Salus per Artem

Art-therapy at the Parco archeologico del Colosseo

Care, Culture and Beauty: the healthy union between art and wellbeing, thanks to the commitment of MiBACT, institutes, doctors and associations of the third sector, is collecting more and more endorsements in Italy and abroad.

And here at PArCo we are increasingly convinced that art, in all its forms including dance, theatre, music, is synonymous with wellbeing: Beauty evokes emotions that can act on the mind even more than medicines, as stated by many neurologists. Pablo Picasso affirmed that “art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life“.

Museums and art, history and archaeology sites are now increasingly to be understood as cultural HUBS and equally as points of aggregation, social inclusion, work and therefore also of therapy, being able to really contribute to improving the lives of the sick.

Therefore, since the end of 2017 the Parco del Colosseo has wanted to give substance to the idea of culture as a factor of improvement in the quality of life, developing a series of ad hoc initiatives now gathered in the programme Salus per artem (Health trough art), which in turn is part of the great project Il PArCo fuori dal PArCo.

Since then, in the footsteps of the positive experience of Park-in-PArCo and as the public’s interest in the subject has grown, Salus per artem has become a programme with its own identity and structure, which will include all of the numerous initiatives of the PArCo in the field of art and wellness, currently underway and in development.

In the perspective of a PArCo for everyone, there are already equipped and accessible routes without barriers, as in the case of the tactile visit to the Palatine Museum enriched by tactile panels and reproductions of artefacts. This is the first of a series of itineraries for the blind and partially sighted, called “The PArCo in the hands” and in preparation in the Roman Forum, on the Palatine Hill and in the Colosseum, where tactile orientation and explanatory panels have been installed in the meantime, which are read and appreciated by all visitors. A first test was held on the occasion of the Family Day at the Museum in 2019, thanks to the participation of the Unione Italiana Ciechi e Ipovedenti di Roma (Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted) of Rome, with whom there are constant and frequent contacts for the organization of special visits.

In this convinced propensity towards art-therapy, the important agreement signed in 2019 with Komen Italia, an association that has been active for twenty years for the promotion of women’s health, has been included. An agreement that follows the memorandum of understanding between MiBACT and Komen signed in 2018, with the subject of “Art for prevention and research” and specifically aimed at raising women’s awareness of the vital importance of early diagnosis of cancer. Thus, in the coming months, informative seminars and demonstrations of the most recent therapeutic resources and periodic sessions of music therapy, Qi Gong, dynamic walking, art-therapy, mindfulness will be held.

In January 2020 an agreement was also signed with the Istituto Statale Sordi di Roma (State Institute for the Deaf) of Rome, with whom we have already had the opportunity to engage, again on the occasion of the F@Mu mentioned above. The protocol in this case provides for the activation from autumn 2020 of educational workshops for schools, specially structured to complete and integrate classroom training; workshops and visits for families, organized mainly on weekends and training courses for archaeological guides in LIS (Italian Sign Language), dedicated to the thematic paths available in the PArCo.

In the same period an agreement for guided tours and laboratories was signed with the non-profit association La Tenda, “which has been operating on the territory of the 5th Municipality of Rome since 1983 through projects, co-financed by the Province and the Lazio Region, with the aim of preventing and reducing the high level of social malaise in the area, paying particular attention to the problem of youth deviance and substance addiction“.

Also starting from autumn 2020, two other important initiatives for accessibility will be activated:

– project for people with intellectual disabilities, articulated 1) in the drafting of the first PArCo’s EASY TO READ GUIDE, consisting of cards issued according to the Easy-to-Read European standards, to allow groups and/or families with intellectual disabilities to visit independently and to facilitate the inclusion of this audience in groups, scholastic or not, in visits to the archaeological area and the Palatine Museum;  2) in guided TOURS and LABORATORIES conducted by specialised operators and aimed at raising awareness of the collections of the Palatine Museum, identifying at least 3 historical-archaeological topics therein “contained” to be developed and on which to focus practical activities.

– project for people with Alzheimer’s disease: the project is based on the consideration that “stigma (unfounded prejudice) is the greatest limit to the possibility for people to significantly improve their way of living with dementia… At the societal level, structural stigma and discrimination can affect the amount of funds to be allocated for treatment and care. We hope that the results obtained from this research can trigger reform and positive global change”: these are the words of Paola Barbarino, CEO of ADI-Alzheimer’s Disease International, on the occasion of World Alzheimer’s Day 2019.

In this context, the small, indeed very small contribution that PArCo can offer in this social mission is to begin to build a programme dedicated to people with this problem and their caregivers (family, carers, friends who look after them), starting a pilot project conceived ad hoc, inspired by the themes offered, for example, by the collection of the Palatine Museum.

“All Artforms are in the service of the greatest of all Arts: the Art of living”
(Bertold Brecht)

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The activities included in the Salus per Artem programme are carried out jointly by the Communication and Educational Services, in collaboration with the associations involved in the various projects.

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