Arts on Prescription in the Baltic Sea Region
Arts on Prescription

Arts on prescription - from concept to reality

06 May 2024
From the animated concept to real life impressions of Art on Prescription programme participants.
Technical details


This following short animation video introduces the basic idea behind the Arts on Prescription (AoP) concept.

In short, Arts on Prescription is a non-clinical or non-therapeutic health programme in which people with mild to moderate mental health problems are referred to regular arts and cultural activities in a group setting – with the aim of improving people’s mental health and social interaction and thus increasing their general well-being.

Arts on Prescription programmes, which are offered by community-based organisations such as museums, adult education centres or cultural institutions, usually run for 8-12 weeks and take place 1-2 times a week. During this time, participants have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of creative group activities such as shared reading, painting classes, visual arts, singing, etc. Moreover, they get a break from the struggles of their daily lives, they can relief from stress, and they can build social connection.

This is also expressed by participants of currently running Arts on Prescription pilot programmes in Denmark, Germany, Poland, Latvia and Sweden in the frame of our Interreg BSR project “Arts on Prescription in the Baltic Sear Region” – co-funded by the European Union:

Getting out of the house, communicating with other people, changing the environment, traveling, seeing the nature on the way… of course it improves your well-being, could it be different? Especially at this age, and like us, from the retirement home, all these hours that you spend here [in the Arts on Prescription classes at the museums of Cēsis county], you feel good, and there are lots of young people all around here.

– Pēteris Danilis, participant of Museums on Prescription, Cēsis

This programme brought remarkable changes in my life. I found motivation for something new, which I’ve never tried to do on my own; a motivation to seek a permanent job, too, which I have always aspired to in my life. It’s worth trying, as it’s never too late to try. Something new, something yet untried, and something special.

– Asnata Žēpere, participant of Museums on Prescription, Cēsis

See also the following video footage with more impressions from organisers and participants of the Museums on Prescription Programme in Cēsis, Latvia, organised as part of the “Arts on Prescription in the Baltic Sea Region” project.

While similar Arts on Prescription concepts have been tested in other countries like Canada, Australia, the USA, and is now even widely used in healthcare provision in the UK, it is still largely unknown in other EU countries. There remains a lack of perception and knowledge about how to set up, organise and integrate such concepts and related art and cultural programmes into existing health care systems. Here, more and new collaboration between the culture and health sector, as well as targeted guidance and training for health care practitioners, arts and culture professionals and public authorities of both sectors is needed – revealed also by our interim evaluation results of the first piloting cycle.

To overcome these challenges, our Interreg BSR project developed an Arts on Prescription programme model (see also more characteristics of the Baltic model in this article) that is based on state-of-the-art evidence and experience, and can be adapted to other local context and public health systems. Furthermore, an upcoming online practitioners guide will include how-to-guides, fact sheets, lessons learned and audiovisual guidance for programme coordinators, culture and arts facilitators, and decision-makers on various aspects of setting up an Arts on Prescription programme. Stay tuned!