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Behavioral Health and MA Arts Funders Meeting: Arts and culture creating and bridging whole-health solutions with communities and healthcare

In this meeting of the MA Arts Funders and Behavioral Health Funders Networks, facilitated by Mass Cultural Council, they and others will explore the benefits of arts, culture, and nature to existing initiatives that address health and well-being.

Through programs like Card to Culture, CultureRx: Social Prescription, and through the publication of the Arts on Prescription: A Field Guide for US Communities, there is clear success in bridging arts and healthcare. Mass Cultural Council has contracted with Art Pharmacy to implement, scale, and lead this work in Massachusetts. This will expand education and access to health by prescribing arts and culture as part of the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

Funders increasingly appreciate that the youth mental health crisis and our epidemic of loneliness can be more holistically addressed by engaging arts and culture in creative upstream investments that can help to relieve workforce burnout, be part of employee benefits, and help to improve the behavioral health workforce challenges. By implementing partnerships between behavioral health, arts/cultural sectors, and Creative Youth Development, the funder community across sectors will be able to better address the needs of young people, and families, and improve access to quality care for all communities.

Goals: Connect existing and expanding work in arts and culture to behavioral health practice and fieldwide needs. In examining our collaborative cross-sector work, we hope to leave the call with opportunities to further share resources across both fields.

This session is for funders with an interest in mental and behavioral health, young people, workforce development, and/or arts and culture. In this session, you'll hear about innovative solutions being implemented statewide, engage with discussion topics in breakout rooms, and share insights and strategies with fellow funders.

We will be hearing from:
  • Chris Appleton, Founder & CEO, Art Pharmacy
  • Erik Holmgren, Program Manager for Creative Youth Development and Education at the Massachusetts Cultural Council
  • Käthe Swaback, Program Officer, Creative Youth Development, Mass Cultural Council
  • Michael Bobbitt, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council

About the Networks:

Massachusetts Arts Funders Network bi-monthly meetings provide a learning opportunity on an issue or trend facing the arts and cultural community coupled with a chance to network and update colleagues on their current work, challenges, and opportunities in a roundtable format.

The Behavioral Health Funders Network (BHFN) is a state-wide network of funders working in the area of behavioral and mental health and wellness. For over 4 years the Network has been meeting regularly for peer learning, knowledge sharing, and relationship building. Key norms of this Network are trust, confidentiality, and a learning/growth mindset. The stated goals of the Network are: 1) Improve behavioral health services by providing a space and opportunity for learning from one another, and 2) Exchange information with the potential for collaboration on projects ranging in size from large, overarching initiatives to smaller community-based projects.