Arts & Health
Arts & Health refers mainly to arts activities that take place within the healthcare environment, providing new access and participation opportunities for artists, patients, health service staff and visitors.
Any involvement in the arts has a positive effect on health. For example, the ‘Dreams’ project at the Mater Hospital has shown that contact with the arts whilst in hospital can make people more relaxed, relieve stress and worries, and relieve pain and symptoms.
Taking an holistic view, the wellbeing of individuals and groups in society is enhanced by being connected to the arts – any kind of arts at any kind of quality level.
The Arts Council supports projects where artists work towards creative outcomes, alongside art therapists, play workers and medical staff. We do not fund art therapy – in the same way that we do not fund, for example, art teachers.
Arts & Health in Northern Ireland has been developing since 1989, with the Royal Hospitals in Belfast being amongst the pioneers.
One of the lead organisations is ArtsCare, which currently has 20 artists in residence and seven Clown Doctors working in health venues throughout Northern Ireland.