Presenting Arts for the Health of It

September 30, 2013 - This week is Community Health and Wellbeing Week. Why should the arts sector care? Because, whether we want it or not, we play a major role in people's health and well-being.

According to the World Health Organization, "health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

Dance Marathon, by bluemouth inc. Presented at World Stage 2012, Harbourfront Centre. Photographer: Gordon HawkinsResearch on arts and health has grown exponentially over the last 20 years and made a compelling case about the arts and their role in physical and mental well-being. We now have strong evidence that people who attend arts activities are more likely to report very good physical health and mental health, even accounting for other factors. They also have lower anxiety and are less subject to depression.

Research on the benefits of the arts demonstrated that they also participate directly in social well-being. Attending performing arts activities contributes to both social bonding and social bridging.

In recent years, CAPACOA has been interpreting its mission from the perspective of the ultimate outcome of the performing arts in the lives of all Canadians, which is to contribute to their complete well-being – very much in the sense of the WHO definition of health. This has reflected in our activities:

  • we have been advocating for well-being through the arts in our pre-budget briefs;
  • we conducted the Value of Presenting study, which explored the the value and benefits of performing arts presentation in all aspects of Canadians' lives – including their health; and,
  • we raised awareness of the impact of the arts on health in several web articles (see list below).


Most recently, CAPACOA has been reaching out to like-minded partners inside and outside the arts sector:


We see these activities as the natural continuation and expansion of the dialogue on the value of performing arts presentation.

It's about joining force with others in building a smart and caring nation, as Governor General David Johnston put it. It's about working together with other leaders who, like us, want to put well-being – through arts and through public health – at the top of the public policy agenda.

 

 

Previous and Related News Articles

Music and Education: A Recipe for Success, September 25, 2013

Performing Arts Attendance and its Positive Association with Health, September 20, 2013

Attending Concerts and Theatre Increases Vitality, September 6, 2012

How Are Canadians Really Doing?, December 6, 2011

Performing Arts Attendees are Healthier, November 10, 2011