The National Arts Policy Roundtable, a program of Americans for the Arts, convenes a select group of artists, philanthropists, and thought leaders annually in lively dialogues that explores how we can create a more vibrant role for arts and culture in 21st century American society. The above quote from Robert Redford is as relevant today as when he said it in 2012. Topics addressed since then have often centered around change, transformation, and moving forward – all mechanisms for healing. But, is all the talk, debate, and planning really creating change and healing? Maybe in the long term we’ll get there, but what people want and truly need are results. Now. It is frustrating for everyone. There is no doubt that art can be a healing force, as Redford suggests, the resources to make that a reality, however, just are not as readily available for everyone. It would seem, on paper, that the more responsible thing to do is to provide funding for programs that support basic human needs like healthy food and safe housing. We need a stronger message that arts can be a key component in both physical and mental well-being. Health care professionals could embrace arts and incorporate them into care plans. With action from the bottom, the movement will get stronger and the need for resources will be become more visible. Once the people can really heal, society will have a chance to heal too. Change. Transform. Move forward.

-Teri Abstein
Board Member
Girl Museum Inc.

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