Free State Arts and Health

Free State Arts and Health (FSAH) is a pioneering arts and health initiative operating in central South Africa. We support and design community-centred intermediations by arts workers to positively impact the health and well-being of the communities we work for. Using the arts, the project engages communities in arts practices and projects that address key health aspirations, understanding that good health is imperative in the creation of cohesive societies.

Our goals for the past few years were to create a working model on how to become an arts and health worker in South Africa and to redefine what arts and health practice are in the South African context. We are happy to announce that an arts and health toolkit has been published and is available on the Vrystaat Arts Festival’s website for download. This toolkit is the culmination of six years of experience, knowledge, and lived experience.

We aim to continue our great work by tackling issues relating to mental health, trans-gender issues, safe sex and contraceptives, and engage with key rural community issues such as kidney failure and diabetes, while still maintaining knowledge that has been successfully implemented in the prior six years.

In 2021, the FSAH programme will boast an exciting Virtual Mini Arts and Health Summit, which will focus on helping to bridge the isolation that is so greatly prevalent with arts and health practitioners, an arts and health workshop, and monthly arts and health online conversations on topics such as healing generational trauma to first nations and indigenous heritage.

With the help of key stakeholders and our partners (Vrystaat Arts Festival, PIAD, and DADAA Australia) the future of arts and health will be first nation, black and disability-led. Overall Free State Arts and Health is on the crux of breaking new ground in arts and health practice in Africa and we are very excited to see this breakthrough begin in central South Africa.