The NEA Research Lab at UCLA is directed towards NEA’s Arts, Health, and Social/Emotional Well-Being initiative.

We are interested in answering the questions:

  • What are the social, emotional, physical, and/or physiological health benefits of the arts for individuals, groups, or societies?
  • What physiological or psychological mechanisms or group dynamics are at work in achieving those benefits or related outcomes?
  • To help answer these questions the NEA Research Lab at UCLA is:

  • Developing a reliable, valid, flexible, and scalable Arts Impact Measurement System (AIMS).
  • Implementing the new AIMS methods in demonstration projects to refine the system, demonstrate its adaptability to different settings and questions, and illustrate its utility in studying psychological mechanisms that mediate arts’ impacts on academic achievement, health and well-being.
  • Examples of collaborative projects we are working on right now:

  • Veteran Journeys Opera: Veteran Journeys is an opera by Dr. Ken Wells, internationally renowned leader in community based participatory research, who has worked on arts interventions and assessments of health and wellness outcomes in underserved communities. We used the AIMS system during the first showings of Veteran Journeys in June 2021, collecting pre- and post-opera feedback from audience members.
  • Jazz in the Classroom: This is a program launched by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz; our collaborator Daniel Seeff is the West Coast Director of the Hancock Institute, and leads the Institute’s Los Angeles public school outreach programming. This project is implemented at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), specifically in connection with its Beyond the Bell program, headed by Tony White and Pablo Garcia-Hernandez.
  • Drumming for Your Life: The DFYL Life Skills Drumming program was developed by Steven Angel to help at-risk youth and people with addiction, trauma and mental illness. We are planning to conduct assessments before, during the course of, and after 10 sessions of the Life Skills Drumming program, which is now operating in multiple sites of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH).