When you hear the word art, you likely think of painting or drawing. While these are types of art, there are many others that you may not be aware of, such as sculpture, acting, literature, architecture, music, and movies.
These forms of art are all vastly different and experienced in different ways by many people.
Art provides an outlet that isn’t just for artsy individuals or those studying to have a career in the arts. The effects of art can be long-lasting and have been shown to positively benefit overall health and wellness (Source: LifeCare Advocates) for all ages.
Develops Problem Solving Skills
Unfortunately, art is often viewed as something extra or unnecessary in education or even daily life. Although it may seem insignificant, there are many reasons that art is essential to everyone, not just aspiring artists.
As you know, art is one way that people can express their creativity. This begins at a very young age; whether you give a child crayons and paper or paints, they begin to explore the items to create a “masterpiece creatively.”
While this may seem like simple play, it is beginning the development of creative thinking skills.
When you are an adult, you will face many careers and personal situations that require problem-solving and, often, creative thinking.
Because you started a foundation at a young age with art and creativity, you are more likely to formulate creative solutions to problems.
Being adept at art does not mean that you will seamlessly solve every problem that comes your way, but it does mean that you are more likely to think through solutions that may not be typical and could be considered outside the box.
To think that this skill development began with an art experience is quite remarkable.
(Source: NY Daily News)
Art is a natural way to provide challenges to individuals of all levels. The presented challenge could be using a specific form of media to create an art piece, or it could even be working together to create a project.
There are also ways that you can implement a specific art challenge to a group of people. (Source: Brookings)
What is an Art Challenge?
An art challenge is designed to challenge a group or individual in the arts. It is typically presented, and time is assigned for the participant or participants to complete the tasks.
The challenge can be as simple as creating something from a pile of given objects to completing a series of art tasks over time.
The most important thing to remember when offering an art challenge is that it needs to be presented in a fun way that is appealing to everyone, especially those that may not thrive in the arts. If you decide to use an art challenge, be sure to include:
- Small tasks
- Short work periods
- Set goals
- Provide materials and time to work
After an art challenge, every participant should feel accomplishment and success with the work completed. While the work may not be that of a professional artist, it will be a glimpse into the creativity of each individual. (Source: Artful Pursuits)
Teaches Observation Skills
The arts and observation go hand in hand. Whether you are participating in art, you are forced to observe both the process and product.
This observation can be a powerful tool for strengthening your ability to observe the world around you.
When you work on observation skills in art, the same skills can translate to real-life situations. By observing actions and the words of others, you are more able to interpret how they are feeling or why they are doing something.
You can also apply this to reading in both literatures as well as non-fiction. Having a heightened sense of observation allows for more thoughtful decisions and actions.
How do You Observe Art?
Most people think that observing art is simply looking at a work of art and thinking about it. While this is partially true, there is much more involved in art observation.
The observation of art draws on your personal feelings. When observing art, you should try to focus on these things.
- What you see in the piece of art.
- The feelings you have when looking at the art.
- Think about the meaning of the piece.
- Think about where you find your eyes moving to in the artwork.
- Research the piece and artist a bit.
Observing art doesn’t require a lot of training, but it requires deep thinking about your thoughts and feelings when relating to the piece of artwork.
This is where communicating with others during the observation can be helpful.
(Source: Museum of Fine Arts)
Increase Academic Achievement
Exposure and participation in art have also been linked to higher levels of academic achievement among all ages and grades. There is increased improvement shown in; math, reading, and writing.
This achievement growth may be attributed to the increased ability to logically reason, observe and discuss or organize their thinking in a more defined way.
While exploring the arts will not increase your IQ, it will influence how you view things around you.
Students who had experience in the arts were much more likely to use a creative approach to problem-solving attributed to artistic creativity. There was also evidence of greater organizational skills in writing.
(Source: Public School Review)
Art has the remarkable ability to engage individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Engaging in art does not mean that you have to be creating a piece of art. Engaging in the arts can also mean discussing a piece of art or helping others create a piece of art.
Providing an art experience is a great way to help connect people for a common purpose. This connection helps form community and bonds and creates a safe space for creativity when this connection is made.
