Issue #6 | Spring/Summer 2006

Art Heals

Google “healing arts” and you will find over 20 million available sites. The concept not only includes such physical practices as massage and reiki therapies, but the traditional arts, including music, poetry, and visual arts and their particular health benefits.

Most artists recognize that at some level, their work feeds their well-being. But slowly, we are beginning to tap into its effect on its viewers or participants. Everyone has a story about hearing a song, seeing a painting or happening upon a particularly attractive house or window display and its immediate pleasurable effect. What is happening as part of our growing desire for a sense of peace and well-being, is that we are identifying the significant role the arts plays in that goal.

There will always be naysayers who see art as unimportant. It is the nature of the arts to gently cajole and comfort, to peek out from a wall, or to waft musically down the street. Their soothing and healing qualities are not always immediately recognized and will only become so with direct and conscious support by practitioners and institutions seeking to restore not only physical, but mental and spiritual health among workers and visiting clients. This issue looks at two ways in which the arts are being introduced with a purpose to restore and rejuvenate a spirit of hope and happiness. These insights into the healing side of art may foster a widely supported effort at reintroducing it into our lives, our education, and our culture.

Jody Farrell

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