All photography provided by Erick Guzman

Artist and Scientists as Partners (ASaP) advocates for research exploring diverse medical and arts practices for persons with Parkinson’s disease and Autism Spectrum Disorders. We advocate for the recognition of the value of the arts within a holistic healing approach.


  1. To build mutual understanding and respect among artists and scientists for both the content and methodology of their practices
  2. To distinguish between the arts as practice (their intrinsic value) and the arts as therapy (their instrumental value) and to make a case for the specific benefits of “art making” for all individuals
  3. To provide supporting materials/arguments for physicians who would like to prescribe the arts for their patients
  4. To bring public awareness to the importance of an integrated approach to neurological disorders

The Project has Significance for Both the Arts and Sciences:

  • Through the intersection of art and science, understanding of the power of the arts to heal is deepened.
  • Those in the broader community who are challenged by Parkinson’s and Autism (as well as their caregivers) will benefit from the research through expanded services, e.g. dance classes.
  • Dance and music students will gain a broader view of their art form as well as gain an understanding of the different possibilities available to them as artists. Also, these students will learn methods to deepen their artistry.
  • Brown’s initiative (in the intersection of art and science) will send a message to the arts and science communities throughout academic and research institutions and lend credibility to a burgeoning field of study. It will also add to Brown’s reputation for innovative and collaborative research.
  • With new information and research supporting the benefits of the arts on people with Parkinson’s and Autism, doctors, educators, and artists will have new approaches to offer. Possible outcomes could be reduced need for medications and medical care. At the least, there will be evidence that there are effective options to current approaches.


Over the summer of 2013, the ASaP team was granted a UTRA (Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award) to design and develop a class through which they could share their interests with Brown University undergraduates. This course focused on current research on and practices in arts and healing, with an emphasis on dance and music for persons with Parkinson's Disease (PD) and Autism (ASD). It included guest lecturers, readings, field trips, and site placements.