Culture and art become powerful tools for the well-being of the over 65s, Parkinson’s patients and neurodivergent people. The “Cultural Welfare” project returns with which the CR Firenze Foundation, in collaboration with the Fresco Parkinson Institute, the L’Immaginario Cultural Association, the Versiliadanza Cultural Association and MUS.E, provides over 400 free activities, creating opportunities for socialization and new stimuli: dance, boxing, choir and art for Parkinson’s patients, slow guided tours for the over 65s and for neurodivergent people in Florentine museums. The 2024 edition has some new features: the new professional courses in choreography, dance and music aimed at both disabled artists and cultural workers who wish to train, thanks to new practices of supporting individuals with intellectual or physical disabilities.

“With this initiative we address the issue of both the aging population and that of loneliness and illness – he states Maria Oliva Scaramuzzi, Vice President of Fondazione CR Firenze –. The role of our institution requires priority attention to welfare activities, which see us supporting and in synergy with the main local institutions. In this case it is culture that generates well-being, in an extremely pleasant and innovative way.”

The Cultural Welfare 2024 program includes 3 different initiativeseach of which is entrusted to experts and specialists in the implementation of actions that consider culture as a regenerating factor and strategic lever to promote the well-being of individuals and communities.

The CR Firenze Foundation has entrusted the creation of the path to the Fresco Parkinson InstituteComplementary interventions at Casa Parkinson”, a series of diversified and continuous activities throughout the year, which help develop interpersonal relationships to combat the isolation that often accompanies the disease. Furthermore, it is scientifically proven that, alongside pharmacological and surgical treatments, complementary interventions improve the symptoms caused by the disease. These are the planned activities: Dance Well, dance classes, in the Sala Auditorium Sonoria, capable of improving the motor skills, balance and walking of Parkinson’s patients and which also involve family members and caregivers; BiblioteCanova hosts Arts for Parkinsonart workshops in the form of group interventions, through which the psychological and emotional component linked to the support given by being part of a community is combined with the artistic component; Boxing for Parkinson’sat the Palestra dei Rossi, includes boxing lessons, capable of stimulating the body’s muscles, balance, and muscle-joint reactivity, as well as activating cognitive-executive functions; Choir for Parkinson, hosted at the Auditorium Sonoria, is instead a choral singing laboratory aimed at improving patients’ speech therapy performances, in particular the tone of voice, the ability to speak and facial expression. (For information contact the Casa Parkinson secretariat: 055 6935476, [email protected]).

The Imaginary Cultural Association, an expert in the sector of museum education, takes care of a series of activities, all set in the most beautiful Florentine museums (Accademia Gallery, Bargello National Museum, Palazzo Davanzati Museum and Villa Bardini), aimed at guaranteeing the right to fruition of museums and art to the over 65s and to autistic people or people with specific learning disabilities. In particular, OverArtincludes guided tours and activities in museums, specifically designed for the elderly, with seated sessions and a slow and participatory approach to art. Museums Beyond it is instead the path dedicated to the cultural participation of neurodiverse people: it is aimed at autistic people, people with specific learning disorders and people with attention deficit, aiming to involve them in museum activities designed to live a significant cultural experience of meeting with the art and with others. For information and reservations [email protected] or 342 8328085 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3.30pm-5.30pm)

Finally, the new initiative Every body, every expression entrusted to the care of MUS.E and the Versiliadanza Cultural Association, consists in the creation of an inclusive professional dance path with attention to the needs of artists with intellectual and/or visual disabilities. There are two courses, one for beginners and one advanced, which are divided into different disciplines: choreography, sensoriality and dance, voice and music workshops. The program offers 40 scholarships, of which 24 are dedicated to young and adult artists with physical or intellectual disabilities, trisomy 21, visually impaired and blind people, lovers of the performing arts with or without previous experience, and 16 scholarships dedicated to caregivers, educators who support people with disabilities, health and social workers. The call is active until September 13th.

(For information [email protected]).

All initiatives will be the subject of a research project, which sees a partnership between Fondazione CR Firenze, Regione Toscana and IRPET – Regional Institute for Economic Planning, whose outcomes aim to highlight with real data the profound connection that exists between arts and health, demonstrating the fact that artistic activities , thanks to their complex and multimodal nature, are capable of combining multiple different components, all known to be healthy. The research will be conducted by IRPET as part of the “Regional Observatory of Culture” whose activities are partly dedicated, consistently with the 2021-2025 Regional Development Program of the Tuscany Region, to the analysis of the theme of cultural welfare, the measurement of the impacts of specific cultural projects on the health conditions of the beneficiaries, to the simulation of innovative policies to support the cultural consumption of particular segments of the population, for which low cultural participation is associated with a higher incidence of poor health conditions and/or of social exclusion.

“The Casa Parkinson project is an innovative project created in partnership with the AUSL Toscana Centro, which sees complementary interventions included in a program of the national socio-health system – underlines Daniele Volpe, director of the Fresco Parkinson Institute – which includes artistic and sporting activities that shift the focus from the patient to the individual. Furthermore, these interventions, associated with pharmacological therapy and together with conventional rehabilitation, allow continuity of care and an improvement in the quality of life of patients”

“The L’Imaginary association, active for 25 years, has built over time a methodology of approach to art and the museum that puts people and relationships at the center – they say Chiara Lachi and Cristina Bucci of the L’Immaginario association -. We promote an approach to art, in the belief that this encounter contributes to individual and collective well-being. We consider access to museums a right for everyone and we work for the inclusion of the most vulnerable people.”

“For years, MAD Murate Art District and Versiliadanza have been working on inclusion in the artistic and cultural field, and collaborating on the construction of new artistic skills in people with physical or mental disabilities, who wish to express themselves on stage – they say Valentina Gensini, Director of MAD Murate Arte District and Angela Torriani Evangelisti, Artistic Direction of Versiliadanza -. This professionalizing dance course was created to involve people with different abilities in the belief that inclusiveness and experimentation bring qualitative results of significant artistic level and of undoubted ethical and social value, for the well-being of people and the entire community”.