„Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Why is art so important?
We rarely think of art, of what is art and is it somehow important in our lives. For many of us, art is something that we don’t necessarily relate to, something remote and distant, that happens in the museums and galleries, theatres and concert halls – these places that are hardly part of our daily life.
The reality is art goes far beyond the walls of the venues mentioned above and comes in many forms and ways that we don’t even consider art. And yet they are.
Art is a mirror. It is a pure reflection of our cultural and historical presence. Art reflects virtues and values, cultural identities and authentic beliefs. It tells stories in ways that are recognisable and applicable within the community who created them in the first place. Great art goes beyond these borders. Great art talks, touches and influences on a deeper level which is valid at every point on Earth.
What does art do to the brain?
Many studies had proven the sufficient effects art has over our brain. Here are some of them:
Enhances brain functionality
Increases serotonin levels
According to some studies, prolonged looking at beautiful art piece activates parts of our brains that are related to pleasure. There is a significant change, happening in the blood flow, exponentially related to how much we like the artwork we look at. The activity observed in the brain is similar to that when staring at our beloved ones.
Positive impact on mental health
Art is largely used in Art therapy ever since it was established as a therapeutic approach in the mid-20th century. Art helps in articulating and processing feelings, managing behaviours, reducing stress and anxiety. Creating art can be used even as a type of meditation to relieve stress and relax your mind and body.
Develops neural systems and improves fine motor skills
This is a good reason to include more Art lessons in the Educational system.
Art and creativity are different things, and we need to be able to distinguish one from another. Although not every one of us was born to be an artist, anyone can be creative to a certain level and in a certain way. Observing art or making art can help us improve our creativity in different aspects of our lives.
Helps to improve emotional balance
Even as adults, we are not always aware of our own emotions. Art can help us to understand and express our feelings in a healthier, and more constructive way, to verbalise and name them, and to prevent or heal stress, depressions and low self-esteem.
A feeling of fulfilment and well-being
Experiencing beauty connects us with the sense of hope and well-being, and provides a feeling of fulfilment and spiritual purifying, and connecting on a higher level.
How does art impact our lives?
Gives meaning and values
I find this very important. Our society is consummative and practically oriented. In general, we no longer have powerful religious signifiers to rely on. Our world has devaluated, we experience the loss of virtues and of sense of righteousness. This gap can be filled by art to some extent. Art can give us meaning and purpose.
Helps us to connect with our emotions
Art can help us to understand our emotional life on a deeper level and improve our self-awareness.
Helps us to understand ourselves and articulate our inner world
We could use art as a shortcut to the Divine energy
Above all, art is a spiritual experience. It can give us vision and help us connect or reconnect with a higher authority. It could bring a feeling of gratitude and purpose in life.
We could use it as a litmus paper to the ongoing processes in the society
Many authors have written on the spiritual in art. I will only indicate two of them that I deeply admire: Wassily Kandinsky and his theoretical book on arts Concerning the Spiritual in Art; and Alain de Botton and his Art as Therapy. They both write on how art comes out of the soul and serves the soul, and on the function of art to replace what is missing in society.
What are the values of arts in our lives?
Art has positive effects on our mood
It brings joy and inspiration and may help you improve your creativity skills.
Art relieves stress
Whether it is music or dance, or any other type of art, you could successfully use it to release strong negative emotions in a positive and non-harmful manner.
Art can actually change people’s life
There is no single way it can do it, but it does. It can make you see things differently; it can open your mind and give you insight. Art can help you strengthen your powers of perception and observation.
Art is a different language
It has its own means of expression and is just another language you could learn and use. Art can express things that sometimes words cannot.
So why do we need art?
Art is natural
Art is part of our primal behaviours and instincts. This is something we were born with. The urge to create has the same routes as the urge to talk. They are both part of our communication skills, and through them, we share thoughts, feelings and beliefs. We share ourselves with others and the world that surrounds us.
Art can heal our bodies and souls
Art stimulates our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It can relax and excite us; it provokes and inspires; activates and leads us to a meditative state of being. Art is beneficial to both our mind and our body. Different types of art (dance, music, visual art, drama) contribute differently to the mind and the body.
Art is our Memory as a Humankind
It is like history, sociology, philosophy, ethics and aesthetics, geography and politics – all joined in one single approach, and coloured with human emotions, hopes, beliefs and personal experiences. If you need to explore the statistics and chronicles, learn the sciences. If you’re willing to see the Human being behind all the statistics and chronicles, search through the arts. Art is the shortest and the fastest way to learn anything because it impacts your emotions.
Visual art is referred to as one of the 9 types of intelligence
And in conclusion, art relates to just one of the 9 types of intelligence, described in 1983 by the American developmental psychologist Howard Gardener. It is the Spatial Intelligence, the ability to think in three dimensions. In my opinion, this thoroughly clarifies the problem of the necessity of art. It would be the same to ask if we needed logic and mathematics.
We are not all meant to become writers, yet we all learn to read and write. Same applies to the matter of arts. Not all the human race is going to become artists, yet we need to study Art. The main concern, I believe, is not IF we need art, but HOW to incorporate it within our daily routines and make it a significant part of our lives.