Arts Council of Wales
Arts Council of Wales is the country’s official funding and development organization for the arts. Its principal sponsor is the Welsh Government. It funds, supports, and promotes the role of the arts in people’s lives across Wales. Like Arts Council England, over the past decade, Arts Council of Wales has produced a series of publications highlighting the important role of the arts in health. For example, in 2005, Arts Council of Wales published a Review of Arts and Health Activities in Wales, which provided a snapshot of activity undertaken across 2004-2005. This highlighted a considerable body of work but showed that there was no coordinated approach. Consequently, the report made seven recommendations for developing the field further, including suggesting an All Wales strategic commitment to arts in health.(16)
Following this initial review, Arts in Health and Well-being: an Action Plan for Wales published in 2009 was part of a collaborative action between the Welsh Assembly Government and Arts Council of Wales to benefit and enhance the health and creativity of the population of Wales through the arts.(17) The document overviewed action in public health, healthcare settings, community programmes, arts therapies, and arts in humanities and healthcare. It aimed to raise the profile of the arts in health, support the development of initiatives, encourage strategic partnerships to enhance health and wellbeing, and provide a foundation for future development of the field in Wales.
In April 2014, Arts Council of Wales produced a publication in partnership with Wellbeing Wales, an organization that is challenging inequality in Wales by using wellbeing as a means to focus action and measure progress. Wellbeing Assessment of Arts Council of Wales funded events, presenters, and venues explored the impact of arts events organized by Arts Council of Wales on the wellbeing of people who attended.(18) It drew on UK wellbeing policy, identifying ways that the arts had supported economic and material wellbeing, community and society wellbeing, environmental wellbeing, and physical and psychological wellbeing. It was accompanied by Wellbeing case studies of Arts Council of Wales venues and exhibitions to give practical demonstrations of the work: www.arts.wales/c_research/wellbeing-case-studies.
In July 2016, the Draft Strategic Equality Action Plan 2016-2021 was produced as a way of engaging and informing the arts sector on diversity and equalities. One of the specific targets was to ensure that participatory arts programmes and events are consistently accessible and relevant to all. One of the key objectives from 2016 onwards is to develop a major strategy for arts in health in Wales, with a particular focus on arts and mental health. More information about the consultation is available at www.arts.wales.