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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                  Contact: Janet Kopenhaver, 703-627-7863

Embracing Arlington Arts Releases “Health Benefits of the Arts” Podcast Series and One-Stop Library of Studies

September 29, 2021: (Arlington, VA) – The non-profit organization Embracing Arlington Arts is proud to release its Health Benefits of the Arts media package consisting of a three-part Educational Podcast Series featuring three researchers from George Mason University, as well as a one-stop library of 100 study links providing evidence of these benefits. “We tend to focus on the economic benefits of the arts, stated Janet Kopenhaver, the organization’s president. “But this year we have been focusing on spreading the word about the many health benefits of the arts for every community sector and providing the scientific evidence through our new podcast series and online library,” she added.

The Embracing Arlington Arts Board of Directors wanted to create a one-stop library database with links to peer-reviewed studies on the health benefits of the arts in order to make it easier for those interested in learning more about this topic without having to search hundreds of different websites. The database is broken down into five community sectors (Medically Disabled, Physically Disabled, Seniors, Students/Children and Veterans), with five study links for each of the four art therapy genres (dance, music, theater/drama and visual arts). “We wanted to encapsulate a robust representation of the breadth of studies available on these health benefits,” Kopenhaver explained. “Plus, no study is more than 5 years old to ensure the research sources listed are current and up-to-date.” The database will be updated each year with new studies replacing those more than 5 years old.

The Educational Podcast series features three distinguished researchers in the field from George Mason University who updated us on the latest research and studies on the health benefits of the arts. Dr. Thalia Goldstein from George Mason University’s Applied Developmental Psychology Department has had years of experience examining the health benefits of the arts for children and students. Among some of the findings: students with arts in their curriculum have higher academic grades, better test scores, less absenteeism (which leads to decreased hunger), better social skills and more expertise in collaborative work than those students without the arts. “The arts provide a safe and contained space to explore your emotions and a pathway to explore your sense of self and emotional outbursts,” Goldstein stated when explaining how children benefit.

Dr. Niyati Dhokai, the Director of the Veterans and the Arts Initiative Program at George Mason University, expounded on the many benefits art therapies provide our nation’s military members. Among some of the observed impacts on Veterans receiving music and other art therapies were more feelings of relaxation and well-being, ability to talk more confidently, and providing a sense of safe space outside the rehab center. “Overall, the arts provide an opportunity for military members, their children, caregivers and other family members come together,” Dhokai explained. “The arts also enhance relaxation and spur interaction among all family members.”

Rounding out the podcast series was Dr. Jatin Ambegaonkar, the Associate Professor at GMU’s College of Education and Human Development who has conducted much research on dance and movement therapy, especially for seniors. Among the many benefits are allowing these older adults the opportunity to remain active members of this community physically, mentally and spiritually. Dance also helps with fall risks, better balance, and less depression. Dr. Ambegaonkar summed up the benefits with “the arts foster well-being by creating community. Arts are not competitive – meaning you are not competing for the arts, but rather engaging with people for the arts.”

Embracing Arlington Arts is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the vibrancy and health of arts and culture. Interested supporters are encouraged to “follow” and “like” us on Facebook; and follow us on Twitter.

For more information, contact Janet Kopenhaver at janetk@embracing-arlington-arts.org

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