There are real world health benefits to making the art. According to a 2014 study, producing visual art improved psychological resilience and increased brain activity for participants. Additional studies indicate that creative self-expression and exposure to the arts have wide-ranging effects on cognitive and psycho social health, as well as physical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and even Alzheimer’s. Scientific evidence points to the healing power of art through the experience of inspirational works of art like Franz Schubert’s Ava Maria or the Sistine Chapel. Works like these, boost the immune system by lowering levels of chemicals that cause inflammation that can trigger diabetes, heart attacks and other illnesses.
Everyone can benefit from engaging in arts experiences. Here are some easy activities for you to try:
- Write for at least 15 minutes a day, for at least 3 consecutive days, about something that worries or bothers you. If it makes you feel too upset, simply stop writing or change topics. Experiment to find what works best for you.
- Listen to music to reduce stress and improve quality of life.
- Try a dance class, yoga or Tai Chi. These kinds of movements can help reduce stress.
- Try doodling or drawing as a way to work out tension.
- Visit museum or gallery exhibitions. Seek out art that comforts you, as well as, art that challenges you.
- Attend festivals and events that have interactive opportunities, like the recent Clay Festival, MRAC’s upcoming Southwest Print Fiesta or any number of great local events.
Active participation in arts experiences will nurture another key component of every person’s well being, creativity. Perhaps best stated by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi during his seminal TED talk in 2004, “When we are involved in creativity, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.” The board and staff at the Mimbres Region Arts Council are developing opportunities to implement Dr. Csikszentmihalyi words into action. Over the next 12-18 months new programming and transformations of existing programs will reflect our efforts to promote active engagement in the arts. The changes will be designed to nurture creativity, and promote the physical and mental well being of every person in our community.
Labor Day weekend will be a great time to explore your creativity and improve your personal well being at Mimbres Region Arts Council’s inaugural Southwest Print Fiesta. Celebrating all things printed, the one day street fiesta will be held on Saturday September 3rd from high noon to sunset. More than sixteen artisan print makers from Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, and throughout New Mexico will be set up on the 200 block of West Yankie in front of the Seedboat Gallery. Many will be demonstrating print making processes, equipment and materials, as well as selling their printed art works. Free fiesta events will include family art making activities, and performances by local and regional Americana Music artists. Rumor has it that the street will be turned into a giant press complete with a 3,000 pound steamroller. On Sunday September 4, you can nurture your creativity through a number of classes, workshops and open houses including a clay mono-printing workshop with Fiesta artist-in-residence, Mitch Lyons, of New London, Pennsylvania. For a complete schedule of activities visit www.southwestprintfiesta.org.
The Mimbres Region Arts Council encourages you to make art and to nurture your creative well being. You will not regret the intellectual, physical or mental health benefits that come with an active engagement with the arts. Live an art-full life.
– Kevin A. Lenkner -Executive Director, Mimbres Region Arts Council
This article appeared in the Silver City Daily Press as part of the New Mexico Department of Health’s “Wishing You Well” series of contributed articles promoting healthy lifestyles. – Reprinted with permission.