addressing workplace inclusion through On the Job. Mixed Blood is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and is a member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and the National New Play Network (NNPN).
Minneapolis, MinnesotaUnited States
One Pulse Foundation
The onePULSE Foundation is a 501(c)(3) incorporated by the owners of Pulse Nightclub. The onePULSE Foundation was established to create a sanctuary of hope around this tragic day in American history which honors the 49 lives that were taken, the 68 injured victims, the affected survivors and the first responders and healthcare professionals who cared for the victims. This fund is intended to support construction and maintenance of the memorial, community grants to care for the survivors and victims’ families, an educational program to promote amity among all segments of society, endowed scholarships for each of the 49 angels, and ultimately a museum showcasing historic artifacts and stories from the event. All donations will be used for the construction and operation of the official memorial and museum and educational scholarships. This is a defining mission and healing initiative that we hope inspires supporters who share our vision and understand the sacred responsibility to which we have been entrusted.
Orlando, FloridaUnited States
Rebel Nell
Rebel Nell is a Detroit social enterprise impact driven, for profit business - meaning the incredible women we serve come first, and every product sold has a direct impact on the lives of our creative designers. We partner with local organizations to seek out women who have struggled to find and retain employment. We hire these women as Creative Designers, teaching them to craft unique, wearable art from fallen layers of graffiti, while providing services to support on their way to self-sufficiency.
Detroit, MIUnited States
Rehabilitation Through the Arts
RTA uses the transformative power of the arts to help people in prison develop skills to unlock their potential and succeed in the larger community. RTA also seeks to raise public awareness of the humanity behind prison walls. As an artistic community in which members participate for years - even decades - RTA offers a dynamic and richly varied program. Each facility in which RTA works has a unique curriculum that reflects the interest of the group, the energy and ideas of RTA facilitators and the particular security concerns of prison administration. At any one time, RTA juggles at least a dozen workshops, a workshop presentation and one or two full productions. Workshops range from a one-session master class in jazz guitar to a year+ long project of script and character analysis, dance and music that build to performance of a Broadway musical. Modern dance has been successfully taught in two male facilities and a hip hop class in another; one prison has a particularly strong emphasis on visual arts, another on original writing. ​
Purchase, New YorkUnited States
Snow City Arts
Snow City Arts (SCA) inspires and educates children and youth in the hospital. We aim to bridge the learning gap that young people encounter when they miss school due to short-term or long-term hospitalization as well as chronic health care needs. Hospital partners include Rush University Children’s Hospital, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Children’s Hospital University of Illinois, and Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. We place professional Teaching Artists in both inpatient and outpatient pediatric units to engage children and young adults in arts-based workshops in a wide range of mediums: creative writing, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. Our Teaching Artists collaborate closely with SCA program leadership as well as the Child Life staff and School Teachers within our partner hospitals to create and deliver a rigorous, standards-based arts curriculum that can be differentiated to serve each child’s individual needs. We create detailed reports that children and their parents may elect to submit to their respective schools for class or attendance credit. We also produce curated, public-facing events of student artwork providing a culminating moment for students on an annual basis. Many established institutions have recognized the quality and value of SCA’s important work. In 2006, the White House and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities recognized SCA as one of the 15 best youth programs in the United States, honoring us with the prestigious Coming Up Taller Award. In 2008, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized SCA as an “outstanding arts in healthcare” program, profiling SCA as a national Best Practices organization. We were honored with a visit from NEA Chairwoman Jane Chu in 2015. Finally, SCA was honored with the Make It Better Philanthropy. The National Endowment for the Arts just featured an audio-story on an SCA student and Teaching Artist their Number 1, 2019 NEA Arts Magazine.
Chicago, ILUnited States
SongwritingWith:Soldiers uses songwriting as a catalyst for positive change. We offer our participants a unique way to tell their stories, rebuild trust, release pain, and forge new bonds. In SW:S retreat and workshop settings, service members are paired with professional songwriters to craft songs about their experiences, often about combat and the return home. Through their songs, participants rediscover their creativity and reconnect with family, friends, and communities. The songs are recorded and shared through CDs, concerts, and social media in order to bridge the divide between military and civilian communities, and build awareness of the challenges faced by our returning service members.
Nashville, TNUnited States
Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling
Developed by Broadway Housing Communities (BHC), the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling (SHCMAS) is the cultural heart of the Sugar Hill Project. Led by founder and executive director Ellen Baxter for over 30 years, BHC has pioneered high-impact solutions to the challenges of deep generational poverty and homelessness in the underserved communities of Upper Manhattan with an innovative model leveraging the synergies of housing, education and the arts to creating lasting change for underserved children, families and communities. The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling provides our culturally rich neighborhood with a space where children and their families grow and learn about Sugar Hill, and about the world at large, through intergenerational dialogue with artists, art and storytelling.
New York, NYUnited States
The Foundation for Art & Healing
The Foundation for Art & Healing was started over ten years ago, in part to give people a chance to “tell their story” and in doing that, to accomplish three things: to expand the general awareness of the public of the importance of creative expression of all sorts (music, dance, writing, visual arts; and even sewing, cooking, and gardening!) to health; to inspire others and give them a bit more boldness, conviction, and reassurance about the importance of their own creative work (totally separate from any judgment of the quality of that work) and the energy and enthusiasm to continue that creative work, and to share it with others; and to reveal something personal, authentic and meaningful so that the person sharing their story might benefit directly from what is always a courageous and rewarding act.
Brookline, MassachusettsUnited States
The Heidelberg Project
The Heidelberg Project (“HP”) is an outdoor art environment in the heart of an urban area and a Detroit based community organization with a mission to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art.
Detroit, MIUnited States
University of Florida: Center for Arts in Medicine
The University of Florida Center for the Arts in Medicine is committed to advancing research, education, and practice in arts in medicine, locally and globally. Through ongoing interdisciplinary research, training programs, and dynamic academic programs the Center advances its mission to further the field of arts in health.
Gainesville, FLUnited States
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is one of the nation’s most innovative arts institutions. Founded in 1993 as the cultural anchor of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens development, YBCA’s work spans the realms of contemporary art, civic engagement, and public life. By using culture as an instrument for social change, YBCA is reimagining the role an arts institution can play in the community it serves.
San Francisco, CAUnited States
Zuni Youth Enrichment Project (ZYEP)
The mission of the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project (ZYEP) is to promote resilience among Zuni youth, so that they will grow into strong and healthy adults who are connected with Zuni traditions. ZYEP provides summer camps, sports leagues, after-school opportunities, and garden-based education to help Zuni youth thrive.
Zuni, New MexicoUnited States
Amy Kitchener
Public Folklorist

