New research out of Germany suggests that “the production of visual art improves effective interaction” between parts of the brain. This study was conducted on newly retired folks and found that making art may actually hinder regular decline seen in this population.
Earlier research, including a 2010 study that looked at art as therapy, found numerous benefits for those who decided to give art a try, including:
- Happier states of being, by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive feelings
- Reductions in stress and anxiety
- Stronger social support, which in turn is correlated to greater levels of happiness
THRIVE EVERY DAY
Even HuffingtonPost founder Ariana Huffington is joining the “make time for art” bandwagon. After hitting her head as she collapsed from exhaustion and waking up in her in a pool of her own blood, she decided to study what success truly means and how we can “thrive” in this world that is asking so much from each one of us every single day. Finding time to be creative is just one of the lessons she imparts in her new Oprah course.
But you don’t have to go online to find time to be creative, we have a great resource here in San Antonio that is open to the public and ready to help you express, explore (or just find!) your creative self—Inspire Community Art Center.
DISCOVER INSPIRE COMMUNITY FINE ART CENTER
A bright, colorful house located on the edge of Mahncke Park, just off Broadway Street across from the Witte Museum, Inspire is a bright, friendly neighborhood hub for creativity in the heart of San Antonio. They welcome artists of all kinds through the colorful doors to experience what they call “the healing power of art.” This unique facility is imbued with a spirit of happy exploration that is infectious to all who enter. With small class sizes and responsive instructors—Inspire allows students to discover their artistic strengths and blossom, while also bringing art into the community at large.
Founded in 2005, the non-profit organization works “To advocate and celebrate the arts as a force for education and healing across our diverse cultural communities.” In addition to classes held at the center, Inspire works with other area non-profits including Alpha Home (women in drug recovery), the Bexar County Court House – Family Court (for children in crisis), SAMMinistries (for families in transition from homelessness), Seniors (discounted programs for seniors), Eva’s Heroes (teens and adults with mental challenges), and Title One schools including Lamar Elementary and Woodlawn Elementary.
WHY MAKING ART IS THE NEW MEDITATION Washington Post
“Many of us have heard about the benefits of meditation, but sometimes find it hard to do. Fewer of us know about the profound benefits of artistic expression. Creating art, however, is another way to access a meditative state of mind and the profound healing it brings.”
MELLOW PASTIMES CAN BE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH TOO National Public Radio
“This makes total sense: When you’re engaged in an activity you truly enjoy, you’re happy. And, when you’re happy you’re not dwelling on all the negative things in life, nor are you stressed about obligations or problems. Certainly this is a good thing from an emotional point of view, but it also has physical benefits.”
PICKING UP ART LATER IN LIFE MAY HELP THE BRAIN Hyper Allergic
“You’re never too old to follow your dreams, or so the saying goes. If yours involves making art, there might be some brainy benefits to finally doing so.”
MAKING ART TIED TO FEWER COGNITIVE PROBLEMS Pacific Standard “A just-published study from the Mayo Clinic points to yet another activity that, consistently pursued for decades, may be even more effective at warding off cognitive decline: making art.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF ART IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT Public Broadcasting System
“Although some may regard art education as a luxury, simple creative activities are some of the building blocks of child development. Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics may be more important than ever to the development of the next generation of children as they grow up.”