Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Arts and Healing: It’s real, we all recognize it, so now what?

Below is an article from NBC.com regarding the effect visual art has on the healing process in hospitals. To someone not involved in the Arts, this finding may come as something of a surprise. The general perception of the experience of Art is that it’s pleasurable, yes, entertaining, perhaps, but providing a tangible benefit to our lives? Maybe not so much. For artists, this is the most obvious thing in the world – of course the Arts are necessary and fundamental to the human spirit. The ‘discovery’ of quantitative physiological benefits lends further credence to an idea we’ve probably all intrinsically held most of our lives.

The question is, of course: what now? Now that we’ve found incontrovertible proof that the Arts (at least the visual Arts) help in the healing process, what is to be done? Should research be developed to test how theater, music, and dance affect healing? What about the experience of making art? Does that have quantitative benefits to the human body? And on top of all of this, even if we know now the importance of Arts in the healing space, how in the world do we the raise the money to make this a priority?

To me, the issue of Arts and Healing is particularly pertinent when applied to veteran’s care. I’ve seen the effects a good piece of theater can have on a group of Iraq vets – it is real, and tangible, and vital. Can it be measured? Should it be? It heartens me to know that the health care community is starting to address these questions and take the matter seriously. However, as this article points out, we have a long way to go yet.

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/healing-power-art-can-hospital-collections-help-n208966

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3 comments on “Arts and Healing: It’s real, we all recognize it, so now what?

  1. hshambroom
    September 23, 2014

    I think it’s really great that hospitals are looking into this. As the article points out, even if the art’s only effect is getting patients out of their rooms and engaging with something other than their ailments, it will have succeeded in having a positive impact, but that being said I do think its effect could be deeper given the right choice of pieces. I also think, however, that the issue of cost and budget is totally valid. But this is where I think a partnership between arts organizations and other non arts institutions could be incredibly valuable. Wouldn’t it be great if museums could have a lending partnership with a hospital? Or if local artists could donate a few pieces in exchange for exposure and the well being of patients?

  2. dianalfreeberg
    September 24, 2014

    What an amazing thing. I’m a firm believer in the healing power of the arts, and believe that efforts should be made to explore this further. Playback theatre is one of my favorite methods and it is frequently used with veterans. I’m excited to see where this can go!

  3. gaochang619
    September 26, 2014

    It would be an exciting campaign if we could step on the long way to reach a goal of prevalent and mature arts healing system. When I was searching for nonprofit organizations for our final analysis I encountered an organization called Smith Center for Healing and the Arts (http://www.smithcenter.org/) and I explored its official website and some background on the Internet. In their arts and healing programs, the arts contribute to healing, especially in psychological area, in many ways such as stress reduction and providing an outlet for self-expression. Since 1996, Smith Center has been incorporating the arts and creativity into the process of healing and therefore it set a significant example in the long run of arts and healing.

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