CDC Foundation Supports Arts and Cultural Organizations to Build Confidence in COVID-19 and Seasonal Influenza Vaccines

Organizations will create innovative, arts and culture-based approaches to promote vaccine education and acceptance

COVID-19 cases are on the rise again across much of the United States as the highly contagious Omicron and Delta variants continue to spread. Increasing the rate of vaccination in all communities is critical in order to avoid another prolonged deadly coronavirus surge. Organizations and individuals across the country have helped share this urgent message, building vaccine confidence within their communities. Since the start of the pandemic, artists and cultural organizations have been among these key messengers. Today, the CDC Foundation is recognizing the critical role of the arts and culture in advancing public health outcomes. With $2.5 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDC Foundation is providing grants to 30 organizations that are engaging the arts to build vaccine confidence throughout the United States.

The CDC Foundation is collaborating with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support organizations using the arts and culture to educate local communities about vaccine safety and efficacy. The funded organizations—which include arts, cultural, public health, higher education and other types of organizations—will create work that inspires people to get vaccinated by providing accurate information about the COVID-19 and influenza vaccines in creative, engaging ways.

The announcement comes as COVID-19 vaccination rates hover around 62 percent of the U.S. population being fully vaccinated—with uptake remaining much lower in many rural populations and communities of color.

The arts and culture can be crucial tools in public health communication. Because local artists have long served as trusted messengers and translators of vital information in their communities, they can support vaccine education and acceptance in ways that cut through cultural barriers, skepticism and misinformation.

The funded projects, which span 18 states across every region of the country, will engage their communities by staging plays, commissioning posters and murals, sewing quilts, creating new dances, writing songs and much more. With these projects, arts and public health organizations will deliver accurate messaging in new ways.

“We are excited to bring the arts and science together in a really powerful way with these partnerships,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “Through their chosen art forms, these organizations will be able to create accessible and inspiring work that communicates essential health information about the safety and importance of vaccination in protecting communities from COVID-19 and influenza.”

The work of the 30 organizations has the potential to reach not only their local communities, but also audiences around the country and the world. See a list of the funded organizations.

The grants were awarded through a competitive process and are funded by the CDC Foundation. Additionally, federal funding for this effort is made possible through cooperative agreement 5 NU38OT000288-04-00 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) totaling $2,500,000.00 with 100 percent funding from CDC/HHS.