It is also a great way to engage people to reach a common goal while having a single topic that they can all relate to easily. (Source: Colors of Connection)
Provide and Identity to Locations
Art has long been used to create easily identifiable landmarks around the world. It provides a unique way to distinguish a particular location on the globe.
Many cultures have specific art forms that allow them to share and communicate their history with others. You may see this appear in many forms, not just drawing or painting.
For centuries, cultural art has played a role in the development of our country and the understanding and appreciation of the differences that surround us.
While art is not the only way to learn about a culture, it is a way that you can often understand even with language barriers. This is because art tells a story.
Art is a natural conversation starter. Whether the art you are looking at is a classic painting, a modern abstract piece, or another art form, there is sure to be a conversation that is sparked.
When looking at and analyzing art, it may be easy to find common ground and begin conversations.
If you are an art connoisseur, your conversations will likely be deeper than an individual viewing art for the first time, but the fact is that a piece of art can spark conversation.
Many artists can express their emotions and feelings on a very deep level, which can speak to many using art. Art can help express feelings about:
- Traumatic events that have been endured
- Happy times
- Sad times
These feelings may be expressed with images, words, or a series of brush strokes and splatters. Often, an artist will leave the viewer wondering what they are expressing, but more often than not, you will tell the emotion associated with the art you are viewing.
Art is the ultimate way to encourage self-expression. There are not many boundaries for art, and you can interpret it in many different ways.
Many individuals enjoy the freedom that comes along with expressing themselves with art. Unlike many things, there are few rules when it comes to art and creativity.
Self-expression in the art can be done in various ways: through dance, drawing, painting, sculpting, singing, playing an instrument, or acting.
No matter which avenue you choose, the freedom for self-expression is naturally provided in the realm of art. This can be incredibly freeing to an individual who constantly needs to go with the crowd.
Differing Point of View
We all have different points of view that are not always easy to share or convey. When looking at or creating art, it is a natural way to share your differing point of view.
This sharing can be in the form of creating or in conversation interpreting an art form.
Because art lends itself to different points of view, many people find it much easier to express their thinking in both conversation and the action of creating art. With wide interpretations, it provides a safe place to share their point of view.
History and art go hand in hand. You can walk through time by looking at different forms of art. Not only does it provide a glimpse of the time past, but it also preserves that moment in time forever.
You will notice that many pieces of art detail specific events in time that have helped shape our world.
Art not only shows events that have occurred in history, but it also shows how the values and beliefs have changed over time. These things can often be discovered with observation and research into the time reflected in the art.
(Source: Speak Art Loud)
Art provides a safe platform to express your thoughts and feelings. Because of this, many therapists rely on art expression to help release pent-up feelings and share traumatic events that may be too painful to express in words.
This is most commonly used with children that may have a difficult time expressing themselves.
Sometimes, individuals may be introverted in verbal communication, but they can express themselves completely through art.
Because art takes many different forms, it provides a safe place to share your thinking and feelings so that others won’t judge you the way actual verbal communication may.
Art has the power to refocus your thinking. When you are engaged in creative thinking, your brain produces a chemical that can calm you down and help you feel relaxed.
As you likely know, when you are calm and relaxed, you are much more likely to be focused on significant tasks that may come your way.
This can be a beneficial release if you are in a highly stressful situation at work or school. Art can be done without much thought or direction, which makes it a great activity to help refocus your mind on more important things.
(Source: Be Brain Fit)
Self-care is a phrase that has gained popularity over the past several months, especially as people are finding themselves spending more time caring for others than themselves.
Art is a fantastic way to practice self-care. Not only does it allow you to refocus your thinking and clear your mind, but it also allows you to express yourself and do something you enjoy.
People will often take on an art project to escape from the reality of the world around them, personal or professional. There are many ways people can practice self-care with art.
- Clay sculptures or objects
- Drawing emotions
- Drawing events
- Mindless drawing
Each of these methods takes a different approach to self-care, but each allows you to think about yourself and the situation in a different light. It is also a great way to express your feelings and thinking safely.
(Source: Psych Central)
Does Not Discriminate
Art does not have boundaries when it comes to expression or interpretation. Anyone can engage in art, no matter their race, age, sex, or ability level.
It also does not discriminate based on opinions and beliefs. Because art can be so widely interpreted and created, it is a fantastic way to express yourself without offending others.
