Supporting healthy communities through arts programs

Supporting healthy communities through arts programs Report

Resource sheet

  • Author(s): Vicki-Ann Ware
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • Volume: Closing the Gap Clearinghouse

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to review the available evidence of a range of arts programs in relation to their effects on supporting and building healthy communities. Healthy communities refers to communities in which people have the physical and mental health and wellbeing needed to conduct their daily lives. This paper considers the role of the arts in supporting healthy communities. It should be read in conjunction with Resource Sheet no. 26, which explores the role of sporting and recreational programs in supporting health communities. The literature indicates remarkably similar groups of benefits between, arts, sports and recreation programs. Therefore, it is important that any new program considers integrating all three areas to cater for varying preferences of community members for any single type of activity. This paper is based upon the synthesis of findings from over 30 studies, covering all geographic areas from inner city to remote regions, and all age ranges from preschool children to the elderly. Approximately two-thirds of these studies are Australian, with some international studies used to add depth. Approximately half the studies examined programs run in Indigenous communities in Australia and Indigenous communities in the United States, Canada and New Zealand, with additional evidence from other ethnic minority (that is, immigrant) and ethnic majority contexts. The research synthesised in this paper uses a range of research methods to develop this research evidence: predominantly descriptions and critical assessments of programs, as well as evaluations and systematic literature reviews.

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Suggested Citation
Vicki-Ann Ware, 2014, Supporting healthy communities through arts programs, Volume:Closing the Gap Clearinghouse, Report, viewed 13 June 2024,

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