Art. Three letters combined to spell out a word, a concept, that continues to be debated on in the art world and among people in general. If you were to look up the definition of art online, using a source such as dictionary.com, you would see five different meanings. One definition the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawingsounds straight out of an art class textbook. Another, the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significancesounds more philosophical. The argument continues that art cannot be defined. Whatever you consider art, one thing has been well established: incorporating art into your daily life is not just for artists.
The Importance of Art in Daily Life
While many people may be unaware of how much art is in their surroundings, the fact is art envelopes life. It surrounds us all, no matter who we are or what we do. Art has existed as long as man has. An important part of our culture, art shapes our ideas and our ideas shapes art. Art has therapeutic values as it enables us to get in touch with our deepest feelings and emotions. Art therapy combines psychotherapeutic techniques and the creative process to improve mental health and foster healing from some mental health disorders. Art offers people struggling with mental health issues freedom to express themselves judgment free. Art is a vehicle for creative self-expression that everyone should take advantage of.
For many years art was seen as an optional pursuit. Think of all those children in school years ago who wanted to be artists when they grew up. Depending on the time, most likely adults in charge shook their heads and steered them toward a choice that was more “practical”. Today thinking has evolved, and we know that art is more than fun or beauty. Art gives meaning to our lives. In actuality, art helps us understand the world through forms such as thought-provoking paintings and conversation starting photographs. It may not be an answer to every question, but art has the power to draw out questions we didn’t even know we had. As a society, professional artist or not, we have a need to express, to create, and to bring to life the ideas we have inside us. Art in our daily lives helps us do just that.
The Benefits of Art
Research and published studies have been touting the benefits of art for several years. Grandma Moses graced the cover of a 1953 issue of Time magazine, the picture taken during an interview where Moses was painting a Butternut tree at the age of ninety-three. Unable to pursue the embroidery she loved after being diagnosed with arthritis, Moses took a family member’s suggestion of painting to fill the void when she was seventy-six years old. Then there’s American Artist Georgia O’Keeffe, known for her paintings of enlarged flowers and New Mexico landscapes. O’Keeffe was creating charcoal drawings two years before she died at the age of ninety-eight. While no one can say for sure whether art contributes to longevity, certain benefits of art have been established.
Art reduces stress and anxiety. Art, in any form, helps to calm the brain when it begins to produce the stress hormone cortisol. A simple visit to an art museum or gallery can do the trick. Having paintings and photographs on the walls of one’s home is also a great way to ease stress and anxiety during difficult times.
Art is not an exact science like math or chemistry, the very thing aspect about art that boosts thinking skills as it offers the freedom to explore while using a different part of the brain. Art gives our overtaxed and stressed brains an opportunity to let go and relax whether that’s by admiring a work of art or taking a stab at creating our own by doodling.
Art also makes you more observant which can lead to stronger problem-solving skills. Spending time in a museum or gallery helps you see details that prompt your brain to pay more attention in other environments. In turn, this awareness builds a realization that there is more than one solution to a problem. Art has a great way of helping one think outside the box to come up with solutions they might not otherwise have thought of. Art inspires open ended thinking.
As it eases stress and anxiety that affect the brain, art has shown to benefit people living with Alzheimer’s disease. For those who are dealing with memory loss in different degrees, painting or drawing gives the patient an unrestricted way to trigger positive memories forgotten. The very act of creating a picture helps these patients practice cognitive skills they are losing.
Four Ways to Incorporate Art into Your Daily Life
One way to start incorporating art into your daily life is to try to remember what some of your childhood interests were. So many people remember enjoying drawing or painting as children. If you enjoyed drawing then, there’s no reason to think you won’t now. Set a goal to pick up a pencil and paper each day and draw whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about your skills or the subject you choose. This is for your eyes only; to create a practice of making time for art every day.
Bring art into your home by surrounding yourself with paintings and photographs that express who you are. If you already have several pieces hanging on your walls, consider rearranging them. Even better, visit a local gallery to see what strikes your interest. If there isn’t a gallery nearby, consider an online gallery where you will be able to view a range of art that might catch your eye. A colorful painting or photograph that grabs your attention not only gives a room a makeover but helps rejuvenate body and soul.
Consider pursuing a new hobby by taking a painting or drawing class. These days everyone spends more time working than playing. A hobby is important to living not only a balanced lifestyle but one that feels fulfilling. If you make time each day for exercise, consider daily time for art another important aspect of your health. If you have a gallery in your area find out if they offer classes for the community. If they don’t offer classes, they’re sure to point you in the direction of a local organization or community center that does.
Art is everywhere once we begin to earnestly look for it. There’s no better way to incorporate art into your daily life than finding out about art events in your community. Whether you live in a small town or a big city, there is bound to be an art event going on or coming up. Many towns hold art walks or outdoor art fairs that are great for not only viewing art but picking up a new piece or two. Art fairs are a great way to meet new artists and see the latest trends in the art world. Join a local art community and sign up to get updates on what events are coming up. It’s a way to combine your interest in bringing art into your daily life while building a social network in the art world.
If you are interested in incorporating art into your daily life, these are just four ways to get started. There are more ways to incorporate art into your daily life to not only experience the benefits of art but to connect to something that is so big it can’t quite be defined.