NeuroArts Blueprint: The Science of Arts, Health and Well-Being

The NeuroArts Blueprint: The Science of Arts, Health and Well-Being, launched in 2019, is designed to strengthen, standardize, and propel the emerging field of neuroarts by identifying the robust empirical and translational scientific evidence that captures the measurable ways that art can change the brain and the body.

The Partners: The NeuroArts Blueprint is a partnership project of the Johns Hopkins International Arts & Mind Lab Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics and the Aspen Institute Health, Medicine and Society Program.

Leadership: Renee Fleming, renowned soprano and co-founder of Sound Health Initiative; Eric Nestler, neuroscientist and dean of Academic and Scientific Affairs at Mount Sinai Medical Center; and Michael Paseornek, originator and long-time president of Lionsgate Film, will co-chair an interdisciplinary Advisory Board of thought leaders to guide the project forward. Susan Magsamen, MAS, director of the Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics, and Ruth J. Katz, JD, MPH, director of the Health, Medicine and Society Program, serve as co-directors.

The Agile Brain: The brain changes nanosecond by nanosecond in response to stimuli, a neuroplasticity that influences how we process and respond to creative experiences. The science reveals that exposure—to visual and performance arts, storytelling and poetry, architecture and the natural environment—fosters connections across a vast and complex network populated by hundreds of billions of neurons.

Over the last years, advances in imaging capacities, biomarkers, and other noninvasive mapping and measuring technologies have yielded new insights about how the brain works. As research is translated into practice, we have already discovered that music supports people with Alzheimer’s disease, dance eases the symptoms of Parkinson’s, and architecture promotes healing in the clinic. And the science is taking us much further. We increasingly recognize neuroarts as a pathway to promote learning, build healthier communities, transform traditional medicine, and strengthen physical and mental health.

Our Convenings: To inform the NeuroArts Blueprint, and bring together as many disparate voices as possible, we are convening a series of highly interactive, interdisciplinary meetings across the country, and in at least one international setting. Stakeholders and pioneers—in health care, neuroscience, public health, community development, art and architecture, technology, communications, philanthropy and business—will be at the table for these conversations.

Building the Field: The NeuroArts Blueprint will articulate and advance the scientific foundation and evidence for the role of arts in health and wellbeing through the lens of research, practice, community-building, policy, funding, and communications.

With an emphasis on translation, we’ll agree on a common vocabulary, showcase exemplar models from around the world, and design training and professional development pathways. As we define the value proposition that invites sustainable public and private investment, and craft a communication plan to attract broad interest, we will be producing a roadmap to bring neuroarts into the mainstream.

Scaling Up: The NeuroArts Blueprint is just getting underway. Watch this space to learn more.