About TAO

Our mission is to bring joy to older adults and those living in isolating circumstances to enhance their well-being through creative engagement with the arts.

Arts for Healing

Tidewater Arts Outreach shares the joy and healing power of quality arts experiences with people who have limited access to the arts due to health, economic or social circumstances.  We do this through:

  • Training –  We lead workshops on arts for healing that share best practices with caregivers, we also mentor and support caregivers and community artists, and provide online, multi-media resources.
  • Advocacy –  Staff present regularly to community groups and we blog and share e-news and research on arts for healing and the benefits of arts engagement for elders and for those with special needs.
  • Outreach –  We match community artists with opportunities to share their arts for healing, and we administer a volunteer program that allows compassionate community members to serve.

Study after study, documents the tremendous benefits of the arts for healing. “The arts can be used to heal both clinically as preventive medicines in mental health and for those suffering physically from illness,” hospice pioneer Wilma Bulkin Siegel, M.D., said  (2009 State of the Field Report: Arts in Healthcare).

Engaging in an artistic activity — whether it’s dance, painting, singing, or simply clapping along to the music – can have a powerful positive impact, including:

  • Reduced anxiety, pain, depression, and fatigue
  • Enhanced connection to community
  • Better relationships between staff and patients
  • Higher levels of involvement in other activities
  • Increased feelings of connection and individuality
  • Humanizing individuals by helping them reach beyond their diseases or circumstances

In 2019, more than 56 artists engaged more than 4,000 participants in creative programs at community centers, museums, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, day programs, homeless shelters and other community settings.  Hundreds of caregivers learned about arts engagement for older adults through our workshops.  We advocated for the benefits of the arts for people with special needs on local, regional and state levels.

Help us continue to share arts for healing by volunteering, sponsoring or investing in our work today.