Community Music School of Springfield

Chalk for Change: Music School Turns Art into Vaccination Success

A man spray paints the word "loved" on a pink sidewalk.

When the Community Music School of Springfield (CMSS) sensed its community was growing tired of routine vaccination information campaigns, they decided to do something new. The non-profit arts school in Western Massachusetts tried a combination it knew best: arts and community building. In July 2022, CMSS hosted “Chalk for Change,” a community festival that featured dozens of artists creating chalk drawings, different genres of music, dance, and kids’ activities alongside health services, including a vaccination station. The event drew news outlets, the Mayor of Springfield, faith leaders, community members and others from across the city and beyond. One person attending said she came to see the local artists and musicians but also took advantage of the health services to get vaccinated. “By engaging community members in these ways, we earn the opportunity to share information about vaccines in a way that people will listen to,” said Sierra Simmons, associate director of CMSS.

Funding for this effort is made possible through a subaward from the CDC Foundation and is part of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) financial assistance award totaling $2,500,000.00 with 100 percent funding from CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government.

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