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Art that heals

The City of Brussels has a “Museum Prescriptions” initiative. It acknowledges that “culture can be beneficial for mental and physical health” and can help forge a healthy city.

As a pilot project, medical professionals prescribed visits to museums. It was an effort to deal with the pandemic-related mental health crisis in the country. Inspired by a similar initiative in the Canadian province of Québec, five Belgian museums participated in the pilot. The study captured measurements of effectiveness.

Results will be published this year. Over the past two decades, there has been other research into the effects of the arts on health and well-being.

A 2019 World Health Organization report drew from more than 3,000 studies. The report identified how the arts have a major role in promoting health — and preventing ill health — over our lifespans.

In “The Urban Activist,” author Jennifer Hope Davy writes, “Evidence-based practices are often what city budgets need. They encourage further exploration and development into (so-called) alternative practices that addressing human health.”

“Following, such research could as well undergird the necessity for enduring cultural support.”

Which could be a hard pill for some U.S. elected officials to swallow. 

Photo by Sergei A on Unsplash

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