The National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families has announced the selection of Winston-Salem, in partnership with Forsyth County, as one of nine sites nationwide competitively selected to participate in a pilot peer-learning cohort for its newly launched initiative, Improving Community Health and Resilience through the Arts, a collaboration between the National League of Cities and One Nation/One Project.
Local founding partners for the initiative are Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County, Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Forsyth County Department of Public Health, United Health Centers and the City of Winston-Salem Department of Community Development.
Additional partners will be named over time. The participating partners will work to create economic opportunities and holistically improve community wellbeing through their arts investments.
The initiative will be carried out in partnership with One Nation/One Project, a national arts and wellness project with the goal to amplify the proven benefits that arts engagement has in fostering holistic recovery, well-being and social cohesion in communities. This social impact venture is inspired by the work of the 1936 Federal Theatre Project that worked to reinvigorate America after the Great Depression.
Winston-Salem and Forsyth County will participate in the pilot cohort for the initiative, with a goal of building partnerships between municipal leadership, community health centers, safety net providers, local artists and the communities hit hardest by the pandemic. This national initiative will leverage the power of the arts to support municipal leaders’ efforts to improve the health, cohesion and resilience of their communities by using funds from local American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocations.
“Research shows the arts play an integral part in the health and overall well-being of a community,” said Chase Law, Arts Council President and CEO. “This partnership is coming at a critical time in our community where the Arts Council can continue to work alongside community members to understand and respond to needs through the lens of arts, culture and creativity. Our city and county received significant allocations from the American Rescue Plan Act, and this project falls in line with their focus areas to support the recovery and healing of our community.”
The selection of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County for this important nationwide initiative reflects the strong commitment of our community in recognizing the power of the arts to fuel economic recovery, as well as to bridge divides and not only recover but flourish in the wake of the pandemic.Kevin Bitterman, Executive Director, Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts
“Health and wellness through the arts and for artists is a core component of the work being done on campus at UNCSA, and by extension in our community through the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts,” said Kevin Bitterman, Kenan Institute for the Arts Executive Director. “The selection of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County for this important nationwide initiative reflects the strong commitment of our community in recognizing the power of the arts to fuel economic recovery, as well as to bridge divides and not only recover but flourish in the wake of the pandemic.”
“Exploring the intersection of health and arts play a vital role in addressing disparities often seen in marginalized communities — which have been exacerbated by COVID-19,” said Lashun Huntley, United Health Centers CEO. “United Health Centers is honored to work with this talented team of community partners to address 21st century challenges that will positively impact the health, wellness and economic vitality of our shared community.”
Winston-Salem and Forsyth County are joined by the following cities in the Arts & Health pilot cohort: the City of Gainesville, Florida; the City of Chicago, Illinois; the Town of Utica, Mississippi; the City of Providence, Rhode Island; the City of Rhinelander, Wisconsin; Harlan County, Kentucky; the City of Edinburg, Texas; and Phillips County, Arkansas focusing on the Cities of Elaine and Helena.
The cohort will be supported through extensive context-specific technical, artistic and organizational assistance and will engage in regular peer learning opportunities to achieve their desired outcomes.
June 01, 2022