Art therapy

Art therapy
Health and Well-Being
Survey-style laboratory

Art Therapy by Create.Act.Enjoy is a socio-cultural project that provides people in hospitals with recreational activities performed by professional artists, with the support of volunteers.

The working methods proposed by them complement the classical therapy and rely on the fact that well-being is given, in addition to material satisfaction, by a balanced emotional and mental state and a social life that allows access to culture.

The activities they carry out in hospitals stimulate the development of interdisciplinary approaches through the intertwining of arts - theater and performance, music, manual art, virtual reality, film and photography, actively involving patients, relatives and healthcare professionals.

Main results and impacts produced by the initiative on the selected MESOC crossover themes

In 2019, when they had 8 hospitals in the project, more than 15,000 people aged between 3 and 90 years were among beneficiaries of the activities, from performative visits created with actors, to creative workshops (theatre and improvisation, painting, collage, handmade crafts, music, VR travels), concerts, installing permanent creative spots in the hospitals, over 30 artists and over 70 volunteers were involved in the project. In 2020, they had 5 weeks of activities (August - September), including creating customized reading spots (15) in the hospitals, with more than 400 books donated, 4 open air concerts, interactive drawing installations, connecting 62 patients in risk of solitude with 30 trained volunteers via phone and more. At the start of the pandemic, they created and distributed graphic illustrations for the medical employees with the correct way to put on and get off the protection equipment (it was a confusing time, when the information was scarce and/or completely missing and the available videos were too long and not specific or catchy enough). Also, they had a campaign to express gratitude to the medical crew in which they created illustrations with the help of visual artists. Five of those illustrations were chosen and are now installed as 1 meter canvas in the hospitals partners in the Art Therapy Project by Create.Act.Enjoy.

Each edition of the project brings something completely new. For instance, since 2015 they included the art of conversations as part of the project, with trained volunteers having wonderful talks with patients during the weekends. In 2018 they started the VR travel workshops for hospital patients, in 2019 they experimented with replicating the project outside its hometown, in 2020 they transformed the project oriented towards a direct human interaction into a project oriented towards a lack of contact, mainly due to pandemic safety rules, while still keeping its essence. In 2023, the organization was awarded by AFCN with a national-recognized prize for their Resistance in culture, and their continuous activities carried out for over 10 years, contributing to the configuration of the Romanian cultural scene.

Other relevant impacts

  • Cultural innovation;
  • Expanding the use of professional skills of artists;
  • Creating a community among hospital workers, artists and the local people that can get involved as donors or volunteers.

In 2019 the project was transgressing its local borders to other cities from Romania, namely Alba Iulia and Râmnicu Vâlcea.

Elements that contributed to the generation of these impacts

  • Contextual and exogenous conditions: the challenge for young artists fresh out of university to find jobs has created the motivation for them to invent their own jobs and so this was the birth for the Art Therapy project and then the NGO Create.Act.Enjoy. Actually, the first edition of the project was called Create.Act.Enjoy and the NGO followed after. The lack of recreational activities in hospitals to support the well-being of patients has given this project the chance to prove its effectiveness, to gain and keep hospital partners over the years.
  • Specific resources allocated: the first edition resulted after a call of projects directed to employ artists in the benefit of hospitals. Finding sufficient grants and sponsorships for each annual edition is always a great challenge, but the project made it to its 8th edition nonetheless.
  • Typology of program implemented: participatory activity, art therapy, audience co-creation or co-programming, volunteer engagement.