History has repeatedly alluded to a direct correlation between creativity and madness, drawing upon both perceived and actual ties between mental afflictions and the great artists, writers, and poets of our time. This perception has continued to evolve over generations of artists, and now recent landmark research has drawn even further attention to the interrelatedness between creative output and mental illnesses, both singular and co-occurring. However, the relationship is by no means definitive, and many questions still remain. When determining the causation and consequences of mental illnesses in creative individuals, is the artistic community left with the proverbial chicken and egg scenario, wherein it is virtually impossible to determine which came first and where the cycle ends? Does today’s society place a higher value on an artist’s health or on their creative output, and how do we respond when those two things become mutually exclusive? What resources currently exist, on a local or national scale, for artists of any discipline who are struggling with mental illness or substance abuse? How has the conversation changed around supporting those individuals, and how does it need to continue to change? In what follows, I will present findings based on these questions and posit what resources and solutions would be best suited for creative individuals who are struggling with mental illnesses, including a model for a proposed self-sustaining mental health resource and recovery program.
University of Minnesota Plan C final project paper for ACL 8002, instructor Kathleen Corley. Spring 2014. Degree: Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership. 1 digital file (pdf)
Madness and the Muse: Understanding the Link Between Creativity in Today's Artists and Musicians.
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