Healthy Artists and Healthy Communities
For twenty years, Minnesota-based Springboard for the Arts has offered professional development assistance and other resources to artists. In 2007, Springboard and Minnesota Citizens for the Arts conducted a statewide study of individual artists, Artists Count. Among other results, the survey revealed that artists in Minnesota are twice as likely to lack health insurance as the average citizen (15% versus 7.5%). This finding heightened Springboard’s interest in addressing health care issues for artists. The organization quickly realized that it could not reinvent the system of health care for artists in the state, but it could connect artists to a variety of existing services that they had not been fully utilizing.
With LINC support, Springboard organized an ongoing series of Artists’ Health Fairs to explain resources available in the state, and established a partnership with the Neighborhood Involvement Program to create a voucher plan offsetting artist-patients’ costs at participating medical and dental clinics. In addition, Springboard developed guides to health care and health insurance in Minnesota as well as Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Springboard also established an emergency relief fund to help artists with emergency medical bills. Since 2007, over 4,000 artists and their families have used the services of Springboard’s Artists’ Access to Health Care initiative. The program has become an inspiring model for other service organizations interested in increasing artists’ access to health care and health insurance, and organizations around the country are using Springboard’s Replication Toolkit to improve services to artists in their regions.www.springboardforthearts.org