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What if we reconceive health as CULTURALLY created? 

Since 2012, artist innovation group IDEAS xLab (IDEAS), has been designing creative approaches to improve health with a singular philosophy: Health is culturally created. 

Pioneers of social innovation, IDEAS transforms how people use the creative process. Through a distinct development model which offers a unique artist training program, IDEAS enters into partnerships with universities and health sector professionals to connect arts and humanities-based programming to population health outcomes through science. 

The driving purpose behind IDEAS is to shift culture, advocate for policy change and find new ways for communities to H.E.A.L. 

  • Health: Understanding it as a cultural and political expression.  

  • Equity: Encouraging civic engagement to create a more open, inclusive society. 

  • Art: Conceiving and advancing new narratives through a humanities-based lens. 

  • Learning: Designing intergenerational, experiential approaches to ignite hope and action in a new generation of creative, passionate civic and health sector leaders. 

Through 2021, Project HEAL will enable artists and cultural producers to create a portfolio of contemporary policy initiatives to shape health equity. Implementation sites stretch from where atrocities were enacted upon enslaved people in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi, through Kentucky and North Carolina and reaching north to the last station on the Underground Railroad in Wilmington, Delaware.  

Project HEAL Planned Sites 

Project HEAL Planned Sites 


Project HEAL Initiatives Include:

One Poem at a Time: spoken word artist Hannah Drake developed an initiative focused on limiting predatory advertising in low income census tracts with high levels of health disparities.  (Louisville, KY ).

One Poem at a Time: spoken word artist Hannah Drake developed an initiative focused on limiting predatory advertising in low income census tracts with high levels of health disparities.  (Louisville, KY ).

Hero+Shero Journeys: in a math and science magnet school in Kentucky's oldest African American neighborhood, hip hop artist/teacher Christopher Rasheed is developing an in-class artist residency program to engage 6-8th grade students with data science and environmental justice to explore the potential for turning a middle school into a cultural hub for health policy innovation. (Louisville, KY).

Hero+Shero Journeys: in a math and science magnet school in Kentucky's oldest African American neighborhood, hip hop artist/teacher Christopher Rasheed is developing an in-class artist residency program to engage 6-8th grade students with data science and environmental justice to explore the potential for turning a middle school into a cultural hub for health policy innovation. (Louisville, KY).

Smoketown Life|Line Project: sculptor Andrew Cozzens generated dialogue with community members to understand the impact of collective trauma and to visualize the multi-dimensional impact of poverty in a new way. The project is being featured in the Public Health Department's 2017 Health Equity Report. (Louisville, KY).

Smoketown Life|Line Project: sculptor Andrew Cozzens generated dialogue with community members to understand the impact of collective trauma and to visualize the multi-dimensional impact of poverty in a new way. The project is being featured in the Public Health Department's 2017 Health Equity Report. (Louisville, KY).