2019 GIA Conference
Cultural Intersections
Denver, CO  |  October 13–16

The Arts & Mental Wellbeing

Prototypes & partnerships in K-12 public education

Monday, October 14, 10:00am – 11:30am


Organized by Deb Morales, Arts Education coordinator, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.

Presented by Denise Grande, director of Arts Education, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture; Lilian Maldonado French, superintendent, Mountain View School District; Mimi Martinez McKay, M.A., M.L.I.S., deputy director, Strategic Communications, Los Angeles Department of Mental Health; and Alex M. Johnson, program director, The California Wellness Foundation and board member, LA County Office of Education & Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network.

In 2018, the Los Angeles County Arts Education Collective partnered with the County’s Department of Mental Health to use arts-based strategies to reduce risk factors and stressors that erode mental health, and to likewise strengthen protective factors, skills and supports that build resiliency among youth. Two integrated approaches emerged from this partnership: a) A macro-level teacher professional development strategy is equipping thousands of teachers with the skills and resources to provide social emotional learning through the arts to K-6th grade students; and b) A micro-level community-based strategy that is establishing communities of wellness within and around select high schools with high percentages of students involved in juvenile justice, foster care systems, and/or affected by homelessness. A conversation and open discussion will examine how arts-based, healing-informed learning promotes social emotional development. Participants will learn about ways that mental health and arts practitioners are working in partnership with school settings to bolster student wellbeing and improve school climate using community-based arts resources. The session will underscore the vital and vibrant role of the arts in promoting student mental health, and it will ask participants to consider ways that philanthropy can leverage and accelerate these kinds of efforts.