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Arts In Healing

Art in the healing environment is not a new practice, however, the way VA is currently focusing on the influences art has on medical outcomes is. Recently, the Veterans Health Administration, VA NY/NJ Veterans Healthcare Network (VISN 3), the Americans for the Arts, Johnson & Johnson and the National Center for Creative Aging joined together and held a national Arts in Healing Symposium. The purpose of this symposium was to expand and collaborate with community partners to foster Arts in Healing. Arts in Healing is not limited to just visual arts like painting, drawing and photography. Healing arts also include music, writing, and other forms of self expression. Watch this brief video to discover one Veteran's story about how art has made a positive impact on his life.

While arts in health care can be expeienced through both structured and non-structured settings between therapists and patients, art in the health care environment can also be discoverered in the way buildings and patient rooms are designed. The San Franscisco VA Medical Center has developed a new program, Community Integration Through Creativity, that have advanced Veterans’ skills in theater, digital media, music, visual arts and dance with the help of established professional artist/contractors in the community.

a veteran working on a piece of artAnd to provide more background for the San Franscisco VAMC program, each year, VA holds a National Veterans Ceative Art Festival. This program fosters art therapy programs at all VA facilities throughout the country and allows for the skill development and healing for all participating Veteran artists. Learn more about the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival or browse the photo gallery.

VA is not unique in it's desire to increase the amount, and type, of art in the healing environment. The non-government organization, The Americans For the Arts, recently published a report titled, The Arts: A Promising Solution to Meeting the Challenges of Today’s Military—A Summary Report and Blueprint for Action.

The report was produced with the intent to stimulate more conversation about arts in healing and provide a framework to further develop the art as an option for integrative health services for the men, women, and their families in VA and other military hospitals around the country.