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Winston-Salem and Forsyth County 1 of 18 U.S. Communities Holding Arts for EveryBody Events on July 27

Updated: Jun 24

Winston-Salem and Forsyth County is 1 of 18 communities across the United States selected to be part of a national initiative called Arts For EveryBody. The initiative, announced in September 2023 and designed to bring together artists, civic leaders, and community health providers to foster healthier communities, will hold events in all 18 communities on Saturday, July 27.


Led by local arts and health leaders, Winston-Salem and Forsyth County’s July 27 event will be held at United Health Centers, located at 2101 Peters Creek Parkway in the Marketplace Mall, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.


The local July 27 event is called “Creative Wellness Community Day” and will include traditional West African dance and djembe drumming, interactive creative spaces for youth and families, food trucks, and live performances highlighting local artists in a variety of disciplines. Free health screenings will be provided in addition to various health resource vendors, all in celebration of Winston-Salem’s commitment to health and wellness through the arts.


“Arts For EveryBody marks a true breakthrough moment in the relationship between the arts and health in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and in the other 17 participating communities,” Winston-Salem and Forsyth County’s Arts For EveryBody Program Manager of Events and Production Stephanie Hurt said. “Three inaugural neighborhoods in our area were identified to participate in the Arts for EveryBody initiative—Happy Hill, Boston Thurmond, and Cleveland Avenue.”


Hurt said Arts for EveryBody identified mental wellbeing as the Winston-Salem and Forsyth County focus, because many in our community experience barriers to accessing physical and behavioral health providers. The July 27 event in Winston-Salem will serve as springboard for future activities focused on mental health and wellness.


Programs in all 18 communities are being led by local artists, municipal officials and community health leaders, who are working together to create large-scale participatory arts projects that advance health, equity and community connections. In Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, the key collaborating organizations include five entities:  Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County, City of Winston-Salem Neighborhood Services, Forsyth County Health and Human Services, Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and United Health Centers.


“At a moment in time when Americans face acute challenges to their individual and collective wellbeing, Arts For EveryBody will prove how the arts can lead to healthier people and healthier communities,” Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Arts For EveryBody Program Manager for Strategic Planning and Research Issis Kelly Pumarol, MD said. “Arts for EveryBody is a celebration of unity and diversity through the arts. From Winston-Salem to Seattle, from Providence to Honolulu and all across America, the July 27 events will be an outpouring of local joy that brings together people and communities to foster wellbeing and health.”


In addition to Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, other communities that are part of the Arts For EveryBody cohort are Chicago; Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), Chicago; Edinburg, Texas; Gainesville, Florida; Harlan County, Kentucky; Hawai’i Island, Hawaii; Honolulu, Hawaii; Kansas City, Missouri; Oakland, California; Phillips County, Arkansas; Providence, Rhode Island; Rhinelander, Wisconsin; Seattle, Washington; The Bronx, New York; Tucson, Arizona; Utica, Mississippi and Washington, DC.


Arts For EveryBody is led by One Nation/One Project, a national arts and health initiative designed to activate the power of the arts to help repair the social fabric of America and heal the country’s communities. Participating in the arts reduces stress and loneliness, which are risk factors for a wide range of ailments, including hypertension and heart disease.


Arts for EveryBody is supported by research showing the substantial health benefits of arts participation, including a 63% lower risk of dementia, benefits comparable to weekly exercise, improved physical and mental health, and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, older adults who participate in the arts report a 48% lower risk of depression. There are also social benefits—young adults are more likely to stay in school and four out of five young adults who had arts rich experiences are more likely to vote.

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