Amy Kitchener, Executive Director, co-founded the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) in 1997. Understanding California’s unique position as the nation's epicenter for diverse cultural and multi-national communities, ACTA's work has focused on social change through grantmaking, capacity and leadership development, technical assistance, and bilingual program development. Trained as a public folklorist with an M. A. from UCLA, Amy has piloted participatory cultural asset mapping in neglected and rural areas of the state and consults with other organizations and across sectors on this method of discovery and inclusion of community voices.
Alliance for California Traditional ArtsFresno, CA
Anne Basting
Professor of Theater

Both an artist and scholar, Basting and her work have been honored as a MacArthur Fellow, Ashoka Fellowship, and Rockefeller Fellowship along with many grants from both the arts and health fields. She is author/editor of three books, including The Penelope Project: An Arts-based Odyssey to Change Eldercare (2016). She is currently leading a collaborative team of artists, elders, and care providers in a project to re-imagine the story of Peter Pan in creative festivals at three rural KY nursing homes. She is also at work on a new book, Creative Care.
University of Wisconsin MilwaukeeMilwaukee, Wisconsin
Anthony Kolenic, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean
Tony Kolenic joined the College of the Arts as Assistant Dean for Research, Technology and Administrative Affairs in January 2015. He oversees research development and grants, assessment oversight and reporting, strategic planning, policy and procedure development, and provides leadership for the college's interdisciplinary centers. Prior to coming to UF Kolenic served as Associate Director of the University of Michigan's ArtsEngine, which drives transdisciplinary collaborations among the Arts, Architecture, Engineering and other fields. He was also the Associate Director of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Directors (a2ru) - a partnership of more than 40 institutions committed to transforming research universities in order to ensure the greatest possible institutional support and environment for interdisciplinary research, curricula, programming and creative practice.
University of FloridaGainesville, Florida, USA
Kate Bonansinga
Director, School of Art

