Recent Publications & Resources

While there is tremendous growth in practices and programs that use the arts in support of health worldwide, there are significant inconsistencies in terminology used to reference the discipline. These inconsistencies are challenging for professionals within and outside of the field, and particularly so for educators. Inconsistent terminology makes it difficult for practitioners, educators, funders, policy-makers, service users, and the general public to define and reference the discipline, and decades into its formal development, continues to impede progress. Clear, consistent, and descriptive language is a critical aspect of professional conduct, as boundaries are established in equal parts through ethical practice and clear terminology.

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The connection between the arts and the military has always been strong, rooted in the shared history we have as a people and a nation. From the music and words of America the Beautiful, the painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware, the photograph and subsequent United States
Marine Corps War Memorial of Raising the Flag at Iwo Jima, the spontaneous painting and naming of aircrafts by airmen in the field, the deployed soldiers strumming guitars for respite or solace—art defines our human experience and every solemn or joyous occasion we have in our national, family, and individual lives.

For service members, Veterans, and their families, participation in the arts—whether for expressive, educational, recreational, or therapeutic purposes—is proven to build resilience, enhance coping skills, increase self-esteem, and generate well-being. The arts also promote community reintegration and raise awareness about the experiences and struggles of these populations. If
you’d like to delve further into research documenting the benefits of using the arts in military and Veteran communities, please read our white paper, Arts, Health, and Well-Being Across the
Military Continuum.

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What is the anatomy of an “aha” moment? How and why did we evolve to have such experiences? Can we prime ourselves to have them more
often? Why should we care? These and similar questions were the recent focus of a cross-cutting investigation by the National Endowment for
the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the Santa Fe Institute (SFI).

SFI routinely brings together experts from various fields to tackle complex research questions with far-reaching consequences for policy-makers and
the general public. Questions about “the nature of creativity in the brain” amply merit this type of trans-disciplinary dialogue. The arts and sciences,
technological progress, economic prosperity—nearly every significant advance achieved by entire societies—are driven by human creativity. Yet somehow our understanding of how creativity should be defined, nurtured, and optimized remains surprisingly elusive.

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Published in 2016, the report, NextAvenue, a national nonprofit organization, created Artful Aging: How Creativity Sparks Vitality and Transforms Lives. This publication is a powerful collection of first-hand stories of the impact art has on adults in their twilight years and how creativity spurred improved health results and fulfillment in life's later years.