The Brain

Your Brain on Art

June 1, 2020  • Institute Staff

Art measurably changes the brain and body. Scientific evidence shows that music improves cognitive function, dance eases symptoms of Parkinson’s, architecture promotes healing. The Institute’s Health, Medicine and Society Program, in partnership with the Johns Hopkins International Arts+Mind Lab Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics, is assembling these findings into a new field: “neuroarts.” Many scientists, clinicians, artists, innovators, and policymakers are deeply engaged in arts and health, but they rarely come together across disciplines. The Institute is helping them do just that through its NeuroArts Blueprint project, launched in May and co-chaired by opera singer Renee Fleming, neuroscientist Eric Nestler, and film producer Michael Paseornek. “We’re thrilled to bring together pioneers working at the edges of innovation across fields to showcase the role of arts in well-being,” says Ruth J. Katz, the executive director of Health, Medicine and Society. The NeuroArts Blueprint will develop commissioned reports tracking current research and then hold a series of virtual meetings with experts from artistic and scientific disciplines—as well as from business, technology, education, and philanthropy—to examine how to crystallize the field of neuroarts and raise its profile. The initiative expects to show that well-designed programs can deliver economic returns, reduce health care costs, and strengthen communities. Finally, the Institute will publish The NeuroArts Blueprint, a field-building plan to put art in service to health.