Professor Bonansinga was founding director of Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for Visual Art at The University of Texas, El Paso where she curated many exhibitions and established an undergraduate minor in museum studies and taught courses in curatorial practice. She is in interested in museums as dynamic sites for learning, in the impact of art in gallery and non-gallery settings, and in the current methods that artists employ to make a difference in society and culture. Bonansinga is the author of "Curating at the Edge: Artists Respond to the U.S./Mexico Border" (University of Texas Press, 2014), of a chapter in "Born of Resistance," edited by Scott Baugh and Victor Sorell (University of ArizonaPress, 2015), and of dozens of articles about contemporary art. She curated "Staged Stories: 2009 Renwick Craft Invitational" at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and since 2002 has served as a national art peer for the General Services Administration’s Art-in-Architecture program.
University of CincinnatiCincinnati, OH
Caitlin Behle
Social Innovation Specialist

Design Impact is a nonprofit social innovation firm that designs inclusive and creative approaches to complicated social problems. At DI, Caitlin uses her background in storytelling and community development for group facilitation, storytelling, communications, session design, and design research.
Design ImpactCincinnati, OH
Deborah Cullinan

Deborah Cullinan is one of the nation’s leading thinkers on the pivotal role arts organizations can play in shaping our social and political landscape, and has spent years mobilizing communities through arts and culture.
Yerba Buena Center for the ArtsSan Francisco, CA
Deepika Andavarapu
Research and Evaluation Officer

Dr. Deepika Andavarapu is an accomplished researcher with multiple publications and a passion for community development. Deepika Andavarapu, is the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee Chair for Impact 100-Cincinnati. Deepika has a Bachelors in Architecture, Masters in Community Planning and a Ph.D. in Regional Development Planning
Greater Cincinnati FoundationCincinnati, OH
Elizabeth "Like" Lokon, PhD
Founder & Director, Opening Minds through Art
Elizabeth Lokon founded the Opening Minds through Art (OMA), an intergenerational art program for people with dementia based at Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University. OMA has been replicated at over 150 sites in North America. Lokon works in the intersection of the arts, dementia, and intergenerational service learning and has published in these areas. She is also a fiber artist.
Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami UniversityOxford, OH
Kate Bonansinga
Director, School of Art

Professor Bonansinga was founding director of Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for Visual Art at The University of Texas, El Paso where she curated many exhibitions and established an undergraduate minor in museum studies and taught courses in curatorial practice. She is in interested in museums as dynamic sites for learning, in the impact of art in gallery and non-gallery settings, and in the current methods that artists employ to make a difference in society and culture. Bonansinga is the author of "Curating at the Edge: Artists Respond to the U.S./Mexico Border" (University of Texas Press, 2014), of a chapter in "Born of Resistance," edited by Scott Baugh and Victor Sorell (University of ArizonaPress, 2015), and of dozens of articles about contemporary art. She curated "Staged Stories: 2009 Renwick Craft Invitational" at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and since 2002 has served as a national art peer for the General Services Administration’s Art-in-Architecture program.
University of CincinnatiCincinnati, OH
Heather L. Stuckey, D.Ed.
Qualitative Researcher
As Associate Professor for Medicine, Public Health Sciences and Humanities, my research centers on qualitative research and the ways adults make meaning of their chronic disease. Projects have included a 17-country study on Diabetes Attitudes Wishes and Needs 2, which involved identifying the psychosocial barriers and successes to people with diabetes around the world. I work on blog studies, personal experience studies, and alternative ways of knowing to understand a deeper level of meaning. Using metaphors as powerful conveyors of communication, I have conducted research in the arts and healing using creative expression through meditation, shape-making, and photography to communicate deep and often hidden core beliefs about living with a disease. I am an experienced qualitative researcher, and I want to bring both the imaginative world of the arts together with the outcomes of science to further the field of arts and health.
Penn State Hershey College of MedicineHershey, PA, USA
Hope Singsen
Artist-activist and Researcher

Hope is an NYC artist-activist and researcher, and now the Founder and Artistic Director of the #HealMeToo Festival and Podcast. Hope’s work investigates the mechanisms within creativity that may lead to personal and cultural change. This work informed the development of her solo play with music, SKIN, and continues in workshops and Art/Science collaborations that explore embodiment, neuroscience and healing through the arts.
#HealMeToo Festival and PodcastNew York, NY
Jamie Bennett
Executive Director

