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Arts and Health Australia

Jerril Rechter

Art for everyone, everywhere, all the time

VicHealth has long been involved in the arts, a journey that began in 1987 where our aim was to buy out tobacco sponsorship of sports and the arts. Since 1997 we’ve focused more on promoting the intrinsic mental wellbeing benefits of involvement in arts activities and trying to increase participation and audiences.

Launched in September 2014 VicHealth’s new Active Arts Strategy focuses on encouraging all Victorians to be physically active and socially connected through a range of experiences and platforms – digital and online, community activations and mass participation.

We believe that by bringing people together to be involved in active and participatory arts activities, we will be able to promote people’s mental and physical wellbeing. The approach brings two sets of health benefits together.

On the one hand, we have the many health benefits of taking part in art. Participation in arts activity supports mental wellbeing by providing an opportunity for people to gain new skills, confidence and self-esteem while working with others and taking part in a creative process. In turn, being around and involved with others reduces social isolation and builds social connections – both of which are associated with increased wellbeing.

Active arts – such as dance and circus – have the added benefits of increasing physical activity. These of course include improved cardiovascular health, a reduced risk of obesity and related conditions such as diabetes, reductions in cancer risk and an increase in mental wellbeing.

Art is what gives our community so much of its soul. The contribution that so many creative people in the arts sector have made to the health and cultural vitality of our community through their work is undeniable, and we look forward to continuing our work with the sector to achieve even more and get more Victorians healthy, connected and active through the arts.

Jerril RechterJerril Rechter

Jerril Rechter is the CEO of VicHealth. She has extensive experience in leadership across the areas of government and not-for-profit sectors.

Jerril is a World Health Organization Advisor, a board member of the International Network of Health Promotion Foundations, a member of Victoria’s Justice Health Ministerial Advisory Council and a member of the Liquor Control Advisory Council. She regularly presents at state, national and international conferences and events to share her experiences in health promotion, leadership, and the potential of innovations to improve health and wellbeing for everyone.

She has served on various state and national boards and committees, including VicHealth's, as Board Member from 2004 to 2010. Her Ministerial appointments have included the Victorian Eating Disorders Taskforce, Australia Day Committee Victoria, Australia Council for the Arts Deputy Chair Dance Board, Arts Tasmania Board, Brand Tasmania Board and the Community Leaders Group Tasmania.

Jerril is a recipient of a Centenary Medal, Tasmania Day Award, and Fellowships from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Australia Council, Harvard Club of Australia, the Australian Davos Forum-Future Summit, and Williamson Community Leadership Program (Leadership Victoria).

Jerril holds a Master of Business Leadership from RMIT University.

Jerril has held executive positions at Leadership Victoria, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Footscray Community Arts Centre, and founded Stompin Youth Dance Company.