How art can heal

During his meeting with members of the Create the Vote Coalition, gubernatorial candidate Don Berwick called our attention to a fascinating book: 2009’s “Transforming the Healthcare Experience Through the Arts.” Berwick wrote the Forward for the book, which was authored by hospital executive Blair Sadler and Annette Ridenour, an artist/designer who work for a healthcare arts consulting firm.

The book documents the ample evidence showing the many health benefits of exposure to the arts for patients―and their family caregivers―of all ages, in both clinical and outpatient settings. In increasing numbers, art and music therapists―along with other working artists―are becoming integral players in the delivery of quality holistic healthcare across the country. The movement is becoming so integrated into the arts, for example, that when Berklee School of Music announced last month that it will begin offering graduate degrees at its flagship campus in Boston, one of the two new programs set to launch in the fall of 2015 is a Master of Arts in Music Therapy. As the announcement describes it, the music therapy program aims to provide “advanced instruction for practicing music therapists as it pertains to the burgeoning holistic approach to treating patients.”

“Transforming the Healthcare Experience Through the Arts” cites more than 14 studies showing how the arts can produce positive outcomes in healthcare. Patients on a trauma and orthopedic ward experienced shorter stays and required significantly less pain medication after being exposed to visual art and live music. Patients with Parkinson’s disease who participated in 20 sessions of tango dance classes showed significant improvements in balance and mobility compared with peers who performed conventional exercise. Adult cancer patients who took part in art therapy sessions reported significant decreases in a host of symptoms common to their condition: pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, drowsiness, lack of appetite, and breathlessness. 

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 Create the Vote Gubernatorial Candidates Forum
on Arts, Culture, and Creativity

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ArtsBoston Report Shows That Arts Matter to Greater Boston region

Today, ArtsBoston released a new report titled “The Arts Factor 2014 Report” which quantifies the impact of arts, culture, and creativity on the Greater Boston region.(Click here for a lot of cool graphics such as how much money the sector pumps into the economy and how many people attend arts events annually.)

Using information from the Massachusetts Cultural Data Project, which collects longitudinal data about the arts and cultural sector, ArtsBoston found that arts and cultural organizations in the Greater Boston region support 26,000 jobs and account for $1 billion of economic activity. More than 18 million people attend arts events annually, which is more than four times the total combined attendance for the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, and Boston Celtics.

As lawmakers in the House and Senate currently finalize next year’s budget, we urge them to look at this report. Twenty-five years ago, the state invested $27 million in the creative community; 10 years ago that investment was $19 million. Today, it stands at $11.1 million. We are urging lawmakers to allocate $12 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council.”

Click here for Boston Globe coverage of the report. 

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Candidates talk arts and culture in the governor's race!

The race to elect the next governor of Massachusetts is picking up steam, and so is the Create the Vote campaign. The Create the Vote coalition has kicked off its work across the Commonwealth, bringing together local leaders to discuss elevating arts and culture in the gubernatorial election. There’s still time to get involved at one of 10 regional meetings!

As we begin engaging the candidates on arts and cultural issues, we started off by sending them each an in-depth questionnaire. This week, the responses started rolling in. Candidates Don Berwick, Martha Coakley, Evan Falchuk, Steve Grossman, and Juliette Kayyem have already sent us their answers, with more candidates’ responses soon to follow.  

The candidates’ answers address the relevant issues in the creative community and reach across disciplines: from arts education to the creative economy. As well as supporting arts education in the classroom, candidates Berwick, Coakley, Falchuk and Grossman all stress the importance of transforming STEM into STEAM. In the creative economy, all five candidates would also agree that the next governor’s administration should work to promote public-private partnerships to spur investment in arts and culture. 

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Create the Vote 2014 goes statewide!

Over the next eight months, the race to elect a new governor of Massachusetts will provide candidates and voters the opportunity to discuss the strengths and challenges of the Commonwealth and debate our vision to strengthen the economy, improve our schools, and make our communities healthier and safer. It’s an exciting and important time.

MASSCreative and the Create the Vote coalition will work with the statewide creative community to make sure that arts, culture, and creativity are an integral part of this important discussion. The Arts Matter in the Commonwealth, so they should matter in this election.

Massachusetts is home to world-class museums and small community-based organizations that make the state a great place to visit, work, play, and raise our families. The arts drive our economy, educate our kids—and us, and make our neighborhoods more lively and welcoming places to live.

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