Jamie Bennett has been the Executive Director of ArtPlace America since January 2014. Previously, Jamie served as Chief of Staff at the National Endowment for the Arts and Chief of Staff at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. He has also provided strategic counsel at the Agnes Gund Foundation; served as chief of staff to the President of Columbia University; and worked in fundraising at The Museum of Modern Art, the New York Philharmonic, and Columbia College. His past nonprofit affiliations have included the Board of Directors of Art21 and the HERE Arts Center; the Foot-in-the-Door Committee of the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation; and Studio in a School’s Associates Committee. Jamie received his B.A. from Columbia College in New York City.
ArtPlace AmericaBrooklyn, NY
Jennifer Beard
Clinical Associate Professor

Jennifer Beard, PhD, MA, MPH, is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Global Health at Boston University School of Public Health and the Associate Editor of Public Health Post. She developed and leads the BUSPH Public Health Writing Program and also directs the MPH certificates in Global Health and Program Management. She created and teaches courses in global mental health, global health storytelling, and public health writing. Dr. Beard founded the BU Program for Global Health Storytelling – a collaboration between BUSPH, the BU College of Communication, and the Pulitzer Center – which analyzes the similarities and tensions between global health research and journalism and seeks ways to improve collaboration.
Boston UniversityBoston, MA
Kate Bonansinga
Director, School of Art

Professor Bonansinga was founding director of Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for Visual Art at The University of Texas, El Paso where she curated many exhibitions and established an undergraduate minor in museum studies and taught courses in curatorial practice. She is in interested in museums as dynamic sites for learning, in the impact of art in gallery and non-gallery settings, and in the current methods that artists employ to make a difference in society and culture. Bonansinga is the author of "Curating at the Edge: Artists Respond to the U.S./Mexico Border" (University of Texas Press, 2014), of a chapter in "Born of Resistance," edited by Scott Baugh and Victor Sorell (University of ArizonaPress, 2015), and of dozens of articles about contemporary art. She curated "Staged Stories: 2009 Renwick Craft Invitational" at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and since 2002 has served as a national art peer for the General Services Administration’s Art-in-Architecture program.
University of CincinnatiCincinnati, OH
Laurie Baefsky
Associate Dean for Research, Collaboration, and Innovation

My work is focused on promoting arts and the intersection of the arts within the university, non-profit, and governmental sectors. I build and develop programs that often fall outside the mainstream of traditional classical arts training models. I've worked as a creative consultant for creative placemaking civic initiatives and have seen in real time the arts being the change agent for community revitalization. I also dedicated 15 years playing in the Virginia Symphony and know in my bones the unadulterated power of transformation through the arts. As executive director of ArtsEngine at the University of Michigan and the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru), I work locally and nationally to support arts and transdisciplinary arts endeavors in higher education.
University of ColoradoDenver, CO
Lydia Clemmons
Medical Anthropologist

Throughout her career, Dr. Clemmons’ technical expertise has integrated arts and culture into the development and use of evidence-based tools and interventions that have been consistently recognized as global best practices. Lydia returned home to Vermont in 2012 to help her family preserve their 148-acre farm—one of just 0.4% farms in the nation that are African-American owned farm. Under her leadership,the Clemmons Family Farm won a 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund grant from ArtPlace America.
Clemmons Family FarmCharlotte, VT
Lynn Osgood
Urban Planner and Researcher

Lynn Osgood is an urban planner and researcher whose work explores the intersection of the arts, civic capacity building, and public engagement. She started her career in urban planning in New York City when she worked with the UN Habitat II Conference on Human Settlements. Trained in landscape architecture and urban planning at the University of Virginia, Lynn moved to Austin in 2003, where she became Adjunct Faculty at the University of Texas in the Department of Community and Regional Planning. In 2011 she started GO collaborative where she now serves as the Executive Director.
Go CollaborativeAustin, TX
Nick Greene

Nick Greene is a writer, actor and musician residing in Los Angeles. He has traveled to Rwanda, Africa working with the Arts In Medicine program at the University of Florida. He's an associate member of Theatre Dybbuk, a company dedicated to doing theatre based on Jewish folklore and history. He also works as a facilitator for several organizations, combining art and education with the backdrop of self worth and personal empowerment.
Nick GreeneLos Angeles
Nicole Bennett
Artist, Arts Administrator

