As the National Organization for Arts in Health, NOAH provides transformational leadership to bring the field of arts in health together, and to move the field forward. Our focus is on the future of arts, health, and wellbeing; and creating tangible impact from our goals and initiatives.  We know through research and experience that the arts are an integral component to health, and we are committed to shaping a reality where that fact is accepted fully, and incorporated into medical treatment, medical education, prevention, and public health and wellbeing.

Our Mission

To unite, advance, and serve the field of arts in health.

Our Vision

Arts in health is an integral component to health and wellbeing.

Our Story

How We Got Started

NOAH was founded in 2016 but its roots go back to 1989 with the first convocation of arts administrators in Durham, North Carolina. This group was founded as the Society of Healthcare Arts Administrators, which later became the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, then the Global Alliance for Arts in Health, then finally the Arts and Health Alliance before disbanding in 2014. We honor the legacy of the arts in health organizations, without whom we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Where We Are Now

In just over two years, NOAH has grown our membership base, secured funding for publications and events, launched two webinar series focusing on research and professionalization, and hosted two annual conferences. We are completing our strategic plan in early 2019 which will chart our path forward as we serve and advance the field.

NOAH & Arts in Health Timeline


  • NOAH launches Professionalization Lab webinar series.
  • NOAH holds joint meeting with NCCATA in Cleveland, OH.



  • NOAH hosts first annual conference in Austin, TX in partnership with Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo.
  • NOAH’s website is launched.
  • NOAH begins offering memberships.


  • Texas Children’s Hospital hosts a symposium to discuss the new gap in resources and the need for a new arts in health professional organization.
  • A steering committee is formed and funds donated towards founding expenses.
  • University of Oregon donates hours of Katie White Swanson’s time as a researcher towards NOAH founding administrative needs.
  • Communications with some in the field are reestablished.
  • A call for board members is placed.
  • An outside selection committee of arts in health field leaders is formed to evaluate applications and select the new board.

2005 - 2009


  • Conference: University of Buffalo.
  • “Arts & Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice,” Volume 1, Issue 1, March 2009 published.
  • Bylaws revised.


  • Conference Philadelphia (April 16-19): “Embracing Our Past, Shaping Our Future: 21st Century Innovations,” hosted by the Boyer College of Music and Dance, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.


  • Conference (April 11-14): “A Composition in Creativity and Caring,” hosted by Cultural Enrichment, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.


  • Conference: Chicago, IL.


  • Conference: Edmonton, Canada

1995 - 1999


  • Conference (4/23-25): hosted by Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, MI.
  • “Healing Garden Quilts” touring exhibit launched.
  • SAH VP Ellen Hiltebrand moved to coordinator’s position.
  • SAH/NEA Leadership Initiative project (SAH Consulting Service — SAHCS) grant program launched.


  • Conference hosted by the Art for Healing Program, Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, CA.
  • Board retreat.


  • No conference — changed from fall to spring conference schedule.
  • Creation of the first website.


  • Conference (9/26-28): “The Arts: Partners for Health,” hosted by the Cultural Services Program, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Scholarship program initiated. Proceedings published.


  • Conference (9/28-30): “Matters of the Heart,” hosted by Art for TMH, Trumbull Memorial Hospital, Warren, OH. “The Arts in Healing” exhibit at the Butler Institute of American Arts, Youngstown, OH, in conjunction with the conference. Catalog published.
  • First connection with Michael Bzdak at Johnson & Johnson.


  • NOAH holds strategic planning retreat in San Diego, CA.
  • NOAH launches Research Lab webinar series.
  • NOAH holds 2nd annual conference in Austin, TX in partnership with the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo.
  • NOAH publishes Code of Ethics and Standards for Arts in Health Professionals
  • NOAH publishes Addressing the Future of Arts in Health in America, a follow up to the NOAH Leadership Summit.
  • NOAH hosts a Leadership Summit in Washington, DC.
  • NOAH attends Arts Advocacy Day in Washington DC to advocate for the field.
  • NOAH hires second staff member.


  • NOAH’s second in-person strategic planning session held in Sandusky, Ohio.
  • The NOAH board confirms a partnership with the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo for its first conference.
  • Incorporation process begins
  • NOAH holds first in-person strategic planning session held at Lesley University in Boston, MA.
  • Board officers elected:
    Todd Frazier, President
    Claire de Boer, Vice President
    Naj Wikoff, Vice President
    Barbara Steinhaus, Secretary
    Annette Ridenour, Treasurer
  • Katie White Swanson was confirmed as the organization’s Administrator and sole part-time employee.
  •  NOAH’s first board of 11 members announced to the field.
  • Board members began meeting and developing priorities for the new organization.

