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Celebrating Arts + Health Month

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From Ashley Atkins, Ph.D., Art Administrator, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson

November marked the first annual Arts + Health Month, promoted by the Society for the Arts in Healthcare.  The Society designated November as a time “for organizations and individuals worldwide to promote the integration of the arts—including literary, performing, and visual arts and design—into a wide variety of healthcare and community settings for therapeutic, educational, and expressive purposes." A quick glance through the calendar of events shows an impressive number of conferences, exhibitions, performances, and other events that occurred throughout the world, all of which promoted the positive impact that the arts can have on health and wellness. 

For me, the month provided an opportunity to think about the impact that our Company’s partnership with the Society has been able to achieve in the past 10 years.  Since 2001, Johnson & Johnson and the Society have provided funds to 117 programs through the United States and Canada, all of which have used the arts to create positive impacts on patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals by incorporating the arts and design into the healthcare setting and environment.  It has been inspiring to see these programs and the field of arts and healthcare grow from creating innovative art displays and healing gardens in hospital environments to programs like Snow City Arts, which provides hospitalized children the opportunity to earn school credit through arts programs. 

I also had the privilege this month of visiting two organizations that have been the recipients of our partnership grant. The staff of New-Jersey-based Music for All Seasons  told us of their work in domestic violence shelters which has proven that music builds community and increases quality of life for children in these often vulnerable situations.  At the Mark Morris Dance Group, I participated in a dance class for people with Parkinson’s disease.  The Dance for PD® class, which uses dance and movement exercises, often based on Mark Morris’s choreography, was invigorating to take and inspiring to watch. 

Seeing these programs in action drove home for me the importance that art can have in our lives and to our wellbeing.  For more information on arts + health, visit the Society’s website at

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