Arts & Health = Hand in Hand

Lead with Arts uses arts-based learning objectives and evidence-based medicine to positively impact the healthcare system and improve the wellbeing of people through customized experiences and innovative care solutions.

Work with Lead with Arts:

  • Lectures and interactive workshops/performances, ranging from visual arts, improvisation, somatic exploration and physical movement
  • Standardized patient experiences Curriculum development combining arts-based learning objectives and evidence-based medicine
  • Lectures and workshops for medical residencies
  • Custom experiences and innovative care solutions for healthcare facilities
  • Arts and Health project generation and management

Bringing Arts to the Forefront of the Health Conversation

As neuroscience evolves, the link between arts and health is articulated in new and impactful ways.  Our understanding of trauma or “toxic stress” is evolving and is no longer known as just a series of distressing thoughts but as a fully somatic experience of the mind and body.

Both medical and art practitioners value multi-modal or integrative approaches to healing using the arts to address both psychotherapeutic and physical rehabilitation goals.


Lead with Arts founder Amanda Whitworth, alongside Robin Marcotte, MFA and Bobby Kelly, MD, MPH; founded the organization ARTICINE, which focuses on using the performing and creative arts as a means to improve people’s health, both at the patient and healthcare provider level. As a Standardized Patient Training Educator, Articine’s team takes into account the growing movement toward trauma-informed communities and healing centered engagement. ARTICINE examines how artists and medical professionals join together to generate new ideas and projects.

Arts Enhancing Coping Abilities

“Art forms that can be combined with healthcare include dance/movement, drama, music, visual, literary arts, performing arts, and design. No matter what the art form, research confirms that the arts enhance coping, thereby reducing patients’ need for hospital care, pain medication, and unnecessary extra costs. In addition, the arts reduce patients’ level of depression and situational anxiety, contribute to patient satisfaction, and improve the medical providers’ recruitment and retention rates,” according to Americans for the Arts.

By looking at an excerpt from a 2013 Legislative Issue Brief: “Arts in Health—Strengthening our Nation’s Health through the Arts,” we further see how creative arts in healthcare interventions and innovation can contribute to positive outcomes:

  • Reduced lengths of hospital stays
  • Decreased need for multiple medical visits
  • Reduced reports of pain and anxiety related to illness and invasive treatment
  • Increased self-esteem and reductions in stress
  • Reduced healthcare-related infection rates
  • Decreased need for use of sedatives during medical procedures
  • Reduced levels of depression and improvements in quality of life
  • Decreased use of medical interventions covered by Medicare among the aging

Art – The Missing Puzzle Piece

The health and medicine paradigm often exclude the lived human experience in diagnosis and treatment. Art brings this missing and vital piece to capture the whole person, creating agency and power in the patient. As master storytellers, artists are uniquely positioned to apply crucial conversations to medicine including those about personhood, physicality, self-expression and mindfulness. Bringing the lives of patients to the forefront of care will help lead them to better overall wellness.

An exciting opportunity lies ahead for artists to articulate the growing shift from trauma-informed practices toward healing centered engagement. The work of Shawn Ginwright Ph.D is an inspiring primer to advance our understanding of healing. He argues that while trauma-informed care is important, it is incomplete, in that it is treatment based and does not take into account the root causes of trauma, which may be environmental, cultural or political. Ginwright articulates this in his popular article, “The Future of Healing: Shifting From Trauma Informed Care to Healing Centered Engagement”:

“A healing centered approach is holistic involving culture, spirituality, civic action and collective healing. A healing-centered approach views trauma not simply as an individual isolated experience, but rather highlights the ways in which trauma and healing are experienced collectively. The term healing-centered engagement expands how we think about responses to trauma and offers a more holistic approach to fostering well-being.”