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The Alliance for Arts & Health New Jersey connects artists and arts professionals and those who provide health and wellness services in order to educate, advocate, and advance best practices in arts and health.
Created in 2010, the Alliance for Arts & Health New Jersey (AAHNJ) is a network dedicated to fostering partnerships between the arts community and the healthcare and wellness sectors, supporting a goal of Arts Plan NJ, the statewide blueprint for a better New Jersey through and for the arts. In 2014, the Alliance for Arts & Health NJ formally became a program of ArtPride NJ, the statewide arts advocacy organization. The Alliance is led by a steering committee of volunteers who work in the field of arts and health throughout the state.
As the mission of the Alliance is “a healthier New Jersey through the arts,” we are an inclusive program that supports connections between the many individuals and organizations that are participating in the field of arts and health in the state. We recognize the work of the diversity of the field by using these broad definitions:
- Health: Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Health and wellness services include healthcare, healing, and prevention.[i]
- Arts: Art is a physical manifestation of the creative impulse and an outlet of expression. The arts include but are not limited to visual arts, music, dance, drama, creative writing, architecture, video, and performance.[ii]
- Arts and Health: Arts & Health is an interdisciplinary field interested in improving individual and community health and enhancing the healthcare environment by providing access to arts-based activities, artwork and performances, and artistic experiences. People in this field integrate the arts into a wide variety of healthcare and community settings for therapeutic, educational, and expressive purposes.[iii]
- New Jersey: The Alliance’s definition of New Jersey is inclusive of the entire population of the state—North, Central, and South—and all of its diverse geographic, demographic, economic, and cultural regions.
To connect artists and arts professionals and those who provide health and wellness services to educate, advocate, and advance best practices in arts and health, the long-range vision of the Alliance for Arts & Health New Jersey is to:
- Serve as a connector. The Alliance acts as a community of practice, or hub of people committed to using the arts to enhance health and wellness, and is able to bring together artists, healthcare providers, wellness facilities, associations, and organizations. This network facilitates collaboration between partner organizations and practitioners, including communicating information, sharing resources, creating joint initiatives, and cross-promoting services. AAHNJ provides a place that people in the field can network to get a job or find a provider.
- Act as a best practices clearinghouse to share methods, guidelines, research, training, and resources to significantly enhance the impact of arts & health programs and services in our state. AAHNJ provides access to a growing body of research on arts and health and offer information that demonstrates how healthcare is best enhanced through connections with the arts. We collect, distribute, and promote best practices and templates for starting work, planning programs, and assessing outcomes to improve work in this field.
- Increase awareness, availability, and scale of arts & health programs and services in our state. AAHNJ influences NJ healthcare providers and policy leaders who recognize the field of arts and health as a policy issue.
[i] From World Health Organization found at http://www.who.int/about/definition/en/print.html
[ii] Adapted from Wikipedia definition of “The Arts” and Definition of “the Arts” by the United States Congress found at http://web.csulb.edu/~jvancamp/361_r8.html
[iii] Adapted from definition of arts and health found in mission statement of Arts Council England at http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/media/uploads/phpC1AcLv.pdf and description in State of the field report: Arts in healthcare 2009. Washington, DC: Society for the Arts in Healthcare at http://legacy.arts.ufl.edu/cam/documents/stateofthefield.pdf