Art, Health, and Well-Being in America


Publication Year:

Media Type: Report


National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH) is proud to present the online edition of the white paper, Arts, Health, and Well-Being in America, which was unveiled in a print version at the inaugural Arts in Health conference for the organization in September 2017.


In communities large and small, the arts are used daily to reduce the experience of pain, help patients express needs and emotions, and create a welcoming and uplifting environment – a path to joy for those who may feel disheartened. Such moments are made possible by a diverse group of professions providing an ever-expanding array of initiatives that engage the arts, humanities, and design in the service of health and well-being. This paper introduces these inspiring areas of practice and lays a foundation to connect, unify, and elevate the full arena of the arts, health, and well-being in America.

It is well known that engaging in creative experiences is vital to human health and well-being, to bridging the life experi-ences that divide people and society, and to helping people understand the human condition (Clift & Camic, 2016; Hanna, Rollins, & Lewis, 2017; Lambert, 2016; State of the Field Com-mittee, 2009). Throughout the United States, the arts – mu-sic, dance, theatre, literature, visual art, architecture, interior design and more – are being used to enhance healthcare, promote public health, and support community well-being.

Examples of the arts serving healthcare can be found throughout America’s communities, in hospital art exhib-its, music therapy treatment for respiratory disorders, land-scaped courtyards, assisted living facilities, and dance com-pany workshops for people living with Parkinson’s disease, to name but these.

Those engaged in this arena include both creative and expressive arts therapists, professional artists, ar-chitects, interior designers, arts administrators, health-care arts consultants, as well as medical professionals using the arts as a complementary tool to facilitate pa-tient well-being. In addition, many instructors use the arts and humanities in educating health science professionals.

This paper shows that, when coordinated to align with desired outcomes, arts interventions used singly or in combination improve clinical, experiential, and holistic outcomes. It illustrates how the arts are being used to enhance the healing environments and patient experience, provide essential clinical-care services, support caregiver wellness, and spearhead public health. [Executive Summary]

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Pages: 52

Resources: Document


Name: National Organization for Arts in Health

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