POBA was founded as an opportunity to showcase the work of deceased artists whose creative works might not have made it into the public eye. For the fans, friends, families, and heirs of these artists, and for artists preparing for their creative legacies to be presented here, there is comfort and healing in the sharing of these memories and works. At POBA we believe that the enduring and transcendent power of art outlives our human forms.
The foundation staff and board members behind POBA also believe in the power of the arts to connect and to heal – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. POBA preserves the contributions of artists, encourages art appreciation and art making for everyone, and celebrates increasing attention to the role of the arts in health and wellness.
Over the past two years, the collaborative NeuroArts Blueprint: Advancing the Science of Arts, Health, and Wellbeing brought science, the arts, and technology together to explore and express how the arts and creativity affect brain, body, and behavior. This initiative promotes the ‘NeuroArts’ as a specific field of research and application with study, funding, policy, infrastructure and leadership outlined in the blueprint and a long term vision of impact on health, community and culture.
Personal insights on the impact of the arts can be found in Frame of Mind – A Conversation about Art and Healing while Healing Arts London: Artists’ House Calls—Creation in Confinement provides a window into artists at work during the pandemic. Research behind this initiative is presented in Does Art Heal? What is the Evidence? What should the Policy be? An opportunity to participate in healing meditations and more is available through MOMA and the Healing Arts Symposium.
The arts as a healing mechanism is not new, even as the NeuroArts initiative seeks to establish a recognized scientific field.
Art & Creativity for Healing, with a mission ‘to support emotional healing through art & creative expression for those living in pain, grief, fear or stress’ has provided programming in this space since the 1980s.
Founded by a medical doctor in 2003, the Foundation for Art and Healing fosters programming, a film series, and healing for individuals and communities. Well before Covid-19 they created the UnLonely Project, recognizing the power and importance of the arts in connecting us. The website states: ‘At The Foundation for Art & Healing, we believe that the simple act of making, sharing, or receiving something creative benefits both mental and physical health. There’s a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests that creative arts expression is a powerful tool in reducing emotional isolation for everyone involved. Help someone feel more connected, more whole, and more at peace during the holidays by sharing some creative piece of yourself through one or all of the activities in our UnLonely Gift.’ For yourself or to share, their Creativity Jumpstarter brings the power of the arts directly to you.
A role for the arts in healing has been an ongoing theme of the Aspen Ideas Festival, with a 2020 discussion of The Science of the Arts including insights from the Director of National Institutes of Health.
This American Scientist article specifically addresses a role for art therapy in trauma healing and mental health, highlighting the power of nonverbal communication in this observation: ‘What is my superpower as an art therapist? I can change how you see yourself.’ Art can access parts of us that language cannot and even change the brain and the nervous system, as described by this art therapist on the James Kirk Bernard Foundation website.
In these especially trying times of physical distancing, pandemic fears, and cultural discourse we all need art – art making, art appreciating, art sharing. The science is helpful to understanding why and how, and yet we already know the arts are essential to us as humans. POBA thanks you for helping to ensure that art lives, contributing to our individual and collective opportunities to persevere and thrive.