Growing research and experience demonstrate that participation and engagement in arts and cultural activities has significant benefits for the health of individuals, populations and the sustainability of health care systems.
As the Executive Director of Arts Health BC, the founding Community Partner of Arts Health Network Canada, Nicki Kahnamoui has the privilege of working on behalf of the arts & health community to promote participation and engagement in the arts for improved health, healing and wellbeing.
Over the past two decades, Nicki has been working in the health care and research field on a host of projects, ranging from new program and system implementations in hospitals to curating and organizing an arts and science exhibit in a genetics lab. She is also a mixed media visual artist, inspried by persian sufi poetry and elements in nature, whose artwork is mostly a contemplation of our continuous quest for meaning. Working in the field of arts and health is at the intersection of her two passions. Nicki strongly believes that artistic practice and participating in cultural activities, in any shape or form, are integral to a person’s well-being. She says: “We know that engaging in arts and cultural activities is good for us. We know it because that is what the research is telling us, but most importantly we know it because we have witnessed the transformational power of the arts ourselves. So it is only natural that we want to help everyone else to tap into their own creative energies or appreciation for creativity, so that they too can participate and engage in arts and cultural activities to enhance their quality of life and good health across their lifespan.”
“The arts provide a language for sharing that cuts through the clutter, the differences, the politics, the power imbalances, and what might be considered taboo, allowing for sharing to happen at a more genuine level. What would generally be a personal experience, through the act of making art and sharing becomes public. Thoughts and issues that would have been rendered invisible or trivial start gaining recognition. It is through this act of sharing and relating that the sense of isolation and loneliness lifts, one feels heard, feels a sense of meaning and gradually a sense of community develops. This sense of connection and social engagement is paramount to individuals’ and communities’ health and wellbeing. It is also when the seeds of social change are planted.”
Arts & Health can be found in health promotion, in health care settings, recreational arts, community arts, and in arts-based health research, communication and education. For more information check out the Arts & Health infographic created by Arts Health Network Canada.
To learn more and join the arts & health movement that is building across the country, check out:
- Arts Health BC website: www.artshealthbc.ca
- Arts Health Network Canada website: www.artshealthnetwork.ca
- Facebook: facebook.com/ArtsHealthNetworkCanada
- Twitter: @artshealthca
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/groups/Arts-Health-Network-Canada-4918050
- Article by AHNC in Ontario Health Promotion e-bulletin
- Nicki on Pain Waves BC Podcast
- Fireside Chat: What Does Art Have To Do With Health? (Webinar)
To connect with Nicki: