Mapping the Arts & Health 2010: An Inventory of Initiatives & Resources

Alberta Foundation for the Arts

Mapping the Arts & Health 2010 is an inventory of arts and health initiatives and resources in Alberta. This inventory is intended to provide information to enable effective networking among organizations, institutions and practitioners working in arts and health. It is also a resource that demonstrates the varied ways the arts are being used in health and wellness. The activities outlined in this inventory form the basis to tell the story of how the arts have a critical role to play in health.
All artistic disciplines have been considered in developing this resource – including the literary arts (e.g., poetry and writing), media arts (e.g., filmmaking), performing arts (e.g., dance, music and theatre) and the visual arts (e.g., painting and drawing).
In completing this resource a broad definition of health was assumed. This includes, but is not limited to, healthcare, health promotion, long-term care, therapeutic practice and rehabilitation. The role of the arts varies in each of these settings and the application of artistic practice is altered to best fit the situation.
The broad approach taken to complete this resource means that the inventory includes a wide range of activities and initiatives – from the community-level up to the use and engagement of professional artists. This demonstrates the breadth of ways that the arts can be incorporated into health and wellness settings. Creativity and expression can happen in various ways through different mediums—resulting in an enhanced sense of self, learning and healing.
The connections between arts and health are increasing in interest among organizations, institutions and practitioners in Canada. This growing interest has been supported recently by the First National Forum on Arts & Health co- sponsored by the British Columbia Arts Council, Health Canada and the University of British Columbia in March 2005. The forum brought together representatives from arts-based health projects, arts funding agencies, academic researchers and health professionals to engage in a dialogue about the role of the arts in health. Follow-up surveys following the forum have continued discussion of how to effectively establish an arts and health network in Canada.
In June 2005, the Society for Arts in Healthcare (SAH) held their annual international conference in Edmonton, AB. The conference was attended by delegates from various artistic and health-based disciplines. Plenary and concurrent sessions presented research studies, programs and resources that demonstrate the effectiveness of the arts in many areas of health. Networking opportunities for national and international practitioners, researchers and others helped to increase the “buzz” about arts and health in Alberta.
This inventory is intended to be a “living document.” It is recognized that other arts and health-based activities are occurring in Alberta. If you know of an initiative or are involved in a project not listed in this resource, please complete the form provided at the end of this inventory. Electronic versions are updated periodically and are available on the Alberta Foundation for the Arts’ (AFA) website at

Resource File(s): 
Resource/Research Type:
Resource Type: Directory
Document Details:
Author: Alberta Foundation for the Arts
Publisher Details:
Publisher Year: 2010
Audio/Video Details: