About TAO

Our Mission:  To enhance wellness in people with special needs or circumstances, through the healing power of 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 2015, more than 250 artists shared their performances and abilities with upwards of 5,000 people at assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, residential programs, homeless shelters and other organizations through Tidewater Arts Outreach.

Help us continue to share arts for healing by volunteering, sponsoring or donating today.