Arts Engagement and Wellbeing
The time has come to recognize the powerful contribution the arts can make to our health and well being! Making and experiencing arts and culture transforms quality of life for individuals and communities.
The Canadian Arts Presenting Association (CAPACOA) commissioned a report entitled the Value of Presenting: A study of Performing Arts Presentation in Canada. In the report, the benefits of performing arts presentation are outlined as they relate to individuals, community, and society. Findings are similar to those included in this overview by the Arts Health Network Canada:
- Participation in the arts correlates with greater longevity and positive perceptions of one’s health;
- Engaging in arts programs enables seniors to live independently longer, and reduces use of doctors, medications, and medical facilities while enhancing quality of life;
- Arts empower youth, especially youth-at-risk, to succeed in school and develop skills and relationships that contribute to success in later life (Health Canada finds that health status improves with level of education)
- Arts and Creative Arts Therapies provide avenues for healing for those who have suffered from trauma – war, other violence, neglect, accidents, natural disasters such as fires and hurricanes;
- Arts facilities, centres and programs are used in the UK and in the US to regenerate economically and socially depressed neighbourhoods;
- Arts activities provide vehicles to explore solutions to pressing social issues—addiction, drinking and driving, street racing, bullying, domestic violence, etc.
The Value of Presenting report also cites the Arts and Individual Well-Being in Canada by Hill Strategies, another go-to source to discover the full impact that arts and culture have on our health. Both reports support the findings of the Invest to Save report, i.e., arts improve our health and well-being.
- Creative activity undertaken outside of work can hasten recover from work strain and enhance work-related performance
- Cultural engagement and arts therapy can improve wellbeing in healthcare staff
- Arts Engagement can enhance wellbeing in adults recovering from illness or injury, including stroke, and living with long-term conditions, such as cancer respiratory disease and Parkinson’s disease
- There is ample evidence that the arts help to overcome mental health problems
- Arts-on-prescription programmes can give rise to significant reductions in anxiety, depression and stress
- There is evidence that arts engagement should be thoughts of as an integral part of healthy ageing.
- Arts engagement can boost brain function and improve the recall of personal memories
Hill Strategies Research: https:
Vitality and Impact of Arts Presenting
England Arts Council: Arts, Culture and Well-Being
England: All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health & Wellbeing
How Healthcare in Wales is Embracing the Arts