The Powers of Art - Why art is essential in your life

The Dark Rose. (c) Rebecca LaChance, 2016, Thurmont, MD. from the Backyard Series.

The Dark Rose. (c) Rebecca LaChance, 2016, Thurmont, MD. from the Backyard Series.

Beauty brings hope

I watched the gulls batter their wings against the fierce winds.  For every flap forward there was a push back of several feet.  Every gull had its legs extended - something I had never seen before.   I snapped pictures in burst mode. 

As I processed the images in Light Room I was struck by one picture from the burst.  The gull appeared to be "Air Dancing".  Nothing in the image suggested the violence of the winds. The sky was ocean blue-green and the clouds were layered.  As the beauty of the image soaked into my consciousness, I felt hope. The hope that comes from knowing "this (weather) too shall pass".

To find beauty in the midst of chaos gives us cause to feel hopeful. Beauty reminds us chaos will eventually run its cycle.  Beautiful art generates hope.

The Self

Do you weep while watching musical theater? (Wicked, anyone?).  Does your chest ache to be true of heart, and strong of character during The Last of the Mohicans (but only the version that stars Daniel Day Lewis). Does Pachelbel's Canon in D gently lull you into peace?

Beauty helps us recognize "part of the good" that is within us; the kindness, gentility of character and actions, harmony, balance, peace, strength and dignity.

Beautiful art within your home will remind you are "part of the good".

Art is a constant source of encouragement towards our better selves.  Beauty reminds us who we are and who we can become.  The images we view and choose for our homes are tied to our emotions and our unconscious mind. We are moved and excited when we find in art the qualities we need but are missing in our lives. 

The beauty of art can educate our souls.

Art makes us less lonely. It reminds us, reassures us, about the normality of pain.  Art can be sad for us, and with us. Some of the greatest artworks make pain felt and visible in the most public of ways. These artworks recollect that pain is present in the human heart, mind and life.

Art reminds us confusion, uncertainty, emotional and physical distress are part and parcel of the human condition.  We are not alone in our moments of sadness.

Art anchors our intentions and our desires. It is no wonder self-help teachers suggest we construct vision boards of our dreams and goals.  Those teachers know viewing our dreams and goals as art increases the likelihood of achievement.

Art strengthens our dreams.  Art reinforces our goals. Art encourages us toward achievement.

Health

Have you ever had an MRI of your head? It is an obnoxiously loud bit of medical machinery.  Did you know - even with all the loud noises - an MRI can track your reactions to art?

Looking at the images we love increases blood flow to our brains, stimulates our creativity, and increases empathy. (You gotta love the answers found in a good MRI brain study.) Viewing art releases neurotransmitters that improve our perceived quality of life.

And thanks to those neurotransmitters, viewing the art we love decreases depression. Viewing art on a regular basis increases resilience to stressful conditions.

Art has been shown to affect pain levels and rates of healing.  People in hospital used less pain medications and where discharged to home sooner when they could regularly view beautiful art.

Art changes our brains. Art is a powerful resource for mental and physical well-being.

Community

Art tells the story of our communities.  Art holds the memories and wisdom of our cultures. Art connects us to the shared experience of time and place.  Art is the way communities and cultures engage with their life experiences. Art reveals the hidden mystery beneath "everydayness".  Art is the forum where communities declare and define their values. 

How a community maintains and renews its art speaks to the growth or the decline of the community.  What does it say about the health of a community when its art is allowed to decay?

Art has the power to transform us and the world. The language of art is formidable.

The Trailing Rose (c) Rebecca LaChance, 2016, Thurmont, MD.  from the Backyard Series

The Trailing Rose (c) Rebecca LaChance, 2016, Thurmont, MD.  from the Backyard Series

Expect the best. Anything else is an adventure.

Rebecca

I welcome your thoughts about the power of art. Just add them to this page (below) or the Facebook page.  And please share.

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More Information about the power of Art:

Plato, Aristotle

Wendell Pierce, Rod Dreher, "The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, A Play, and the City that Would Not be Broken."

Alain de Botton -  What is Art Therapy?  What is Art good for?

Rebecca LaChance PhD, is a photographer, mentor and teacher. After several long careers in health care, she dedicated herself to sharing the power of art and launched Rebecca LaChance Art & Photography. She advocates for artists starting creative businesses and encourages them to "start where you are, use what you have".  When she's not writing about photography or photographing every day life, she enjoys trading science/nerd humor with her husband, a fellow scientist.