Arts & Culture

Announcing the winners of the Pabst Steinmetz Foundation Arts & Wellness Innovation Awards

Through these interdisciplinary and arts-related projects, UCF faculty members hope to improve the wellness of the Central Florida community.

By Arielle Feldman |
October 10, 2018

One of the winning teams will develop a project that aims to bring arts to the elderly community in Central Florida.

Two teams have been announced as the 2018 winners of the Pabst Steinmetz Foundation Arts & Wellness Innovation Awards. The teams, comprising faculty members from across UCF and the Central Florida community, were each awarded $25,000 for their cross-disciplinary, community-focused and sustainable arts and wellness projects.

The idea for supporting these projects came from Margery Pabst-Steinmetz and Chuck Steinmetz. Pabst-Steinmetz is a long-time supporter and advocate for caregivers, having organized programs to help individuals use art as a way to express themselves and promote self-care. This is the couple’s first gift from the newly-merged Pabst Steinmetz Foundation.

Fourteen teams from across the university submitted proposals for the award and the winners were selected by a panel consisting of members from the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Nursing, the College of Medicine, and several community members.

Read on to learn more about the award-winning ideas.

Bringing the arts to the elderly

As Central Florida’s population ages, new initiatives are needed to make sure elderly residents are happy and healthy. The Arts and Aging: An Interdisciplinary and Intergenerational Initiativebrings together the College of Arts and Humanities, College of Medicine, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts to show how the literary and performing arts can be used to improve elderly well-being.

Elements of the ACA’s Creative Caregiving program, which brings arts and wellness practices to Volusia County’s elderly residents, will be integrated into the Big Read. A nationwide program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Big Read encourages reading for pleasure through the sharing of a good book. Research shows that reading reduces stress and slows the onset of dementia, so the team behind “The Arts and Aging” will be coordinating its own Big Reads at area nursing homes and wellness facilities.

Additionally, theatre students taking the course THE 5677/4674 “Health & Wellness for the Performing Arts” will partner with medical students to visit these facilities and see the ACA’s Creative Caregiving program in action.

The faculty members, students and ACA members working on this project are:

  • Julia Listengarten, Professor of Theatre
  • Keri Watson, Assistant Professor of Art History
  • Luciana Garbayo, Director of Ethics and Medical Humanities, Philosophy
  • Christopher Niess, Associate Professor of Theatre
  • Nancy Lowden Normen, Atlantic Center for the Arts Executive Director
  • Eve Payor, Atlantic Center for the Arts Director of Community Programs
  • Loretta Forlaw, College of Medicine
  • Kate Kilpatrick, College of Arts and Humanities graduate student

Helping new mothers through animation

The postpartum recovery period can be a stressful and confusing time for new mothers. The Modern Languages and Literatures department, the College of Sciences, and the School of Visual Arts and Design’s animation department plan to help by creating Positive Parentingvideos. These videos will outline the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s nine tips for parenting of infants from birth to year one. However, instead of just stating these points, the videos will present them as memorable fictions or fables. They will be offered in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.

The faculty members working on this project are:

  • Tyler Fisher, Associate Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures (Spanish)
  • Kimberly Renk, Associate Professor, Director of the Understanding Young Children and Families Laboratory and Research Clinic, College of Sciences
  • Cheryl Briggs, Associate Professor, School of Visual Arts and Design (Animation)
  • Nick-Myrca Malebranche-Gauthier, Visiting Instructor, Modern Languages and Literatures (French and Haitian Creole)
  • Marie Leticee, Associate Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures (French and Creole)