Arts Spotlight: Arts, Health and Healing

Nearly half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programs for patients, families, and staff.  80 percent provide these programs because they benefit patients and create a healing environment. At ArtsFund’s 2015 Celebration of the Arts Luncheon, keynote address by Vijay Gupta will focus on the redemptive and regenerative power of music.   Building off the themes of the luncheon keynote, we spotlight three ArtsFund grantees putting the healing powers of the arts to work in our community.   Whether serving individuals and caregivers living with Parkinson’s Disease or dementia, or injured members of our military forces, these programs at the Museum of Glass, Seattle Theatre Group, and the Frye Art Museum employ creative strategies which promote healing and change lives.


Museum of Glass, Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire

The Museum of Glass’ “Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire” program, a partnership with the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, serves soldiers with complex physical and mental injuries.  This program, launched in 2013, has recently expanded to serve all active-duty soldiers and veterans. Hot Shop Heroes offers glassblowing and flame-working classes to soldiers and is a core education program at MOG. Evaluation has shown that the program has been particularly effective for participants with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  For many participants, the benefits are physical, emotional and spiritual.

“This class awakened a previously hidden joy in creating things by hand. I was able to actually feel something other than numb. ” — Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire pilot course participant

Click here to watch a video and learn more.


Seattle Theatre Group, Dance for Parkinson’s Program

Seattle Theatre Group – partners with Spectrum Dance Theater to offer the Mark Morris Dance Group developed Dance for PD® method to provide dance instruction for Parkinson’s disease survivors and their caregivers.  Clinical trials have demonstrated clear evidence of the positive effect of this program in relieving symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.  Each eight-week series of classes uses dance, live music and community to develop artistry and grace while addressing such PD-specific concerns as balance, flexibility, coordination, isolation and gait.

“Dance for PD is the highlight of my week. I understand the challenges for PD sufferers to overcome symptoms of the disease and simply show up for class. My fellow classmates are my heroes and heroines, and being in their company inspires me. The fabulous dancer/instructors lead us on a journey of music and movement that lifts us into a bright and happy place. I leave class energized and optimistic.”  — Dance for Parkinson’s Program Participant

Classes are offered in Seattle, Kirkland, Des Moines and Issaquah, Washington. Click here for more information.

Click here for an STGtv feature video.


The Frye Art Museum, Here:now

Here:now is the Frye Art Museum’s free arts-engagement program for adults living with young-onset or early to mid-stage dementia and their care partners to enjoy works of art and art-making in a supportive setting. Gallery discussion tours offered twice a month are led by specially trained museum educators who encourage an exchange of ideas without relying on short-term memory or recall of art historical information. Art-making classes offer a tour and a creative activity session in the Frye art studio. Each class, led by a museum educator and teaching artist, concludes with social time.

I felt lighter. I felt happier. You know, with my position, which is sometimes kind ‘o down,” commented a participant living with dementia.  And a care partner noted, “This is a kind of respite for both of us together…that allows us not to think about what we are dealing with, but focus on something that is pretty pleasant.”

The Museum is also addressing wider community needs through research, training, and open exchange of information on art, creativity, and dementia. On November 5, the Frye will present a one-day conference featuring lectures and training by national experts on enhancing the wellbeing of individuals living with dementia through creative strategies.

Click here to watch a video exploring the Here:now program.

Click here for more on the Frye Art Museum’s Creative Aging Program.


ArtsFund is proud to support these organizations, and many more throughout our region, putting the healing powers of the arts to work.

Click here for a complete list of ArtsFund grantees.