Nicolle Bennett is an arts administrator, educator, consultant and artist, with over 10 years of experience advocating for healthy communities and building capacity with arts, health, and educational organizations and those they serve. She currently lives and works in New York, serving as Program Director for Feel the Music!, an organization that fosters self care in clinical and community settings, and consults with a variety of organizations and creative entrepreneurs to build technical and communicative capacity. She also serves as health advisor to ArtsEverywhere, a program of the Musagetes foundation, where she is participating in a collaborative process to assess the economic and health effects of creating a community-led arts/cultural hub in Trout River, Newfoundland.
Feel the Music!New York, NY
Paul Pietsch
Researcher, Artist
Paul Pietsch leads NASAA’s qualitative research on programmatic and policy trends in state arts agencies. His research has focused on arts and the military, arts based rural development, arts in healthcare, arts and the opioid epidemic, creative aging, the creative economy, cultural districts, public art, arts education, and diversity, equity and inclusion in the arts, among other things. He also tracks state legislation pertaining to the arts and highlights innovative state arts agency practices in the monthly State to State column of NASAA Notes. Prior to joining NASAA in 2012, Paul managed the research efforts of the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid as well as those of the Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition. He has worked as a writer and fundraiser at Harvard University, Dartmouth College and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Paul also is an artist with an M.F.A. and a graduate certificate in arts management from American University in Washington, D.C. He is a faculty member of the Washington Studio School, facilitates life drawing groups, and has served on the Artists’ Advisory Council of the Washington Project for the Arts and the board of directors of Art Enables, an art gallery and vocational arts program for artists with disabilities.
National Assembly of State Arts AgenciesWashington, DC
Sarah Davies
Artist, Educator

