Arts and Healing

Creative arts therapies are based on the premise that when someone works creatively under the guidance of a qualified therapist, they become more expressive and communicative. This raises their awareness of issues and brings impetus for change.

The creative work can involve music, art, dance, movement, and other creative activities. By engaging both hemispheres of the brain, the arts foster creative expression of the body’s energy and wisdom, the mind’s ideas and the heart’s emotions, and can often facilitate profound overall healing.

Understanding this phenomenon, healthcare systems are beginning to invest in the arts to support the healing process for patients, their families and the broader community.


Arts and healing are intrinsically woven throughout many of the courses offered by the Center. For nearly two decades, students and the general public have been able to select from a wide variety of offerings.


Dr. Heiderscheit received the 2010 A. Marilyn Sime Fellowship that provided time to develop a portfolio of research in arts and healing focused on music as an intervention. She is currently researching the feasibility of using a relaxation DVD featuring images of nature and soothing sounds of the Native American flute (“Healing Garden” by Center Senior Fellow Craig Blacklock) with hospitalized patients.

This project is testing patients’ willingness to incorporate this tool into their healing and ongoing self-care. Previous research projects have investigated the use of patient-selected music to reduce anxiety, agitation, and stress with patients supported by mechanical ventilation, as well as to manage stress and anxiety with eating disorder patients during mealtime.

In 2013, an article about Dr. Heiderscheit’s research on music listening intervention was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).


The Center has created strategic collaborations with local artists and healthcare systems to further arts and healing work in the community and beyond.


  • TigerLion Arts to bring The Buddha Prince and Nature, both innovative “walking” plays, to the Twin Cities community.
  • World-acclaimed photographer Craig Blacklock to produce Wellscapes, a series of multi-media sensory experiences.
  • Dr. Heiderscheidt has a clinical practice within the Melrose Eating Disorder Program and within the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.

Partner with Us