In an effort to address health issues in some underserved neighborhoods, a private health foundation worked with the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) to develop profiles of cultural treasures for four communities. This resulted in a series of maps of cultural treasures on a web portal that also includes information about local services, Healthy City.
As part of the Healthy City project, ACTA created more than just a series of maps. Understanding the rich cultural resources about which local communities care served as a valuable starting point for developing local relationships and engaging the community on public health issues to help improve health-related outcomes. The ACTA project team conducted interviews, created videos about local cultural treasures, and organized events. These activities showcased these treasures and engaged the community in participatory arts and cultural practices such as painting, song, and dance; all while weaving in information about ongoing policy campaigns to reduce health inequities.
This project resulted in hundreds of community members gaining new access to health resources while building up social capital with their neighbors and developing positive new associations leaders of the initiative. Art became a way in. As Amy Kitchener, Executive Director of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, explains, “When people are being creative, their guard is down and their hearts are open. As a result, they are more open to new ideas and receiving this information.”
Key partner: Alliance for California Traditional Arts