June 6, 2023
Kristin Friedrich, Director of Communications
The 2022 Arts and Health Week Summit. Photo by Taso Papadakis.
Arts and Health Week Motion by Hilda L. Solis Encourages Incorporation of the Arts in County’s Health, Wellness, and Recovery Services
June 9 ‘Arts and Health Week Summit’ Partners LA Opera Connects, Department of Arts and Culture, Healing Arts (An Initiative of The Jameel Arts & Health Lab), and the World Health Organization to Build Cross-Sector Practices
The Board of Supervisors today adopted a motion authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis that declares this Arts and Health Week in the County of Los Angeles and encourages County departments to explore ways to build the arts into their health, wellbeing, and recovery services.
This arrives in conjunction with this year’s Arts and Health Week Summit, scheduled for June 9 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The summit is a collaboration between LA Opera, the LA County Department of Arts and Culture, Healing Arts (an initiative of the Jameel Arts & Health Lab), and the World Health Organization. It convenes artists, arts and health organizations, community leaders, funders, government institutions, and acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming, Special Projects Advisor for LA Opera and World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador for Arts and Health.
The goal of the day-long slate of panel discussions and presentations is to explore how the arts can increasingly—and equitably—support health and wellbeing for the residents of LA County. Last year’s inaugural summit highlighted ways LA County advances the intersection of arts and health through the work of the Department of Arts and Culture in collaboration with other County and local agencies, including commissioning civic art in hospitals and health centers, funding grants to arts organizations and nonprofits with community-based arts programs, delivering healing and trauma-informed arts education for systems-impacted and underserved youth, and placing Creative Strategist artists in residence within County departments to focus on health and equity for communities. (Explore a recap of last year’s summit.)
This year’s summit adds a focus on the importance of creative aging for older adults, and further explores approaches that utilize arts and culture for greater mental health and wellbeing for all ages. Speakers will include Renée Fleming, Kristin Sakoda, and National Endowment for the Arts Chair Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson. A “Los Angeles County in Conversation” panel features Dr. Laura Trejo, from the LA County Department of Aging and Disabilities, and Dr. Lisa Wong, LA County Department of Mental Health.
“I’m proud to lead the effort in proclaiming Arts and Health Week in the County of Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District. “From arts education for young people to arts programming for older adults, arts and culture have been proven to make individual lives better and strengthen communities. To that end, I remain committed on our efforts to continue advancing cultural equity and inclusion so that everyone, no matter what zip code they live in, can experience the healing magic of the arts.”
“Arts and culture heal us,” said Kristin Sakoda, Director of the LA County Department of Arts and Culture. “From time immemorial to growing research today, we know that the arts improve social cohesion as well as mental, physical, and public health—and we have an opportunity now to deliver the benefits that the arts can bring. The Arts and Health Week Summit shines a light on the vital artists, organizations, agencies, programs, and cross-sector arts initiatives that incorporate arts into health and wellness. These deepening partnerships are integral to equity and healthy communities across civic life, including education, youth development, justice reform and prevention, health, infrastructure, aging, and more. I am hopeful that with increased visibility we can find ways to make arts and culture a core part of the services and strategies in our health infrastructure, both locally in Los Angeles County and nationally as a model for this work.”
“The powerful potential of music and arts for lifelong well-being is just beginning to be understood,” said Renée Fleming. “How can someone with advanced dementia, unable to recognize their own spouse, perfectly recall songs from their youth? Why can some patients with Parkinson’s disease, struggling to rise from a chair or walk through a doorway, easily accomplish these tasks, or even dance, to the sound of a musical beat? Music and arts therapies are proving to be effective tools for addressing the symptoms of a vast array of conditions that include cardiac failure, stroke, PTSD, chronic pain, and traumatic brain injuries. I’m thrilled to be a part of the LA County Arts and Health Week once again, to share findings, and learn about programs that leverage these discoveries to the benefit of everyone in the community.”
“The versatility and impact found at the intersection of arts and health grows with every year that we dedicate to the study and advocacy of arts in and as therapy,” said LA Opera Connects Vice President Tehvon Fowler-Chapman. “LA Opera is incredibly proud and honored to lend our voices and programs to furthering that impact. It takes a collective to bring about lasting change and impact, and this year the Arts and Health week and the Summit are an opportunity to meet, share ideas, and come away with goals and visions that support the well-being of LA County residents throughout all stages of life.”
About the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture
The mission of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture is to advance arts, culture, and creativity throughout Los Angeles County. It provides leadership, services, and support in areas including grants and technical assistance for nonprofit organizations, countywide arts education initiatives, commissioning and care for civic art collections, research and evaluation, pathways to the creative economy, professional development, free community programs, and cross-sector creative strategies that address civic issues. For more information, visit lacountyarts.org