Sarah is an artist, educator, program designer and project manager. She has worked in the non-profit sector and public school system for eighteen years, always in service to the most vulnerable populations of our communities.
100 Stones ProjectAnchorage, AK
Suzanne R. Salapa, Ed. D
Chair, Department of Dance
Suzanne Salapa is a Professor of Dance and Chair of the Department of Dance in the School of Arts & Entertainment at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. In addition to her work at Valencia, she teaches dance at Rollins College and is the bi-monthly Movement as Medicine dance class instructor for the Parkinson's Outreach Center at Advent Health Orlando. The MAM dancers perform in and around Orlando. Valencia is currently in curricular development with the University of Florida working to develop an Arts in Health with Wellness program, combining the interdisciplinary work of the School of Arts & Entertainment, School of Allied Health and School of Nursing.
Valencia CollegeOrlando, Florida
Theo Edmonds, JD,MHA,MFA
Artist & Health Innovator
[--About the Center for Creative Placehealing--] The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified the systematic neglect of culture as the single, greatest barrier to the advancement of the highest standard of health worldwide. Health is more than the absence of disease. It is a state of wellbeing that allows diverse groups of people to contribute their full, creative potential to the communities they love. This interaction helps us derive a personal sense of hope, trust, and belonging. These are cultural metrics, transferable to a wide range of diverse communities, which, according to research, can predict wellbeing. Even as inequity rises, America is experiencing a decades-long decline in social services funding. Likewise, we are at the beginning of a privatization movement directed at our nation’s public health system. How all of this plays out over the long term is yet to be seen. However, one thing is sure. The private, public and nonprofit sectors must become better aligned. UofL’s Center for Creative Placehealing was created to help find the way forward. A way that creates value for both business owners and society. Whereas many of today’s business innovation models focus on creating “disruption”, the Center for Creative Placehealing is focused on something far more powerful. We seek to create “meaning”. Culture is the result of how diverse communities make and share meaning. It is the “why” of both people and businesses. The future of business is tied to creating value: both in the market AND in society. In other words - doing well, while doing good. This is fundamentally a CULTURAL challenge. [--Cultural Wellbeing 2020 Initiative--] In January 2020, the Center for Creative Placehealing will launch the Cultural Wellbeing 2020 initiative in Louisville, KY. It will be one of the most comprehensive, cultural initiatives ever to take place within the business community geared toward health and wellbeing. The initiative will involve multiple corporations, an interdisciplinary team of researchers and creatives, and governmental innovation experts in public and economic policy. Cultural Wellbeing 2020 will use creative placemaking techniques, combined with public health research to address the deeply entrenched challenges faced by business including how to create cultures where people feel safe, supported, and able to rise to their highest potential. Research shows that inclusive corporate cultures have a direct, positive impact on employee wellbeing, retention and innovation output. The fact that we are launching this initiative in Kentucky is also important. Companies face heightened operational and reputation risks when they do business in places where the legal and/or social atmosphere makes it difficult for African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals to bring their “whole self” to work out of fear of discrimination. The Cultural Wellbeing 2020 Initiative will make Louisville the first city in the US to scientifically measure and manage “Cultural Wellbeing” in the corporate sector across three critical domains: 1) trust, 2) belonging, and 3) hope.  The scientific measurement instrument we have developed through the Center for Creative Placehealing is called the Cultural Wellbeing Index© (CWBI). The interventions we have designed to catalyze culture shifts toward inclusion and wellbeing are called Cultural Wellbeing Clinics©. The clinics are evidence-informed creative placemaking engagements specifically developed for the business community. Both CWBI and clinics are currently going through validation studies in partnership with a multi-national corporation as part of a National Science Foundation supported research program. We intend to use the Cultural Wellbeing 2020 Initiative to formalize “cultural wellbeing” as a core component of regional economic development strategies; support development of inclusive workplaces and spaces (both digital and physical); and, in concert with the creative industries, systematically translate and promote public health research as a driver of economic and entrepreneurial eco-system growth.
University of Louisville Center for Creative PlacehealingLouisville, KY, USA
Creative Aging Tennessee
Creative Aging Tennessee was an innovative statewide initiative in which three (3) state agencies - Tennessee Arts Commission, Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability - collaborated to increase access and participation in the arts and to improve positive outcomes for older adults. Those outcomes included improving health and wellness; lifelong learning and engagement; increasing positive attitudes/perceptions about aging; and connecting older adults to their communities. After a competitive grants process, nineteen (19) providers which included senior centers, governmental entities, and other nonprofits throughout the state, were awarded one-time grants funding based on their ability to achieve these outcomes and reach underserved seniors regardless of geography, income, or ability. As a result, 70% of recipient organizations offered creative programming to impact these outcomes and over 7,000 seniors were reached with many living in rural areas with little to no resources. Last, the three (3) state agency partnership expanded to form a new state initiative, Music & Memory Tennessee, which resulted in $1M being awarded from Civil Monetary Penalty funds, to provide a national model of music programming to seniors in Tennessee nursing homes over the next 3 years.
Creativity Live Here
