Arts and Health Symposium April 2013

AHA! hosted the first Arts and Health Symposium in Antigonish on April 19th, 2013, when about 100 healthcare workers, artists, educators and interested community members gathered to explore the relationship between health and creative arts. There are many exciting art-health initiatives already happening in the AntigonishAHA Symposium april 19 2013 Poster area, including the award-winning Park Bench Players, a group of amateur actors telling their story of living with mental illness and Hearts and Hands, a visual arts program at L’Arche. Attendees also heard about the value of music therapy, local efforts in horticultural therapy, the potential of drama therapy, storytelling as therapy, the multiple benefits of digital art and were treated to a ‘culinary art’ by local chef Will Frankland.

1 Some participants of Arts and Health Symposium in Antigonish on April 19th, 2013

Dr. John Graham-Pole, a retired pediatric oncologist currently living in Antigonish, gave a keynote talk at the symposium. As he has observed, “Art taps, for each of us, whatever our circumstances, a deep well of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It is indispensable to our lives and to our total health.” Those involved with AHA! feel most fortunate to have such a mentor in their midst!

AHA Symposium april 19 2013 PostcardThe response to the symposium was enthusiastic, and input from the afternoon’s “idea centres” and surveys led to the production of an AHA! draft guiding principles and draft five-year plan. AHA! members hope that the symposium will be a beginning of numerous ‘aha’s’, awakenings within each of us, recognizing the value of the creative arts in our individual and community well-being.



Please contact us to join in making any of the following projects a reality:

Short term projects and teams: 0-6 months

  •  AHA! video: Noella Murphy
  • Funding Explorations
  • Inventory of Public Spaces
  • Youth storytelling project: Shayla Mootz, Anne Simpson
  • Workshop series for artists (fall): Wendell White, John Graham-Pole
  • Antigonight presence: Fenn Martin

Team building: Each of the following teams is organized to varying degrees and is undertaking projects both on their own and in collaboration with others:

  • Music: Wendell White
  • Horticultural Therapy: Janice Chiasson, Mary Partridge, Susie Murphy
  • Performing Arts: Noella Murphy
  • Visual Arts: Fenn Martin
  • Creative writing
  • Youth: Shayla Mootz
  • In-hospital settings
  • Seniors

Midterm Projects: 6 months-2 years

  •  Medical Humanities Program
  • Workshops for healthcare workers
  • Online Course Development: Dorothy Lander
  • Regular column in local newspaper
  • Hospital Ceiling Tile Project: Anne Camozzi
  • Art in Public Healthcare spaces
  • Annual Symposium
  • Arts Bus

Longterm projects: 2-5 years

  •  Arts Centre/school
  • Living Main Street
  • Artists in residence in health care facilities
  • Annual symposiums, workshops, Antigonight presence
  • Arts-Health Hub for the region, linked nationally

Further project suggestions and ideas are welcome through email or blog.

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