Florence Tyson (1919 -2001) was a true pioneer of music therapy. When she began practicing, the profession was in its infancy; and music therapy was found primarily in institutions, or hospitals, where it provided little more than recreation. Drawing on the advances in psychiatry and psychology, encouraged by the political climate of her time, and propelled by her own fierce will and desire, Tyson helped take music therapy in new directions. In 1963, she established the first community-based music therapy organization in the nation, the Creative Arts Rehabilitation Center (CARC) in New York City. First conceived as a part of the Musician’s Emergency Fund in the 1950’s, this first-of-its- kind creative arts therapy center grew in the 1960’s, and continued to grow so that by 1995 it served more than 100 clients a week, using music, dance, art, drama and poetry therapies to help clients with severe and debilitating mental illnesses.

The Center not only served clients; it trained therapists from all over the world in the use of creative arts therapies to treat people outside of hospitals--in a community setting. CARC closed in 1995 due to financial problems that affected nonprofit organizations generally at this time. Still, to this day, Tyson’s creation of the Center is a standard against which developments in the music therapy/mental health field are measured. And Tyson’s trainees and disciples have, each in his or her own way, set a standard for the practice of creative arts therapies in the community.

Creation of the Florence Tyson Fund for Creative Arts Therapies

Upon the death of Florence Tyson, in 2001, her devoted life companion, Saul Lishinsky, joined with Florence’s friends, colleagues and students to establish the Florence Tyson Fund for Creative Arts Therapies, The purpose of the Fund is to continue and build upon Tyson’s important work, by supporting, modestly at first, and more fully as the fund develops, those projects that advance Tyson’s vision and the work of those who would carry that vision forward.

Who we are

The Fund is overseen by a Board of Directors consisting of Joan Winer Brown, Christopher Bandini, Denis Jordan, Alice Brandwein,  and Shale Brownstein. The Fund consults with colleagues of Florence Tyson, including, Pierre Boenig, Kenneth Aigen, David Ramsey, Gary Hara, Andrea Frisch, Benedikte Scheiby, and others.

Saul Lishinsky 1922-2012