“WHY DOES IT EVEN MATTER?” Anyone else feel this way when it comes to art?
Well, today I’m talking ALLLL about why it ACTUALLY DOES MATTER, so that YOU TOO can create the home of your dreams.
“Art is good for your brain,” my high school art teacher said.
Sitting in my high school art class as a senior–the only one I’ve ever taken since I had to to graduate, I truly couldn’t believe my ears. Tapping my foot on that little stool seat they use in art rooms, part of me was like AMEN SISTER!, while the other part of me was quite a bit more skeptical.
Much has changed since my senior year of high school–enter social media and all the amazing ways to find, enjoy, and buy art outside of the gallery. But one thing remains the same y’all, research shows that art has incredible health benefits, and it MATTERS.
I’ve done the research for you because I just HAD to find out the truth. Art literally heals our brains, our hearts, and our bodies. I’ll walk you through how art matters to our world, and why not only do you need it in your life, you need it in your home.
Let’s dig in.
WHY DOES IT MATTER TO OUR BRAIN?
Experiencing art, not just creating it, is crazy good for our brains. Jessica Jacolbe writes, “All intangible benefits aside, it turns out that the processes of both creating art and experiencing beauty net neural benefits” (Jacolbe). How incredibly cool is that?! Seeing beauty, finding the consistencies and inconsistencies, engaging in it like it’s a puzzle stimulates our brains and creates a “feeling of satisfaction” (Jacolbe). I don’t know about you, but when I see art that I love (or really, even that that I don’t even like!) I feel connected to it, connected to that different experience that now feels like my own.
According to the National Endowment for the Arts, students who study art are 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement and 3 times more likely to be awarded for school attendance.
Did you know looking at art affects our brains like completing a puzzle or a mathematical proof?! I don’t even like puzzles, let’s be honest, but that is so stinking COOL! I may not love puzzles, but I do love the feeling when I finish one. It’s just so satisfying!
Crazy to think that, as I’d say to my kindergarteners, “Our brains are GROWING when we look at art as much as when we create it.”
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WHY DOES IT MATTER TO OUR HEARTS?
We quite literally get JOY from looking at art. Think of a painting, photograph, print, or just SOMETHING you love in your home. When you see it, how does it make you feel?
One of my favorite original pieces I have in my own home transports me to this mystical magical mountain with cotton candy skies, glorious flowers, and even if just for that moment, I feel happy and excited. It stays on my bookshelf so I can see it whenever I need a little pick-me-up.
“Art matters because it illustrates the human experience—the wonder of it, the bewilderment of it, the whimsy of it, and so much more. We would not be connected so deeply without the existence of art.” – Kathleen Dinsmore
Art pulls together our experiences, knowledge and all that we’ve learned in ways we didn’t even know were possible. That’s why we get that connected feeling to a work of art we love.
WHY DOES IT MATTER TO OUR BODIES?
For some strange reason, art has the power to calm our stirred up souls. Art eases anxiety, stress and all that other junk we cook up for ourselves.
Not only have I experienced this firsthand (especially during quarantine 2020 when tensions were high and my anxiety was HIGHER), but one of my dear friends told me that even the simple act of painting with her daughter’s watercolors was so soothing!
Friends, not only is it good for us to exercise our brains with art, but according to a study “People value being in the audience to the arts at about £2,000 per person per year and participating at £1,500 per person. The value of participating in sports is about £1,500 per person per year.”
Think about it–people fork over more cash to go to the Museum of Modern Art than they do to go see the Knicks play…
That’s wild! But doesn’t it make sense?! WHY? Because IT MATTERS.
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WHY DOES IT MATTER TO SOCIETY?
Some of the best artists that I love create culturally significant artwork. What do I mean by that? They tell the story of what’s going on in society in a beautiful way to call attention to it. The arts “illuminate our inner lives and enrich our emotional world.”
The world that’s all around us—art allows us to see it in a new light, both the beauty and the ugliness–and that’s a good thing. It’s a story that needs to be told. (Just like YOUR story needs to be told.)
“The arts matter because they give us a mutual space where we can talk to one another about the most important things to us. It can turn strangers into old friends with lots in common.” – Maryrose Flanigan
Simply put, art brings people together. It gives a common space where different people can be together, share their story (BECAUSE IT MATTERS) and connect.
So, flashback to high school Courtney, and in all that I’ve learned as a self-taught artist in the last 15 years, I can attest that YES, ART IS GOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN. Feeling my hands paint calms my heart just enough to begin a softening in my soul. In looking at art, and especially creating, I find stillness and feel those hardened edges of anxiety smoothing ever so slightly. And the joy of getting to tell your story? Not only does it matter to you, it matters to me, and it matters to the world.
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