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Arts for Health and Wellbeing

Evidence for the benefits of arts and health can be found in many genuine studies and published reports. We know for sure now that the arts have an important role to play in treating and preventing illness as well as promoting and maintaining health and wellbeing.

Kickstart Arts have been producing arts projects in and with communities for over 20+ years and have repeatedly witnessed firsthand the profound transformation that is possible when this work is done well. People report feeling more sure of themselves, more connected to their communities, more likely to try new things, to reach out and make friends, and generally more inspired by life.

We testify to the fact that it works. And often in cases where everything else has failed – it works.

Happiness Project, Cygnet; Photo: Karen Brown

Our projects facilitate telling personal stories. Through this process we may consider ourselves and our experiences in a new light. This re-framing process can unlock new ways of understanding ourselves and support us to create new personal narratives that lead to better mental health.

Sharing our stories transforms the way we feel about ourselves and the way others perceive us. It can lead us to be more optimistic, to not feel alone and to feel that we belong to something that is bigger than ourselves. This process is nurturing and healing. And, unlike anti-depressants, it does not have unwanted side effects!

At the Creative Living P(Ark) through our Kickstart Arts projects, we provide the example of what is possible, teach methodologies to make new things happen, and facilitate a community of friends to do it with. And we bring genuine audiences to witness and share the work and sometimes they also provide feedback, which is invaluable part of the process.

“There is growing international acceptance of the notion that participation in the creative arts can be beneficial for well-being and health. For over 30 years practical arts for health projects have been developed to support health care and promote health and well-being in communities. An increasing body of evaluation and research evidence lends weight to the value of such initiatives.” ( Clift, 2012)

The most extensive evidence has been found in groups addressing mental health issues, where significant improvements in empowerment, mental health and social inclusion have been found.

Large-scale epidemiological studies in both the USA and Scandinavia have found attendance at cultural events, exhibitions and performance is strongly linked with increased wellbeing and decreased morbidity and mortality (Clift, 2012).

Our work is all about making a myriad of ways for Tasmanians to experience the creativity and joy that comes from the arts by producing high-quality arts experiences that enrich and inspire, ensuring the diversity of our communities is represented and our activities are affordable and accessible.

Happiness Project, Cygnet; Photo: Gai Anderson

Our projects provide pathways to Arts and Cultural employment, support young and emerging artists to grow their practice, develop professional networks and forge careers, and our work develops new audiences for the arts.

Kickstart Arts projects have been demonstrated to

  • Inspire people to be more generally inspired by life

  • Prevent illness and support recovery

  • Build a more confident, cohesive and kind community

  • Break down loneliness and encourage participation for people who often don’t have access to social and cultural events

  • facilitate lifelong learning and development of life skills

  • Facilitate playful cross sectoral action for societal regeneration and hope

  • Make work for artists and develop new audiences and local markets for the arts

  • Help students be more engaged in their education

  • Make people want to dance and smile and laugh

  • Help people learn to read and to speak English and other languages

  • Spark joy!

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