4 Awesome Reasons to Support the Arts
Today we’re going to take some time to celebrate and support the arts. The arts can enrich so many aspects of our lives, making even the mundane days brighter in the process. Heck, being an Artist myself you could say I’m biased, but I believe in Art for all. But what if creativity just ain’t yer gig?
Maybe you’re a parent with an artistic child and find the whole thing confusing and somewhat intimidating. Your partner might be an Artist, but you just don’t get it. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to be the archetypal floaty Artiste, or have a firm grasp on what is considered to be ‘good taste‘ by the elites to experience art. The joy of art is for everybody, and yes, that includes you.
Art is Excellent Brain Food
Art is pretty darn amazing for you brain. Gimme that sweet brain nectar! Creative thinking increases your brain plasticity. But how, I hear you ask! The act of creativity requires both hemispheres of your brain to communicate with each other at the same time. This communication helps to stimulate your brain into growing new neurons. But that’s not all…Whole and out of the box thinking also encourages better problem solving.
Creative art activities have also been used to help dementia patients. A great case study for this is Dr. Arnold Bresky’s “Brain Tune Up” programme. The programme utilizes art therapy for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Results show that 70% of his patients experience improvements in memory when they draw or paint. ALL the feels!
Art Improves Mental Health
Sometimes your brain needs to take a break from excessive mental noise. Similar to mediation, creating art can provide you with something else to concentrate on and a much needed rest for your brain. The result can also be referred to as being in a ‘flow state‘ or being in ‘the zone.‘ Let’s dive a little deeper!
A flow state can be experienced when a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Much more empirical research is needed to confirm the outcomes of spending time in a flow state. This is purely anecdotal, but I find using art activities to enter a flow state extremely calming and it has often relieved everyday anxieties.
Thus far the positive connection between the visual arts and the wellbeing of adults with mental health conditions has been sparsely documented. But there have been some interesting exploratory studies.
A UK based project entitled ‘Arts on Prescription‘ is a series of weekly art workshops for people experiencing depression, anxiety and/or other mental health problems. At the end of the projects run in 2014/15, there were some positive findings. 76 per cent reported an increase in wellbeing, 73 per cent reported a decrease in depression and 71 per cent reported a decrease in anxiety.
If you’re not especially artistic, but you’re wanting to try something creative to benefit your mental health, I would recommend purchasing an adult colouring book. Or any colouring book that has intricate patterns with enough detail to help you zone out.
Ain’t art great?
Art Benefits the Economy
Beauty and economic development are NOT mutually exclusive. There is a strong economic case for the arts. Let’s use Europe as a focal point. Over the last 1000 years Artists and creatives across Europe have worked tirelessly towards a common goal; to make the cities beautiful beyond measure.
As a result these cities still benefit financially to this day, largely as a result of tourism created by these attractions. The economic value manifested by this creativity has magnified over time rather than decreased. Art is steadfast and rewarding investment.
In terms of the UK economy an updated study by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), highlighted some positive trends. The most notable being that the arts and culture industry grew by 10% in 2015. Which is five times faster than the UK economy as a whole. The arts and culture industry now contributes a total of £11.8bn to the UK economy.
Art Institutions Improve Social Wellbeing
Along with the afore mentioned benefits, the arts can also improve social wellbeing. The School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study to measure the contribution of culture and the arts upon the social wellbeing of New York City’s Neighbourhoods.
The researchers found that communities with cultural resource (even those in the lowest 40% of income distribution) had 18% less crime and 14% fewer cases of child abuse. The study also found that Neighbourhoods with a strong cultural presence had 18% more kids scoring in the top stratum on English and maths exams.
Staying with the theme of education, another study of over 10,000 students found that a one-hour trip to an art museum changed the way they thought and felt. Students who visited an Art museum showed increased critical thinking skills. They also displayed greater empathy to situations outside of themselves. Including expressing greater tolerance towards others.
If you didn’t get the creative gene, don’t sweat it. DO however support the Creative in your life. Whether that is your child, your third cousin twice removed, or a local creative business simply trying to add some pazaz to your town. I stand by my initial statement that you don’t have to be a floaty Artiste to appreciate and support the arts.
Despite what we are lead to believe, talent doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It takes dedication and sacrifice in the name of your craft. This deserves recognition. If you are in a position to do so, invest in that piece of art that you love. Then sit back, relax and wait for the magic.
For my fellow creatives…
The arts have never been, or will ever be optional. They are an integral part of the tapestry of life, even if you are not fully aware of their presence. Life would be too dismal and tragic in their absence. Art provides us with the courage to prevail amidst suffering.
We have art so that we may not perish by the truth
What did you think? Did you learn anything, did I miss something? Either way I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
P.s. Found this helpful, why not buy me a coffee? It’s like busking, but on the internet
P.p.s. If you enjoyed this why not check out my previous post by clicking the image below!