Promotion of Art's Positive Impact on Human Welfare
The objective of the measure administrated by the Lithuanian Council of Culture is to widen the access to culture and professional art all over the state and develop a new approach towards cooperation possibilities between art and health sectors in Lithuania as well as to enable the implementation of the projects, which would enhance the cohesion of social, cultural and health areas, contribute to the positive impact of art on human welfare.
In 2012 the pilot project under the Ministry of Culture „Art for Human Welfare“ started as a social experimental project to ensure co-operation between culture, health care and the social sectors. It consisted of four parts: the project was implemented in nursing institutions for old people, the mental health clinics of the public health care centre, one of the biggest hospitals in Lithuania (Santariškės Hospital of the Vilnius University) and a children hospital.
The goal of the project implemented in a nursing home was to pay attention of the society towards the elderly people of Lithuania, to enrich their time with artistic/creative activity and reduce social exclusion. The mental health clinics was likewise chosen to show the need to pay more attention to mentally ill people in Lithuania and to enrich their occupation, as the experience had showed the positive impact of art therapy on the mental condition and well-being of mentally-ill persons. The hospital (the Santariškės Hospital of Vilnius University) was chosen to pay attention both to the well being of the healthcare service receiver and service provider and was dedicated to the staff of the hospital. The project at the children hospital was meant to show the importance of the interior of healthcare institutions to the well being and condition of people.
The pilot project gave an impulse to the establishment of the financing measure "Promotion of Art's Positive Impact on Human Welfare" at the Lithuanian Council of Culture, which promotes creative partnership of healthcare and culture sectors and purposively seeks for positive art impact on health and well-being.
The main features of the measure:
- partnerships among different cultural, health and social institutions;
- project activities including project impact assessment;
- results of the projects focused on the dissemination of good practice.
The implementation of a pilot project involved a research, which evaluated the impact of art on the psycho-social and spiritual well-being of project participants and the achievement of desired results. The accessibility of art was achieved by organising the project in the living, working or therapeutic environment of the target audiences and integrating the artistic programme into the routine of the target group or choosing the right time. Both qualitative and quantitative research outcomes suggest that project participants have received new skills and qualities and a bigger part of the project participants has expressed the wish to continue creative activity. The research results showed that project participants have gained more personal confidence. Participation in creative programmes has significantly improved the social involvement of participants, enhanced the feeling of belonging to the community and the social ties.Seminars and trainings, involving social services, health care, culture professionals, artists and non-governmental organizations.
The expected results of the consequently established financial measure at the Lithuanian Council for Culture are as following:
- Cultural programs, which enhance professional art accessibility in all categories of health care and social service institutions (project activities includes both service users and providers)
- Innovative creative initiatives that promote cohesion of cultural, social and environmental health institutions, intersectional collaboration, promote new operational methods and models
- Social innovations (products, services and models): the development of new social relations and cooperation models, the application of new ideas for already existing mechanisms (resource efficiency, aging, social exclusion, etc.).
The pilot project was financed by the Ministry of Culture. In 2012 the pilot project was allotted 28 962 Eur.
Since 2013 the measure is financed annually through a competition organized by the Lithuanian Council for Culture. Annual allocation for projects is 144 810 Eur.
In order to create favourable conditions to strengthen the artistic impact in health and social areas, in order to improve people's quality of life, Lithuanian Council for Culture has funded 30 projects (out of 193 applications) for 144 810 EUR. Implemented projects (performances, camps, therapeutic sessions, workshops, etc.) increased cohesion of the social, cultural and health institutions.
The projects took place in large cities of Lithuania, as well as smaller towns and villages. Most of the projects were intended for specific target groups: children with various diseases and conditions, victims of violence in the family, etc.
Project implementation included various artistic measures: theatre, art, photography, music and dance. Project implementers often used more than one measure of art in order to enhance the positive impact of art on human well-being.
The major challenge remains an inter-institutional cooperation, partnership of art and healthcare sectors and its sustainability. The organisational challenge is that the success of such projects largely depends on the close and quality cooperation of partners, thus partners, which do not have previous experience in similar processes may find it difficult to get actively involved in project activities.