One Nation One Project



Local Founding Partners Announced for National Arts and Wellness Initiative with

National League of Cities

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County One of Nine Municipalities to Participate in Initiative to

Address COVID Recovery and to Improve Well-Being and Social Cohesion


Winston-Salem, NC (May 4, 2022)—The National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families has announced the selection of Winston-Salem, in partnership with Forsyth County, as one of nine sites nationwide competitively selected to participate in a pilot peer-learning cohort for its newly launched initiative, Improving Community Health and Resilience through the Arts, a collaboration between the National League of Cities and One Nation/One Project.


Local founding partners for the initiative are Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County, Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts of University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Forsyth County Department of Public Health, United Health Centers, and the City of Winston-Salem Department of Community Development. Additional partners will be named over time. The participating partners will work to create economic opportunities and holistically improve community wellbeing through their arts investments.


The initiative will be carried out in partnership with One Nation / One Project, a national arts and wellness project with the goal to amplify the proven benefits that arts engagement has in fostering holistic recovery, well-being and social cohesion in communities. This social impact venture is inspired by the work of the 1936 Federal Theatre Project that worked to reinvigorate America after the Great Depression.


Winston-Salem and Forsyth County will participate in the pilot cohort for the initiative, with a goal of building partnerships between municipal leadership, community health centers, and safety net providers, local artists, and the communities hit hardest by the pandemic. This national initiative will leverage the power of the arts to support municipal leaders’ efforts to improve the health, cohesion, and resilience of their communities by using funds from local American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocations.


“Research shows the arts play an integral part in the health and overall well-being of a community,” said Chase Law, Arts Council President and CEO. “This partnership is coming at a critical time in our community where Arts Council can continue to work alongside of community members to understand and respond to needs through the lens of arts, culture, and creativity. Our City and County received significant allocations from the American Rescue Plan Act, and this project falls in line with their focus areas to support the recovery and healing of our community.”


“Health and wellness through the arts and for artists is a core component of the work being done on campus at UNCSA, and by extension in our community through the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts,” said Kevin Bitterman, Kenan Institute for the Arts Executive Director. “The selection of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County for this important nationwide initiative reflects the strong commitment of our community in recognizing the power of the arts to fuel economic recovery, as well as to bridge divides and not only recover but flourish in the wake of the pandemic.”


“Exploring the intersection of health and arts play a vital role in addressing disparities often seen in marginalized communities--which have been exacerbated by COVID-19,” said Lashun Huntley, United Health Centers CEO. “United Health Centers is honored to work with this talented team of community partners to address 21st century challenges that will positively impact the health, wellness and economic vitality of our shared community.”


Winston-Salem and Forsyth County are joined by the following cities in the Arts & Health pilot cohort: the City of Gainesville, Florida; the City of Chicago, Illinois; the Town of Utica, Mississippi; the City of Providence, Rhode Island; the City of Rhinelander, Wisconsin; Harlan County, Kentucky; the City of Edinburg, Texas; and Phillips County, Arkansas focusing on the Cities of Elaine and Helena. The cohort will be supported through extensive context-specific technical, artistic, and organizational assistance and will engage in regular peer learning opportunities to achieve their desired outcomes.


About Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County

Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County is the chief advocate of the arts and cultural sector in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Arts Council’s goal is to serve as a leader in lifting up, creating awareness, and providing support to grow and sustain the arts and cultural offerings throughout our region, ultimately bringing our community together and making it a great place to live, work and play. More at intothearts.org.


About the Thomas S. Kenan Institute

The Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts was established in 1993 to strengthen the arts by initiating and incubating new ideas within the various constituencies and settings of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). The Kenan Institute believes that artists can contribute their creative ideas, visionary leadership and novel strategies to strengthen our culture, build businesses and generate innovative ideas. The Kenan Institute advances this vision by fostering new knowledge, developing capacity and forging strategic alliances across the arts and other sectors. More at uncsa.edu/kenan.


About United Health Centers

United Health Centers (UHC) provide equitable care that builds healthier communities and is committed to ensuring access to high-quality, affordable, comprehensive healthcare for all residents of Forsyth County, regardless of their insurance status or their ability to pay. UHC began as an outgrowth of community organizing activities led by Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods, and six neighborhood associations in southeastern Winston-Salem in 2003. Community leaders from Morningside, Southside, Waughtown Street, Easton, Flatrock and Belview neighborhoods identified healthcare as a critical need to sustain a healthy neighborhood. Today, UHC has grown into a medical home for thousands of residents and is Forsyth County’s only Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). UHC is proud to provide comprehensive medical, dental, and behavioral health services to individuals and families who would not otherwise have access to care.

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