EXPLORING THE IMPACT OF ART ON COMMUNITY WELLNESS
Dublin Arts Council is embarking on the new initiative of Art & Wellness to deeply explore how the nature of art can nurture personal and community well-being.
Through 2021, Dublin Arts Council aims to activate dialogue and spark arts engagement around the topic of wellness through community events and an exhibition.
The Art & Wellness Discovery Series of three free community events. Two took place in the fall of 2019, and the third will take place in June of 2020. Each event will offer a range of arts experiences inspired by the Dublin’s public art collection and will allow for creative exploration that stimulates social, mental, emotional and physical well-being.
Initial collaborators, who will help shape the experiences, include Washington Township Fire & Emergency Medical Services, Syntero Counseling Centers, Dublin City Schools and several City of Dublin departments, including Police, Human Resources and Recreation Services. The project is being realized with the support of grants from City of Dublin’s hotel/motel tax, Ohio Arts Council and Cardinal Health Foundation.
Artists and collaborators will be invited to interpret and respond to the program, contributing to a 2021 Dublin Arts Council gallery exhibition focused on the art and wellness theme. The gallery will be activated with interactive offerings for all ages.
WHY ART & WELLNESS
Toward the end of 2018, Canada led the world with the announcement of a new initiative – allowing doctors to prescribe art for its significant and positive effects on depression, anxiety, mood, trauma, distress, coping ability and self-esteem. The integrated approach has been encouraged as a pilot project for people with mental health issues, eating disorders, autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease, just to name a few.
Soon thereafter, the British Health Secretary announced that the country’s doctors would be enabled to prescribe therapeutic art- or hobby-based treatments for ailments ranging from dementia to psychosis, lung conditions and mental health issues. The strategy is described by the U.K. government as “social prescribing,” and results in patients enrolled in dance classes and singing lessons, or enjoying a personalized music playlist.
In the U.S., stress has steadily increased over the past several decades, contributing to both physical and mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, obesity, drug abuse and workaholism. Additionally, technological advances are leaving individuals disconnected and distracted. According to the National Institute for Health Care Management, American society is suffering from what has been referred to as a “loneliness epidemic” with nearly half of Americans feeling sometimes or always alone or left out. Though “social prescribing” has yet to be widely utilized in the U.S., Americans are beginning to look for new avenues beyond medication and the gym to promote wellbeing.
ART FOR PERSONAL AND COMMUNITY WELLBEING
Dublin Arts Council recognizes the value of the arts as a vehicle for personal and communal wellbeing. The Art & Wellness initiative offers the community an invitation to participate in creative activities and to join this international conversation.
Research supports that the arts provide opportunities to connect with oneself and others in ways that positively impact mental, emotional and social wellbeing.
Participation in creative activities:
- Reduces stress and boredom
- Alleviates loneliness, depression and other mental health issues
- Builds resilience and social functioning
- Creates sense of community and belonging
- Allows for play, creative expression and identity formation
- Increases memory and cognitive function
- Improves communication and behavioral skills
- Builds confidence, agency and self-worth
Header image: Kuteki (“Droplets”)「왕두」by Ikuzo Fujiwara, Ceramic, 2002