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Art Correlates with Success

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Junior Georgia Herrold wedges clay for her high school ceramics class.

Junior Georgia Herrold wedges clay for her high school ceramics class.

Julia Eilert

Julia Eilert

Junior Georgia Herrold wedges clay for her high school ceramics class.

Julia Eilert, Co-Editor

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  “Every man lives in two realms: the internal and the external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms, and instrumentalities by means of which we live,” said Martin Luther King Jr.

  While King was not an artist by trade, he was an artist with his words and how he lived his life. He understood the importance of art in everyday life, whether for a profession or for the simple enhancement of life. Appreciating and creating artwork improves our thinking processes, our social skills, and our well-being. Even if you’re not Monet and you can’t paint water lilies, art is a worthwhile investment.

   According to Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, “Practicing executive function activities such as drawing has been shown to significantly improve reasoning and teamwork skills for children aged 3-5.” While studies have only been recorded for this age group, it does say something about how our brain works. Art helps improve visual and spatial reasoning, which makes sense. You have to assess how to fill negative space, and what is the most appealing and efficient. It builds critical thinking in a stress-relieving platform.

  While it’s not clear how the visual stimulation improves the children’s social skills, it can be inferred that it’s caused by connections being made in the brain. It’s been suggested that the improvement is connected to the ability to deliver a message clearly, that comes from creating artwork.

  HK Stuckey’s, DEd, and J Nobel’s, MD, studies suggest that visual arts therapy also “reduces mental distress,” and has “significant positive health effects in aiding recovery.” Many recovery centers have started incorporating art into their programs, on the base-line that it is a healthy way to express yourself and it gives patients a hobby to occupy their time. So far, the results are positive, but when has something negative ever come out of drawing a dog?

  “Art speaks to something primal within us,” said Brett Janes, a researcher, “tapping into our imagination and firing our creative impulses.” Whether you believe the studies or not, art is something worth putting more of our attentions into. Art is a way to open up connections to others around us. If you want to cut off your ear to tap into your creative process, you can- or you can just start putting pictures on paper and reap the benefits. Either way, it’s worth a try.

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