Voya, formerly known as ING, has done it again! For the 7th year, Voya held a 5k run/walk around their Windsor campus to support the Greater Hartford Arts Council and over 150 arts, heritage, and cultural organizations in our communities during their Workplace Campaign. Though the rain on Thursday postponed the race to Friday, the weather could not have been more perfect for an end-of-the-work-week 5k. Over 70 employees participated through donating, running, walking, and volunteering. They decorated their “Dash for the Arts” t-shirts to show their support and creativity, and then they took off for the finish line!
Voya’s annual 5k for the arts reminds us that the arts and health go hand-in-hand. Health isn’t necessarily only about exercise and eating right, but also about feeding our mind. Recent studies have shown just how effective art can be as a therapy for patients dealing with a number of ailments. A recent NBC article about artwork in the Cleveland Clinic highlighted how art installations in the hospital can create a “natural focal point and an incentive to walk,” while other patients found the artwork as a calming distraction from their surroundings. Our 100 Pearl Gallery recently hosted an exhibit in partnership with Hebrew Health Care that showcased the artwork of Alzheimer’s patients. The benefits of Zentangles, a doodling type of art therapy, and other creative outlets are astounding. As Pamela Atwood, Director of Dementia Services at Hebrew Health Care, showed us, these creative processes can improve concentration and coordination. It can even go as far as to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Art therapy is also being used to assist children who have experienced a traumatic event or are going through extensive treatment for illnesses to help them to express their feelings and work through their experiences.
While employees from Voya may have simply enjoyed the team-building or stress-relieving aspects of decorating team shirts for the 5k, it is imperative for us to remember the far-reaching benefits of the arts. Not only have these employees assisted in raising unrestricted funds for organizations large and small throughout our region, but they have also done their part to keep our community vibrant. The programs and efforts of the Arts Council and these organizations are incredibly significant as they benefit our communities’ health, as well as our own.