2010 - 2010


  • Arts & Health Alliance disbands.
  • Conference (April 9-12): “Enhancing Lives through Arts & Health, 25th Anniversary Conference and Celebration. Hosted by Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas.


  • Conference (April 11-13): “Healing Communities through the Arts”, National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.


  • Conference (May 2-5): “Arts and Health: A Global View” hosted by Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, Michigan.


  • Conference (April 13-16): “Advancing Patient-Centered Arts,” hosted by the International Medical Services and Guest Services, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Palo Alto, CA.


  • Conference: University of Minnesota Hospitals and Clinics
    Ambassadors Program.

2000 - 2004


  • Conference (April 20-23): “Building Community, Embracing Diversity: the State of the Arts in Healthcare,” hosted by Smith Farm Center for the Healing Arts, Washington, DC.
  • Conference event — Congressional Arts Caucus: The Arts in Healthcare “Cultures of Care: A Study of Arts Programs in U.S. Hospitals,” monograph published by Americans for the Arts.


  • Conference (April 9-12): “Inspiring a New Tomorrow,” hosted by Aesthetics, Inc., and San Diego Children’s Hospital and Scripps Health, San Diego, CA.
  • Publication of “Caring for Caregivers: A Grassroots USA-Japan Initiative”
  • NEA/SAH Leadership Conference (March 18-20, 2003); funded by the NEA.


  • Conference (April 18-20): “Prescriptive Arts in Medicine: The Practice of Arts in Healthcare” hosted by Arts in Medicine, Shands Hospital, Gainesville, FL.
  • “Diabetes and the Arts and Humanities: Planning Conference” (1/23-25) funded by the Office of Research Review, Education and Policy, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HHS)) held in Durham, NC, co-hosted by the Veterans Affairs Education Center, Durham, NC.
  • SAH Caring for Caregivers (CFC) Research and Exchange Program with Society for Arts and Healthcare Japan.


  • Conference hosted by the Art Program, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Janice Palmer Award initiated.
  • Johnson & Johnson/SAH partnership to promote Arts and Healing grant program initiated.
  • Blair L. Sadler International Healing Arts Competition initiated SAHCS program evaluation.
  • SAH Caring for Caregivers (CFC) Research and Exchange Program with Society for Arts and Healthcare Japan, multi-year program funded by The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.
  • SAH website renovated and expanded.


  • Conference (4/27-29): hosted by The Arts at Lifespan and Child Life Services, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence, RI. “Visions Toward Wellness” exhibit at the Dryden Gallery, Providence, RI in conjunction with the conference.
  • Policy and Procedures Manual created.
  • “Healing Gardens” videotape marketed.
  • Suzy Brenner hired as SAH Management Coordinator

1989 - 1994


  • Conference (October 7-8): “Art: Expanding the Focus of Healthcare,” hosted the Humanities Program, Marin General Hospital, Greenbrae, CA. Organization name changed to “Society for Arts in Healthcare” — SAH. Conference Management Associates contracted to manage SAH.
  • First SAH nationwide touring art exhibition launched – replicas of Hollis Sigler’s “Breast Cancer Journal: Walking with the Ghosts of My Grandmothers”.
  • Invited presentation about SAH at the National Symposium on Healthcare. Design (NYC).
  • Invited to present at the National Association of Local Arts Agencies (Ft. Worth, TX).


  • Conference (September 29–October 2): “The Healing Arts: Matters of Life and Death,” hosted by SHAA board members, Sturbridge, MA.
  • Conference Management Associates contracted to manage the conference.
  • Incorporation and 501(c)(3) applications initiated.
  • Second Newsletter.


  • Conference (October 22–25), hosted by the Planetree Program, MidColumbia Medical Center, The Dalles, Oregon.
  • Arts and Healing Information Clearing House database created.
  • Revised mission statement drafted.


  • First conference (July 11-14), hosted by Project Art, University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, Iowa City, IO. Bylaws adopted; incorporation draft accepted; first board and officers elected; categories of membership and committee structure established.
  • First issue of the newsletter.
  • Revised mission statement drafted.
  • Changed acronym to SHAA.
  • Board met at NIH in November.


  • Second convocation (April 26-29), hosted by Gifts of Art, University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI. Plans made to establish an organization.
  • Agreed to name the organization “Society of Healthcare Arts Administrators” – SoHAA.
  • Mission statement drafted.


  • First convocation (March 11-13), hosted by the Cultural Services Program, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Proposal to establish an organization.

By the numbers

noah members

$ Raised


We’ve raised over $200,000 to professionalize, unite, and advocate for the field of arts in health.

We’ve published two white papers and the NOAH Code of Ethics and Standards for Arts in Health Professionals, held two annual conferences and one leadership summit, and are at work on our three year strategic plan and a core curriculum for arts in health.

To learn how you can help us click here.