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Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

Why the arts matter

Art makes us happy. Art challenges us. Art helps us express our greatest triumphs and lowest points of despair. But do the arts really matter to each of us? I submit that the answer is a resounding YES! When we invest in the arts, we not only invest in the quality of life in our community, we invest in the health and well-being of every resident as well.

According to research, the following outcomes result when arts and health are woven into community treatment and prevention initiatives:

  • 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 health care-related infection rates
  • Decreased need for sedatives during medical procedures
  • Reduced levels of depression and improvements in quality of life

To these ends, I invite you to join me and the many other residents and organizations participating in 352Creates 2017. 352Creates is a celebration of community art-making and creative activities throughout the 352 area code, coming up Friday March 24 and Saturday March 25. We ask people to participate in workplace activities on Friday and then join us for a communitywide celebration at Depot Park in downtown Gainesville this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All activities are free, fun for the whole family and you can find inspiring ideas for getting involved at

352Creates promotes the idea that creativity benefits us as individuals and as communities. This shared sense of community health through the arts is what makes 352Creates unique. It is a network of individuals, organizations and businesses united by the idea that creativity connects our community and makes us healthier and stronger. 

Creativity is a key element of any thriving community. It has been my experience that the more open and creative the environment, the more productive, efficient and satisfied are the people doing the work.

I have constantly tried to surround myself with creative types because I know they will challenge me, inspire me and show me new and unexplored ways to a greater future.

The new strategic framework of the city of Gainesville is anchored in magnifying our community’s creativity. So, too, the University of Florida’s Strategic Development Plan depends on the creative explorations of UF’s excellent faculty and staff.

All of this creativity grows and permeates our culture through shared experiences in music, visual and performing arts.

So, whether doodling at your desk, singing in the shower or sculpting the next David, share your art with your friends, neighbors and co-workers. Join me for 352Creates 2017 on March 24 at work and March 25 at Depot Park and share all of your creative experiences on social media using the #352Creates hashtag.

You will make new friends, learn something new about the friends you already have, heal your body and mind, and have a great time doing it!

352 Creates is made possible through partnership with UF Health, the UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine program, the UF College of the Arts, the UF Center for Arts in Medicine, the city of Gainesville, Depot Park, Pop a Top General Store, the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, Liquid Creative and Dragonfly Graphics.

- Lauren Poe
Mayor, city of Gainesville

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