Americans for the Arts is the leading not-for-profit organization committed to advancing the arts in America. It looks to develop local environments for the arts to thrive, advocate for increased resources for the arts and arts education across America, and foster individual understanding and appreciation for the arts. Some of the many papers on arts in health to emerge from this organization include fact pages on Why healthcare institutions invest in the arts (2008), summaries from conferences such as the Mini-Conference on Creativity and Aging in America held in May 2005, and monographs featuring in-depth issue papers on aspects of arts in health such as arts in hospitals (produced 19932010). These are available on the website www.americansforthearts.org.
In 2013, a policy roundtable in Utah led to the report Arts and Healing: Body, Mind and Community. This report proposed that the arts could play an important role in rehabilitation for people who had experienced mental and physical traumas.(19) It covered topics such as how the arts can aid pre-deployment of military personnel, arts for preventative care in parallel with the National Prevention Strategy of 2011, and arts for collective community identities. It made recommendations to the Department of Veterans Affairs, proposed partnerships with the Global Healthcare Alliance, and discussed opportunities for working with digital arts leaders such as Google and Yahoo.
In the same year, the 2013 white paper Arts, Health and Wellbeing across the Military Continuum framed a national plan for action, summarizing research into the arts and the military, overviewing practice in the USA and current policy initiatives, before making specific recommendations for future policy. (20) These recommendations emerged from the Arts and Health in the Military National Roundtable in November 2012 and the National Summit: Arts, Health and Wellbeing Across the Military Continuum.
Americans for the Arts has also established the New Community Visions Initiative; part of a 3-year suite launched in 2015 of large-scale initiatives called Transforming America’s Communities Through the Arts which aims to general dialogue at a state and national level around the creation of healthy communities as well as encouraging arts programming and partnerships, all under the banner of improving healthy living over time. The programme brings together arts councils, arts boards, and city offices across the USA, and the emerging publications cover topics such as artists and communities and arts, health, and wellness.
Americans for the Arts is also being supported by other bodies working at a state level. For example, the South Dakota Arts Council along with Sanford Health and the University of South Dakota are working to develop arts in health programmes for rural settings in South Dakota. The State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs is working with partners in the Kresge Foundation, the Florida Office of Rural Health, and the University of Florida’s Arts in Medicine Programme to develop the Arts in HealthCare in Rural Communities project.
Further information and downloadable publications are available from the website www.americansforthearts.org.