The Music Man Foundation Awards NeuroArts Blueprint Initiative $1 Million: Will Promote Use of Music and the Arts to Advance Health and Wellbeing

June 3, 2024

The Music Man Foundation’s $1 million grant to the NeuroArts Blueprint Initiative will help unite neuroarts as a field and accelerate the integration of arts into the fabric of mainstream medicine and public health.

Contact: Eric Baker
Media Relations Manager
The Aspen Institute

Nerissa Silao
The Music Man Foundation

Washington, DC, June 3, 2024 – The Music Man Foundation today announced a $1 million award to the NeuroArts Blueprint Initiative to catalyze the research, practice, policy, and culture changes necessary to sustain the field of neuroarts. Neuroarts is the study of how aesthetic experiences and the arts measurably change the body, brain, and behavior and how this knowledge is translated into practices that advance health and wellbeing.

“This grant will provide crucial support to the field of neuroarts,” said Renée Fleming, renowned soprano and arts advisor to the Kennedy Center, who cochairs the NeuroArts Blueprint Initiative. “We think The Music Man Foundation’s generosity is a game-changer that will fuel our capacity to build effective coalitions and change norms.”

The NeuroArts Blueprint: Advancing the Science of Arts, Health, and Wellbeing, released in 2021, provides the framework for cultivating the field through collaboration and a strategic focus on building evidence, community, and infrastructure. “Neuroarts brings a very diverse community together so that the field can blossom and benefit countless people around the globe,” said Susan Magsamen, codirector of the Blueprint project. Added Ruth Katz, the other codirector, “We need researchers, artists, clinicians, educators, policymakers, and so many others at the table so we can take transformative steps that capitalize on the power of arts.” The Johns Hopkins International Arts + Mind Lab Center (IAM Lab) for Applied Neuroaesthetics (IAM Lab), led by Magsamen, and the Aspen Institute’s Health, Medicine & Society (HMS) Program, led by Katz, guided the initiative.

The Blueprint’s work tracks closely with the goals of The Music Man Foundation. The foundation recognizes the value of all forms of art in advancing health, wellbeing, and learning and its grants empower organizations using music to catalyze enduring change.

“This investment, which is one of the largest the foundation has ever made, supports what we already know: that music and the arts affect people deeply—physically, spiritually, emotionally, and communally,” said Tom Camp, board president of The Music Man Foundation. “We look forward to working in close partnership with the NeuroArts Blueprint to bolster the field of neuroarts and accelerate the work of visionary scientists and artists who endeavor to improve the human condition.”

As steward, strategic guide, and momentum builder, the NeuroArts Blueprint Initiative has been pulling neuroarts from scattered corners of study and practice to coalesce the field. Together, the NeuroArts Blueprint and The Music Man Foundation will amplify the progress that has been made since the release of the report, with an immediate commitment to groundbreaking work in two areas:

  • NeuroArts Academic Education Network: The strategy is to create a strong nucleus of academic partners already engaged in neuroarts, or interested in becoming involved. Early steps to build capacity and foster collaborations across these institutions include a comprehensive assessment of academic assets and structures, measures to solidify and expand interdisciplinary and cross-institutional research and training programs, and a best-practices toolkit.
  • Strengthening Communications and Building Leadership Capacity: The strategy is to develop a multifaceted communications plan to reach diverse audiences with tailored messages and compelling stories that capture the vibrancy of neuroarts. As well, the work will cultivate leadership through fellowships and convenings, including a first-ever NeuroArts Global Summit. Together, these will lay the groundwork for promoting policy changes at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as among insurers and others involved in health care financing.

“The scientific evidence that tells us that neuroarts is a health-building tool keeps growing,” says Eric Nestler, neuroscientist and dean for academic affairs and chief scientific officer at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who also cochairs the NeuroArts Blueprint Advisory Council. “We are honored by The Music Man Foundation’s gift, which will allow us to learn more, put what we already know into practice, and deepen our commitment to this vibrant field.”


The Music Man Foundation is named after the Tony-winning musical written by Meredith Willson. Meredith’s widow, Rosemary, started the Foundation in 1998 as the Meredith and Rosemary Willson Charitable Foundation and substantially increased the Foundation’s endowment upon her death in 2010. The Foundation’s mission is to empower organizations using music to catalyze enduring change and to amplify our founders’ musical legacy. Over the last decade, the Foundation has awarded more than $25 million to 85 organizations. In addition to creating The Music Man, Meredith Willson wrote the music and lyrics for The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and beloved songs including “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas” and the University of Iowa fight song.

The Johns Hopkins International Arts + Mind Lab Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics is a multidisciplinary translation research-to-practice initiative that brings together brain scientists and practitioners in the visual and performing arts, architecture and design, and creative arts therapies to foster collaboration and accelerate the field of neuroaesthetics, with the goal of amplifying human potential. Johns Hopkins University, founded in 1876, is America’s first research university.

The Health, Medicine and Society Program of the Aspen Institute connects influential groups of thought leaders, decisionmakers, and the informed public to tackle 21st-century US health challenges. At the heart of its rigorously nonpartisan work is a package of research, convenings, and publications that supports policymakers, scholars, advocates, and other stakeholders in their drive towards change. A public-facing component helps grow a constituency for innovative ideas. The Aspen Institute is a Washington, DC-based global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society.

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