Have you ever wanted to make a great video explaining your work to future and current supporters but didn’t have the money or know how? Have you wondered how to get great content for your social media channels? We’ve got you covered! We’ve developed a brand new free iPhone app and are running a new campaign CREATIVITY LIVES HERE to collect stories from across the country about how arts and culture can be used to tackle challenges in your communities. Make your own short video on our easy-to-use, free DIYdoc app on your phone about how you are using arts and culture to address challenges in your community. Your video will be added to the growing collection of other stories around the country to form an incredible tapestry that begins to tell the story and stories of creative placemaking. CREATIVITY LIVES HERE is a collection of (grassroots and homegrown) stories of creative placemakers across the country. Powered by DIYDoc, a do-it-yourself film-making tool, stories are shared in 1.5 minute self-recorded films to feature the places, faces, and stories of creative placemaking that are often untold.
Expressions of Clinician Well-Being
Expressions of Clinician Well-Being collects insights directly from clinicians, patients, loved ones, and organizations working to prevent burnout and promote well-being. By allowing people to creatively express their experiences with burnout, this gallery captures critical moments in the journey to well-being. We hope this art will offer an entry point for conversations that can be difficult to have and shed light on the joys and challenges experienced by so many. We hope that the stories captured through this art will allow you to more fully understand why clinician well-being is so essential to the vitality of our health system. Clinician well-being is essential for everyone. It’s time to take care of those who take care of us.
Illness Revelations and the Bodies of History+Medicine+Us
ILLNESS REVELATIONS and the Bodies of History+Medicine+Us is a socially-engaged project that investigates the 'eugenics impulse' in each of us, and the nature of care, oppression, illness and healing. Eugenics was a popular movement in America in the 20th century that believed that some people are not worthy of life and reproduction. Eugenics laws of forced sterilization and institutionalization of people who were deemed to be 'feebleminded' existed in 26 states across the country, some lasting until the 1970's. Though eugenics as a movement has been discredited and disavowed, the 'eugenics impulse' in our thought and culture lives on, with such cases as doctors choosing to not resuscitate patients who live with Down Syndrome and learning disabilities (Link: The bodies of people of color, people with illness, disabilities, women, and immigrants are those who most prominently carry the marks of the eugenics impulse. The practice of medicine and public health laws play a significant role in deciding who lives, and who does not. How can we all exist in the same collective space together when this history of power and violation continues to be enacted? This space is the ground for the 'Chronic Commons' community that is integral to the project. For the chronic structures of power, whiteness, illness, and race to attempt to speak and listen to one another. ILLNESS REVELATIONS is the major new work by interdisciplinary performing artist, patient activist and medical humanities scholar Marina Tsaplina. The first phase of the project was supported by the Health Humanities Lab, Theater Studies and DukeArts at Duke University in the spring of 2019. A 5-week residency culminated in a premier at the Disability in the Disciplines Conference on April 25. (Link: Through community workshops, theater performance, and Our Tree of Life roving installation, ILLNESS REVELATIONS is an attempt to engage the 'Chronic Commons' community in a collective imagining and conversation around care, oppression, disability, racism, the practice of medicine, and healing.
Medical Film Series
Through the Eyes of Hollywood: Healthcare in Cinema was a multi-part film series featuring depictions of healthcare-related topics. The theme was "Through the Hollywood Looking Glass: PTSD and Beyond." All film screenings were free and open to the public. Presented by the UW–Madison Arts Institute with support of the UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and the UW–Madison School of Nursing.
Visualize Health Equity
The National Academy of Medicine (NAM), a nonprofit research organization in Washington, DC, called on artists of all kinds to illustrate what health equity looks, sounds, and feels like to them. By sharing insights directly from people in diverse communities around the United States, the goal of this community art project is to get more people thinking and talking about health equity and the social determinants of health. It is our hope that through a creative lens, we can better understand what people across the country see as the most important health challenges and opportunities facing their communities.
2013 - ARTS AND HEALING: MIND, BODY AND COMMUNITY2013-09-21Americans for the Arts
Aesthetic Perspectives: Attributes of Excellence in Arts for Change2017-05-01Animating Democracy
Approaching Community Health Through Heritage and Culture in Boyle Heights, California2017-08-01Alliance for California Traditional Arts
Art & Well-Being: Toward A Culture of Health2018-05-01U.S. Dept. of Arts and Culture
Art is a lifeline for this Appalachian community hit hard by opioids2018-12-28PBS
Arts & Culture Program: The First Decade2018-01-31The Kresge Foundation
Arts and the Opioid Epidemic2019-03-31National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
Arts, Health and Well-Being across the Military Continuum2013-10-31Americans for the Arts
ARTS, HEALTH, AND WELL-BEING IN AMERICA2017-09-30National Organization for Arts in Health
Beyond the Building: Performing Arts and Transforming Place2014-11-30National Endowment for the Arts
BUILDING ARTS AND COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP2007-06-01Virginia Tech Dept of Theater Arts
Creative Assets Inventory Guide2015-05-01Kentucky Arts Council
Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing2017-07-31All-Party Parliamentary Group
Creative Placemaking2010-12-31National Endowment for the Arts
Cultural Community Benefits Principles Toolkit2018-01-01Arts in a Changing America
Intersectoral action between the arts, health and well-being2019-09-01WHO Europe
Mind, Body, Spirit: How museums impact health and wellbeing2014-06-30Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG)
PUBLIC HEALTH PERFORMANCE STRENGTHENING AT DISTRICTS Rationale and Blueprint for Action2016-11-30Bellagio District Public Health Workshop Participants
The Culture White Paper2016-03-31Department for Culture, Media & Sport
The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education2018-05-07National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
THE SUMMIT ON CREATIVITY AND AGING IN AMERICA2016-01-31National Endowment for the Arts
Weaving Traditional Arts Into the Fabric of Community Health2011-10-01Alliance for California Traditional Arts
What Business Gets Wrong About Health2019-07-10ArtPlace America
What Does Health Equity Have To Do With Art?2017-12-19ArtPlace America
Why Cultural Wellbeing Matters for Employees & Companies2019-08-13ArtPlace America

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