The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund has announced the launch of a $10 million, multiyear initiative in support of organizations using the arts to address health issues affecting New Yorkers.
In 2018, the Arts in Health Initiative will focus on three issues: mental illness stigma, trauma, and aging-related diseases. In addition to making grants, the fund will convene grantee partners, health experts, New York City arts leaders, foundations, philanthropists, and community partners to share ideas and demonstrate the impact of their programs.
To kick off the initiative, the fund awarded grants to eight New York City organizations working in disciplines such as visual art, film, and dance. Recipients include the Community Access & the Changing Minds Young Filmmaker Competition, which will use film as a medium for combating mental health stigma among New York City youth; the NYC Mural Arts Project, a large-scale community mural-making initiative designed to spark dialogue about, and challenge stereotypes and stigma associated with, mental health; Fountain House Gallery, a visual arts gallery and shared studio workspace for artists with mental illness; and the Art Therapy Project, which uses group art-making as a therapeutic tool for people who have experienced severe trauma. Additional grant recipients include Gibney Community Action, which uses dance as a recovery vehicle for survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse; Arts & Minds, a series of museum-based workshops for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia; the Creative Center at University Settlement, which promotes creative aging and participation in the arts as an outlet for patients and survivors of cancer and other serious diseases; and Dance for PD, a program of the Mark Morris Dance Group that provides dance and movement workshops for people with Parkinson's disease.
The initiative is based on an Illumination Fund-commissioned poll that gauged attitudes about health-related attributes of the arts and the importance and timeliness of programs that integrate the arts and health. According to the poll, 81 percent of Americans believe that the arts can help people overcome mental health stigma, 82 percent believe that the arts can benefit people with age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia, and 87 percent believe that the arts can help people overcome a traumatic event.
"Decades of scientific study show that engagement in the arts provides cognitive, emotional, and physical health benefits for people, from youth to old age, but there are great disparities in access to services in New York City," said LMTIF president and founder Laurie M. Tisch. "This initiative will help organizations doing important work with underserved populations, increase their ability to reach more people, and build awareness of the role the arts can play in healing. At our core, we are dedicated to using the arts to help build healthy and vibrant communities in New York City."
(Photo credit: Gibney Community Action)