ART AND WELLBEING: EXPLORING THE TRANSFORMATIVE IMPACT
Medical professionals worldwide are increasingly prescribing cultural experiences, such as gallery visits and community-based art classes, as part of treatment plans aimed at reducing loneliness and depression, while enhancing cognitive skills. According to a recent study, US art museums alone contribute an astounding $52 billion annually to well-being benefits.
Research on the positive effects of art on well-being spans several decades, consistently highlighting its capacity to improve mental health, emotional well-being, cognitive function, stress management, and social connectedness. As scholars and practitioners delve deeper into this field, the understanding of the profound impact of artistic activities on human health and happiness continues to expand.
The following sections aim to shed light on the extensive research examining the benefits of art. Whether you seek a deeper understanding of the impact of your contributions or wish to explore why engaging with our exhibitions or participating in our classes and workshops can benefit your health, we invite you to enjoy the following research and discover something new!
*Please note that all the research included on this page is external research and was not conducted by Lighthouse ArtCenter. The research referenced in this document is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.
Research shows that engaging in arts can positively impact well-being.
Research at Drexel University revealed that spending as little as 45 minutes creating art can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Importantly, artistic skill level didn't influence the stress-relieving benefits. The act of making art is inherently calming at a physiological level, cultivating a meditative-like state, known as a flow state, which can effectively alleviate stress.
IMPROVED QUALITY OF LIFE
A 2020 study at University College London found that those who attend cultural events at least once a year were found to have lower mental distress and improved quality of life – no matter their socioeconomic level.
MINDFULNESS AND RELAXATION
Research indicates that engaging in art making promotes mindfulness and relaxation through mechanisms such as focused attention, sensory engagement, and the induction of a flow state. This process has been found to reduce stress hormones and provide a non-verbal outlet for expression, contributing to an overall sense of calm and well-being.
Art provides a non-verbal medium for individuals to express their emotions, facilitating emotional release and self-discovery. This can contribute to improved emotional well-being and increased self-awareness.
Research consistently shows that community-based art classes have a positive impact on participants' feelings of connectedness.
Studies consistently show that engaging in art making boosts cognitive stimulation, enhancing memory, problem-solving abilities, and creative thinking. Artistic activities stimulate different parts of the brain, enhancing brain connectivity and cognitive flexibility.
The creation of art has been linked to the production of serotonin and endorphins, which are in turn linked to a happier, more emotionally open state of mind.
Art classes provide opportunities for continuous learning and skill development, promoting a growth mindset and a sense of purpose, which are important factors in overall well-being, especially in older adults.