HELENA – Research shows viewing and creating art provides a positive diversion, inspires hope and contributes to a healing atmosphere. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) hopes a $50,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® grant to the Holter Healing Arts Program will extend the health benefits of art to a broader population.
“My heart is racing a thousand miles an hour,” Chris Riccardo, Executive Director of the Holter Museum of Art said after receiving the grant. “We strongly believe that art can help heal. It has taken us four years of careful collaboration with our partners and it’s so exciting to see people benefit from these programs.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana’s Corey Palmer, left, presents the Holter Museum of Art's Chris Riccardo with a $50,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant Tuesday in Helena.
The Holter created Operation Healing Arts in 2014 as the umbrella for all Healing Arts Programs, developed to address the health of the human body and spirit through the presence of art, artists and art experiences. The Holter launched the Healing Arts Program in partnership with St. Peter’s Health in 2019 with the vision to introduce it to other healthcare facilities and institutions throughout Helena and Montana.
The Healing Arts Program currently consists of four components: a Holter Mini-Museum, Maker Stations, Holter Art Cart and a Mobile Museum Onsite. The collaborative between the Holter Museum and St. Peters is intended to benefit patients, caregivers, medical staff and the community at large.
“This grant will allow us to expand our healing arts programming,” Riccardo said. “St. Peter’s is already asking for more art carts and more maker stations. Other health organizations in town are seeing what is happening and they want to be involved. We want to help connect more people in our community. We couldn’t do it without this grant.”
Officials initially plan to expand opportunities at St. Peter’s before growing beyond Helena. Ultimately, the hope is that the program helps address the need for low cost alternatives to treat anxiety, depression and other illnesses.
HKHF is a signature program of BCBSMT and part of an ongoing commitment to invest in and partner with like-minded nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families in the five following areas: nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management, substance abuse prevention, and suicide prevention. The $50,000 HKHF grant is one of four BCBSMT awards each year.
“The Holter Museum has been at the forefront of exploring the healing power of the arts,” said John Doran, Divisional Vice President of External Affairs at BCBSMT. “Together with St. Peter’s Hospital, the Holter is proving that emotional healing through art can also speed physical healing. It’s a concept we are eager to see come to life here in Helena.”
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSMT is the largest and longest-standing statewide, customer-owned health insurer and full-service health benefits administrator in Montana. BCBSMT believes that Montana consumers and employers deserve the best of both worlds — access to quality, cost-effective health care and superior customer service from a company that focuses solely on members. BCBSMT has provided high-quality health insurance plans and administrative services to Montanans for nearly 80 years. BCBSMT is committed to ensuring its members — no matter where they are on the health spectrum — achieve maximum health. BCBSMT’s mission is to stand with its members in sickness and in health. BCBSMT’s website is www.bcbsmt.com.
About Holter Museum of Art
The Holter Museum inspires, connects and heals our community through temporary and innovative arts programming. The museum brings national/international exhibitions into the region, provides a much-needed venue for local and regional artists and collects and preserves regional artworks in its permanent collection. The Holter is committed to promoting participation of diverse audiences through outreach, educational programming, and collaboration with other organizations. The Holter’s website is www.holtermuseum.org.