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ARTS AND WELLNESS IN THE COMMUNITY By Naomi Wright

I N PA RT N E R S H I P W I T H

CITY OF DURHAM | COUNTY OF DURHAM | DUKE UNIVERSITY | DUKE UNIVERSITY HEALTH SYSTEM | DURHAM CAN | DURHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS DURHAM CONGREGATIONS IN ACTION | GREATER DURHAM CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | INTERDENOMINATIONAL MINISTERIAL ALLIANCE LINCOLN COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER | PROJECT ACCESS OF DURHAM COUNTY | PARTNERSHIP FOR A HEALTHY DURHAM TRIANGLE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION | THE INSTITUTE

DURHAM ARTS COUNCIL Durham Arts Council is one of many organizations that has suffered significant budget cuts. It will continue to feel those effects through the end of the year, says Executive Director Sherry DeVries. When the nonprofit set up its Arts Recovery Fund in March, some 70 applicants responded and reported $1.9 million in revenue losses. Although much of DAC’s normal programming is not currently feasible, it remains committed to its mission. “Arts recovery in our community is likely to take a very long time since most arts activities and events involve larger groups of people,” Sherry says. “DAC will do all it can to support our arts sector and help arts organizations, arts businesses and individual artists recover and rebuild.” Before the pandemic, DAC hadn’t offered virtual programming. But they made that pivot, and Sherry couldn’t be prouder of her team for rising to the challenge. DAC’s virtual classes provide temporary solutions to its declining revenue, and they have also gained popularity. “Since our virtual classes have been successful so far, we

Arts & Health at Duke performing artist-in-residence William Dawson plays the piano in the lobby of the Duke Children’s Health Center.

PHOTO BY JARED LAZARUS/DUKE UNIVERSITY

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anticipate that we will continue with a mix of both on-site and virtual programs in the future, particularly for high-risk populations,” Sherry says.

ven as the pandemic still looms over our community, art continues to flourish. Organizations like Arts & Health at Duke, the African American Dance Ensemble (AADE) and the Durham Arts Council (DAC) continue to provide hope, inspiration and an escape from the realities of COVID-19.

ARTS & HEALTH AT DUKE As an institution working within Duke Health, Arts & Health at Duke felt the impact of COVID-19 on a different level – an operational one. The four-person staff, while small, allowed the program to focus on the needs of the people they serve and meet patients where they are. “We are not approaching art as, say, a museum would,” Program Manager Sharon Swanson says. “Everything we do is very approachable.” For example, when patients began requesting coloring books, the program leveraged in-house graphic artist Bill Gregory’s skills to create a collection based on Duke Chapel’s stained glass windows and the flora found around Duke Health’s campus. They have strategically staged art kits in units to help A mosaic of children’s art work created during the “Brilliant Barundi” cut down on unnecessary contact. summer camp hosted by the Durham Arts Council.

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