Because art doesn’t require that the artist be professional or even super talented, it allows everyone to participate comfortably.
In a world where everyone seems to fit into a box, this is a great way to express your individualism and reap the benefits associated with art as at the same time.
There aren’t many things that can easily bring everyone together as art can. Many activities require a certain degree of talent or monetary buy-in before you can participate.
While art does have some of these requirements, many options don’t require any buy-in. When you put out paint and paper, every single person can participate without question.
Ability levels will differ among the group, but art creation will draw everyone together without question. This can occur in a classroom setting or a public community setting.
There may be specific parameters, but usually, they are not out of the reach of the participants. Art is an amazing way to bring unity.
Why Does Art Matter in My Life?
After reading about all of the wonderful things art can bring to your life, you may be left wondering just how it impacts you or matters to you.
The incredible thing about art is that it encompasses many different activities and ability levels. There are also other reasons it should matter in your life.
Stress relief: In a study on stress, nearly 77% of people shared that they experience a certain level of stress each day.
Many of those people report high stress levels. Art has been proven to help relieve stress on many different levels because it engages your brain to produce the “happy chemical” called Dopamine. (Source: The Recovery Village).
It allows you to unplug: Now, people are connected to the world around them more than at any other time in history.
While this may seem like a good thing, it is detrimental to both physical and emotional well-being. Art provides a natural way to unplug.
When completing an art activity, you may have a mindless show playing on the tv, or you may be listening to music, but you are not connecting yourself to things that tend to cause you stress.
Even for a short time, the ability to unplug has been proven to provide many physical and emotional benefits. (Source: Adventist Health)
Adds beauty: You may be surprised to see how much beauty a simple piece of art can add to a space. If you want to create a relaxing environment or an upbeat, fun location in your home or office, a piece of art can do that.
It is likely to be more satisfying when you are the one that created the piece of art.
Memories: A piece of art can help you hold onto memories that are near and dear to your heart. It is a great way to pass a story down from generation to generation, using the art piece to help define and tell the moment.
This is something that could be an heirloom in your family.
Connection: Nearly 61% of the people in the world feel a sense of disconnection from the world around them (Source: Scientific American).
Because art can draw people together, it could be a great way for you to form connections with others. From these connections, relationships can develop and form.
Art Can Improve Your Community
Art is a potent tool that can bring about the most amazing changes if given the opportunity. If your community is struggling with beauty, perhaps you can organize a committee to begin painting murals in the area. Maybe your community is struggling with togetherness. A community art project is sure to bring everyone together.
It can be especially powerful to help bring youth together. Growing up is becoming increasingly challenging, and there is more emphasis placed on differences than similarities.
Art has a way of putting everyone on a level playing field and highlighting strengths in a group effort.
Not only can art bring a sense of togetherness, but it can also open the doors to form bonds and communication that you may not have easily formed otherwise.
While these things are great to think about, you must understand it will take time and the effort of a team to make them happen. It will likely not be a magical transformation, but it can put your community on the right path to change.
Your Health Can Change with Art
One surprising thing art can impact is your overall health. Sure, we know the importance of refocusing and unwinding, but how else can art affect health? As we age, our cognitive abilities naturally begin to decline. Art has been shown to help lessen this decline.
It has been shown that people with dementia could recall memories when they were allowed to create and interact artistically.
While art is not a magic cure for dementia, it has been shown to help reduce the anxiety, agitation, and depression closely tied to dementia. When these side effects are limited, it allows the mind to focus on the seemingly lost memories.
(Source: Fischer Center for Alzheimer’s)
Long-Term Benefits of Art
It seems that most art activities are short-lived, which may leave you wondering how they impact your long term.
Because art provides an outlet to help us understand ourselves and those around us, the lasting impact of these developed observational and communication skills can benefit all areas of life.
Because these benefits can be so lasting and impactful, it is important to include art in our everyday lives, beginning at a young age.
Not only can it help you to deal with difficult and stressful times, but it can help you connect to and relate to others in a much more meaningful way.
As you can see, art is compelling in our world, and it can be powerful in your life. The importance of art is more than just adding beauty around us. It is a way to communicate, connect and express ourselves in a safe and non-judgemental way.
This proves true for young and old alike. You don’t have to be an artist to take part in and appreciate the benefits art has to provide.