instilling values and translating experiences across space and time. Research has shown art affects the fundamental sense of self. Painting, sculpture, music, literature, photography and the other arts are often considered to be the repository of a society’s collective memory. Art preserves what fact-based historical records cannot: how it felt to exist in a particular place at a particular time. Art in this sense is communication; it allows people from different cultures and different times to communicate with each other via images, sounds and stories. Art is often a vehicle for social change. It can give voice to the politically or socially disenfranchised. A song, film or novel can rouse emotions in those who encounter it, inspiring them to rally for change. Researchers have long been interested in the relationship between art and the human brain. For example, in 2013, researchers from Newcastle University found that viewing contemporary visual art had positive effects on the personal lives of nursing home-bound elders. Art also has utilitarian influences on society. There is a demonstrable, positive correlation between schoolchildren’s grades in math and literacy, and their involvement with drama or music activities. As the National Art Education Association points out, art is beneficial for the artist as an outlet for work. Art not only fosters the human need for self-expression and fulfillment; it is also economically viable. The creation, management and distribution of art employs many. So what are you waiting for! Help foster the creative you, grab a bottle of wine and your credit card so that you can purchase and support a working artist and hang some original works on the walls home or office, or just want to give beauty as a gift to someone special.
“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.” –Lyndon Johnson, on signing into existence the National Endowment on the Arts
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