The City of Austin partners with Creative Action nonprofit to connect art with public health
AUSTIN, TX - Local arts education nonprofit, Creative Action, announced the launch of Austin Safely Creates, a program in partnership with the City of Austin Economic Development Department. As a result of the Austin City Council resolution that created the Austin Civilian Conservation Corps (ACCC) in May 2020, the program will employ teaching artists who lost employment or income due to COVID-19 and will engage them in the creation of community-enhancing artwork.
“This program is an innovative effort to help our creative sector get through these challenging times,” said Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Acting Director for the Economic Development Department “This pandemic impacted many industries, but as a city known for its creative spirit, the hit to our local artists is felt particularly deep. Our artists are a core part of Austin’s identity and an essential part of our long-term recovery.”
The Austin Safely Creates program is made up of a community-wide education and awareness campaign that centers art-making as a way to foster positive mental health, build community, and inspire hope. All campaign activities are led by professional artists and will engage community members of all ages in interactive art-making, self-expression, and healing around the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research shows that engaging with the arts promotes mental and emotional well-being. An ongoing study by the University College London in the U.K. in partnership with the University of Florida, demonstrates that the arts provide mental health benefits to the public—even during the pandemic—combating the ill effects of isolation and loneliness associated with COVID-19. Preliminary findings show that just 30 minutes of active arts activities daily may lower anxiety and depression and increase life satisfaction.
“Mental health was already an issue prior to COVID-19. Now, add the recent challenges of the pandemic and it’s clear we need to think differently when it comes to how we engage our minds,” said Sarah Rinner, Chief Program Officer at Creative Action. “The arts offer an evidence-based solution for promoting well-being and mental health. Our goal with Austin Safely Creates is to support artists’ mental health through employment and foster hope and empowerment, two key ingredients for mental and emotional well-being, for the larger community.”
Visit creativeaction.org/austinsafelycreates to learn more about the program.
About Creative Action
Founded in 1997, Creative Action is the largest arts education organization in Central Texas. Professional Teaching Artists, who position themselves as guides and facilitators, create dynamic learning experiences where Creative Action students engage with various art forms as they strengthen their creativity, confidence, courage, and critical thinking skills. Core programs include school-based instruction to support campus success, after school youth development classes, and intergenerational opportunities based in the community to support positive social change. Those that participate in Creative Action programming further develop their creative expression, commitment to social justice, and social-emotional skills—attributes highly valued and sought after in the 21st century. Learn more at www.creativeaction.org.
About Austin Civilian Conservation Corps (ACCC)
ACCC was developed to help Austinites who have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to earn income, serve their community, and gain skills to launch sustainable careers in new fields. These programs create lasting, positive effects for residents, inspires hope and builds community and advances the City’s strategic sustainability and equity goals. To learn more about ACCC or to see current job opportunities visit www.austintexas.gov/accc.
About the City of Austin Economic Development Department
The City of Austin Economic Development Department supports business growth, creative industries, and local communities. These programs build an equitable, sustainable economy to improve the lives of all Austin residents. To learn more about helpful resources, visit www.austintexas.gov/edd or like us on Facebook @AustinEconDev and follow @AustinEconDev on Twitter.