Arts in Healthcare Associates (AHA)

Arts in Healthcare Associates (AHA) is a group who promotes policy and best practice in the arts in health care settings. AHA advances the arts in health care by providing information, encouraging creativity, and offering support. Additionally advancement is made through our research activities and the wisdom of our collective expertise and experience. We are a small group of leaders who have worked in various capacities in a variety of health care settings. AHA formed in 2004 and has met nine times over the past 10 years.

Medicine cures the body. Art heals the spirit.

Healthy people are exposed to some sort of art each day. It would be challenging to describe a day without some kind of art connection. However, once we enter into the health care system, a system that may include physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges, we are deprived of that which can not only connect us with our everyday lives, but has the power to contribute to our healing process and bring comfort in the face of adversity and pain.

As one's physical world contracts to accommodate an illness or any change, it is also likely that the creative world, the joyful world will contract as well. As this world contracts, we need more ways to interpret and process our life circumstances and the fears, doubts, and losses that change engenders. We need all the resources the health care system can provide – and more. We need a variety of ways to access our own strengths and find our own answers. This is the power and beauty of art, of creative expression and of the opportunity to truly heal. This is creativity through art.

Basic beliefs that guide our work:

That Creativity includes:

 • Thinking of and seeing what already exists in new or unusual ways

 • Bringing into existence something new (a thought, attitude, solution to a problem, thing, etc.)

 • Requires an open mind

 • The creative process is not logical, linear, or predictable but is a state of being

 • Everyone has the inherent creative abilities

 • Creativity is one of the tools humans turn to for healing, stress relief, coping, interpreting life

That Art is inclusive and consists of:

 • Visual Arts

 • Literary Arts

 • Performing Arts

Vision for the Future

Our vision for the arts in healthcare is that:

 • Patients, caregivers, friends, and family members expect and receive the arts as a part of the healthcare experience.

 • Healthcare environments are enhanced, enriched and enlivened with paintings, sculpture, music, readings/writings, and drama.

 • Specific attention is paid to where, when, and how the arts are included in the daily lives of patients, caregivers, friends and family members.

 • There are studios, offices, storage spaces for artists.

 • There are equal opportunities for observation as well as participation in the arts and with artists.

 • Patients and families will come to the facility/system that respects and attends to the needs of the spirit as well as the needs of the body.

 • The attitudes in the workplace reflect the lively and rich environment.

 • All healthcare facilities have arts as a part of their budgets, from conception of the physical building as well as in any additions.

 • Artists are equal members of the interdisciplinary team

 • Artist in health care is a viable career path choice for artists who believe in working in their communities and being paid a fair and equitable salary for their work.


AHA at Ucross Foundation 2013

AHA at The Old Globe in San Diego 2008

AHA at Ucross Foundation 2006

AHA at Ucross Foundation 2006