National Public Health Week event celebrates the intersection of arts and health

group standing in front of PHHP entrance holding arts in public health bannerUniversity of Florida students, faculty and staff gathered April 5 in the HPNP Courtyard to tap into their creative sides at an event celebrating the impact art can have on health and wellbeing. Co-hosted by UF College of Public Health and Health Professions Master of Public Health students and the UF Center for Arts in Medicine, the art-making event was held in conjunction with National Public Health Week, April 3-9.

The event was an opportunity to demonstrate cross-sector collaboration in celebration of National Public Health Week, said event co-organizer Natalie Rella, M.P.H., a communications specialist for the Center for Arts in Medicine at the UF College of the Arts.

“We recognize the immense potential that lies at the intersection of arts, culture and public health,” Rella said. “We understand that the transformative power of the arts combined with the science of public health practice can accelerate improvements in community and individual wellbeing.”

woman painting banner
Participants were invited to collaborate on joint artworks, including this piece that was submitted for the National Public Health Week art contest.

Attendees experienced art in multiple expressive forms, including dance, visual art, music and poetry. The event was designed to highlight the direct health benefits of art, including stress reduction and improved well-being. Attendees also collaborated on two artworks that were submitted to the first National Public Health Week art contest.

“It was so great to have the opportunity to encourage people to take a moment to be creative and support their mental health,” said event co-organizer Alexandra Rodriguez, M.P.H., a doctoral student in PHHP’s Ph.D. program in public health, social and behavioral sciences concentration. “It was wonderful to hear people express how the event was such a simple and effective way for them to decompress in the middle of their day.”