UNCW Hosts Hooked on Arts to Raise Awareness About the Healing Power of the Arts

UNCW Hosts Hooked on Arts to Raise Awareness About the Healing Power of the Arts 

Origami, personal vision boards, ballroom dancing demonstrations, sidewalk chalking…these were just a few of the activities present during the inaugural Hooked on Arts street fair held on Kenan Lawn at UNCW on July 14 and 15.

The event, a collaboration between the UNCW Office of the Arts, the UNCW Office of Community Engagement and the College of Health and Human Services, was created as an addition to the Office of the Arts’ Annual Lumina Arts Festival. This year, the partnership with the College of Health and Human Services represented a true interprofessional collaboration as Hooked on Arts sought to raise awareness about the healing power of the arts in the recovery process from substance misuse and addiction. Created by Paula Basiden, a lecturer in the School of Nursing, Hooked on Arts offered opportunities to experience hands-on arts projects in order to feel the power of free expression that comes with tapping into our own creativity. Baisden says the power of the arts is “not dependent on a person's skill or talents because it's the process, not the final product, that can improve memory, reasoning and resilience.”

The family-friendly festival created a space for local artists to display and sell their work. Visitors also enjoyed face-painting, a musical instrument petting-zoo, jewelry making and food trucks to keep their appetites satisfied. Hooked on Arts also featured a sidewalk chalking competition. Participants registered to compete for an art supply gift card by creating a chalk masterpiece that corresponded to the theme of ‘Inspiration.’ Laura Walsh’s sea turtle drawing took the prize! A longtime community and university partner, LINC, Inc., was onsite to help educate attendees on their mission to educate and motivate youth to make positive life choices and to empower men and women returning from incarceration to be productive members of our community.

Kristen Brogden, director of UNCW Office of the Arts said of the event, “Hooked on Arts not only created a fun and festive block party feeling to kick of this year’s Lumina Festival, it also helped us highlight our community arts partners as well as UNCW’s ongoing collaboration with LINC. It’s a great example of how art can change lives.”

Of the event’s importance, CHHS Assistant Dean for Community Engagement Ashley Wells stated, “The opportunity to collaborate in a way that brought together health, healing and the arts was truly magical. We are grateful for our on-campus UNCW and external community partners for helping us to create and implement this event to help raise awareness of what the arts can do in the healing and recovery process.”

- Amy Mangus and Ashley Wells, August 2018