Out of the Box: Positive Development and Social Change through the Arts

“Out of the Box: Positive Development and Social Change through the Arts” has been published online by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, as part of its as part of its Kinder and Braver World Series.  The piece, written for the lay public by Ping Ho, talks about UCLArts and Healing’s flagship evidence-based project Beat the Odds: Social and Emotional Skill Building Delivered in a Framework of Drumming as a case study to share with others how to maximize social-emotional benefits and youth access for those interested in developing arts programs.  Ho_-_2012_-_Out_of_the_Box_-_Positive_Development_and_Social_Change_Through_the_Arts

The recent national tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut underscores the need for innovative programs for social-emotional well-being.  The arts allow individual expression within the context of community.  Their nonverbal element makes them accessible to persons of diverse abilities.  The process of creative expression evokes unconscious information that, when reflected upon and shared, can facilitate emotional well-being, build empathy, and deepen social connections.  Had there been an art therapist on staff to process the disturbing middle school art work of the student responsible for the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, perhaps the whole cataclysm could have been averted.