The Metropolitan Museum of Art David H. Koch Plaza © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A panel discussion will explore the role and impact of the arts on health care and well-being, and a special presentation by the Pandemic as Portal Collective will introduce an artists-led response to the pandemic on the Navajo Nation in Arizona

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the World Health Organization (WHO) Arts and Health Program announced a live-streamed event on Sunday, September 19, from noon to 2 p.m., to open Healing Arts New York, a city-wide engagement that will consider how the arts will become the new frontier in health, care, and well-being. The virtual event, which is co-hosted by The Met and the WHO Arts and Health Program, is produced by CULTURUNNERS in partnership with the Creative Arts Therapies Consortium at NYU Steinhardt and the NeuroArts Blueprint, an initiative of the International Arts + Mind Lab at John Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Health, Medicine and Society Program at The Aspen Institute. Additionally, on Sunday, November 14, The Met will host the daylong Healing Arts Symposium from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., which will include both virtual and in-person discussions and special performances.

The virtual launch event on September 19 will be centered around a panel of key stakeholders from academia, culture, and health care and will aim to advance relationships between education, research, practice, and policy in the arts and health. Remarks by Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of The Met, and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, will be followed by a guided exercise in healing breath by soprano and arts health advocate Renée Fleming. A panel conversation will be hosted by Heidi Holder, The Met’s Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chair of Education, and Christopher Bailey, Arts and Health Lead at the WHO, and chaired by William Haseltine, Chair and President of ACCESS Health International. Panelists include Jill Sonke (Director, Center for Arts in Medicine, University of Florida), Injonge Karangwa (Chief Organizer, Hamwe Festival, University of Global Health Equity), Jonathan McCrory (Artistic Director, National Black Theatre), Yazmany Arboleda (Public Artist in Residence, New York City Civic Engagement Commission), Nisha Sajnani (Associate Professor and Director, Drama Therapy Program, NYU Creative Arts Therapies Consortium), and Ed Vaizey (Former Minister of Culture and Digital, United Kingdom), and they will examine how best to advance relationships between research, practice, and policy in the arts and health. Susan Magsamen (Executive Director, International Arts + Mind Lab, John Hopkins University School of Medicine) will also introduce the NeuroArts Blueprint, a strategic action plan designed to strengthen the scientific research on how the arts can improve health and well-being.

Following the panel on September 19, a presentation by Pandemic as Portal Collective will address the COVID-19 health-care emergency among Arizona’s Navajo Nation. Led by artist-physician Chip Thomas and artists Rylin Becenti, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Esther Belin, and Kate Deciccio, the collective will ask how Indigenous art and culture can play a leading role in healing individuals, communities, and societies both now and in the future.

Throughout the fall, there will be a number of events as part of Healing Arts New York, including film premieres, artist commissions, research programs, and special conversations with thought leaders. The Healing Arts Symposium at The Met on November 14 will mark the closing of the city-wide initiative, and this first-of-its-kind symposium will convene key artists, health-care workers, researchers, and policy makers to discuss global arts and health research, practice, and policy implementation. For the full list of Healing Arts New York programming, visit the CULTURUNNERS website.

These events are free and open to the general public.

These events will be produced in accordance with institutional and city COVID-19 protocols to ensure the health and safety of presenters.

More information on The Met’s comprehensive health and safety procedures can be found on

Events at The Met are made possible by gifts to the Education Department in honor of the Museum’s 150th anniversary.

About The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens—businessmen and financiers as well as leading artists and thinkers of the day—who wanted to create a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. Today, The Met displays tens of thousands of objects covering 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The Museum lives in two iconic sites in New York City—The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters. Millions of people also take part in The Met experience online. Since its founding, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the Museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing both new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures.

About the World Health Organization (WHO) Arts and Health Program

The World Health Organization works with 194 Member States across six regions and from more than 150 offices to achieve better health for everyone, everywhere. The WHO’s Arts & Health Program advances research on the physical, mental, and social health benefits of the arts through collaboration with academic, policy, and cultural partners around the world.


CULTURUNNERS is an independent platform for cross-cultural campaigns, exhibitions, films, and live events—promoting pluralism, peace building, and sustainable development through art. Launched at MIT in 2014, CULTURUNNERS prioritizes artists-led projects that transform communities, societies, and systems and foster greater empathy across ideological and geographical borders. In 2020, CULTURUNNERS established The Future is Unwritten to facilitate cooperation between the international arts sector and United Nations Agencies, and under that premise launched Healing Arts in collaboration with the WHO Arts and Health Program.

About the NYU Creative Arts Therapies Consortium

The NYU Creative Arts Therapies Consortium is located in the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions in the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Founded in 1890 as the first school of pedagogy in the United States, today NYU Steinhardt advances the education, health, and well-being of people and communities around the world by fostering knowledge, creativity, and innovation at the crossroads of culture, education, and human development.

About the NeuroArts Blueprint

The NeuroArts Blueprint is building a community of researchers, practitioners, and other allies who understand the imperative of using art as a science-based tool to advance our collective health and well-being.