Last year Aetna launched a new campaign asking people “What’s Your Healthy?” to inspire people to make healthier choices when it came to food, exercise, hobbies, and other life choices. When we were asked that question, we thought long and hard and decided that Hartford’s healthy was art. After all, it’s in our name! Aetna has long been a supporter of the arts in the Greater Hartford community, and it only makes sense since art and health go hand in hand. Art reduces stress. Art can lower blood pressure. Art has been used in Alzheimer’s and dementia therapy. We could go on and on, but you understand what we’re saying. Art is our healthy, and Aetna reinforces that fact by practicing what it preaches.
This month Aetna employees had the opportunity to show off their artistic sides during the Aetna Employee Art Show featured in the cafeteria gallery. I must say, the artwork created by the employees was fantastic! The blending of colors, the variety of techniques and art forms, and the beauty they depict is just breathtaking. The Arts Council was there yesterday to highlight the Employee Art Show with local guitarist, Jesse Combs, and to encourage other employees to take a look during their lunchtime. Their reactions continued to reflect our thoughts– “this is amazing!”
It was only fitting that while we were there, we were encouraging employees to sign up for a new employee-driven art project called “Work of Art” so that they too could create and display their own creations. This unique project comes as a result of the long-standing partnership between Aetna and the Greater Hartford Arts Council, which is focused on delivering community-based arts experiences to those who live and work in Greater Hartford. This revised partnership program entitled “Work of Art” retains this critical community component, reflecting the creative spirit of Greater Hartford and positioning Aetna as a leader in the arts-business partnership movement, both on a local and national level. This program, again, reinforces Aetna’s “What’s Your Healthy?” campaign by proving that arts are Hartford’s healthy– driving the local economy, educating children and families, and improving quality of life.
So how will this creative and collaborative opportunity work? The Greater Hartford Arts Council will work with local artist, Nina Salazar, to create new artwork to be displayed in the hallways of Aetna’s campus. Aetna employees, and even some of their student mentees from the local programs and schools, will work together in a set-up similar to a paint night. Nina will guide the participants through the creative process, learning how to reproduce a picture onto a smaller canvas with paint. The key to this project, however, is the team-building nature of actually creating the picture. Each individual’s canvas is merely a small square of a larger picture, so that when the group’s canvases are completed they fit together to create a full picture of an iconic Hartford scene such as the Sailor’s and Soldiers Arch. Participants must be creative, but also must work together to be sure their lines match up, despite not knowing from the beginning what the completed picture will ultimately be. This technique is called “grid art” and you will be able to see it take shape from beginning to end. Stay tuned through our blog here, as well as Facebook and Twitter through #aetnacares to see how the project takes shape! Through it all you’ll see how art truly is Aetna–and Hartford’s–healthy!