A Healthier Wisconsin

Metcalfe Park Arts and Health Initiative

Establishing a connection between arts and health in underserved communities

Full Project Name:Metcalfe Park Arts and Health InitiativePrimary Community Organization:Metcalfe Park Community BridgesPrimary Academic Partner:David Nelson, PhD, Family MedicineAward Amount:$200,000
Award Date
Project Duration:18 months

Project Description Narrative:

Milwaukee is the most segregated city of its size in the country, with high unemployment and incarceration rates in Black communities. The goals, objectives, and activities proposed for this community-led project will show through mixed methods research that access to arts and culture—a source of inspiration, self-expression, emotional engagement, and joy—is part of the solution for creating systemic changes that ensure all residents of Milwaukee have the potential to thrive.

Through targeted research and concentrated arts and culture investment in Metcalfe Park, project team members will gather data that establishes the connection between arts and public health and elevates arts and culture as a data-informed means to improve individual and community well-being. This can inform neighborhood planning and funding advocacy for under-resourced communities of Milwaukee—and elsewhere in Wisconsin where health equity is an issue.

The project will measure how access to arts and creativity resources is essential to building stronger, healthier, and more equitable communities. Arts access, education, and programming directly impact individual and communal health and quality-of-life outcomes.

Researchers will work in partnership with community members in Metcalfe Park (90.8% Black with a median household income of $19,458), where they have established, long-term relationships. Metcalfe Park leaders are interested in measuring the effect of arts and culture on joy to further their own work and to reframe how mental health is measured in the community.

Community partners: Imagine MKE, Metcalfe Park Community Bridges

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8701 W Watertown Plank Road,
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
(414) 955-4350