“There is no recovery without creativity.”
This slogan is prominently displayed on a website hosted by Americans for the Arts, an organization that advocates for the use of the arts in both health and economic recovery efforts. The organization is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and networks with multiple agencies.
Robert Redford is quoted on the group’s website as saying, “The country is so wounded, hurt and bleeding right now… Art is the healing force.”
The arts are needed for healing purposes now more than ever before because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the pandemic has taken its toll on the arts community, shutting down venues as well as putting creative people out of work. To make sure the arts are rebuilt to meet demands, the advocacy group is keeping track of funds designated for the arts by the American Rescue Plan.
Ways in which the arts are beneficial for health include enhancing coping skills and reducing physical pain, depression and anxiety. Pain medication can be reduced along with hospital stays and health care costs, according to Americans for the Arts’ website.
The arts benefit economic development as well. “Americans for the Arts has important information at the ready on the economic impact of the arts, the social impact of the arts and the need to put creative workers to work,” the website states.
Americans for the Arts has produced several publications detailing how the arts contribute to solving community problems. One publication, Arts and America: Arts, Culture and the Future of American Communities, comprises 10 essays detailing how the arts can address societal issues.
In the publication’s introduction, Robert Lynch tells of art programs in hospitals, music played for the homeless and visual art programs for military personnel returning home. The introduction can be found in an excerpt featuring an essay, “Arts, Health and Wellness,” by Judy Rollins, April 30, 2015.
“In multiple places in every state, I have witnessed first hand the magic and majesty of the arts themselves and also their transformative power in helping to tackle social and community issues,” Lynch states (p. 2).
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