by Jacqueline Cofield
Engaging the arts can have reap greater benefits than you might imagine and it doesn’t require becoming a professional artist or having any prior knowledge. You’d be surprised to learn how many people have landed opportunities such as jobs, or meeting the love of their life at an art show, performance or symphony fundraising dinner.
Below are 9 ways that the arts can enrich your life:
Increase Your Intelligence
A study found that increasing arts education in schools by even just an hour a week resulted in children gaining more interpersonal skills and gaining deeper learning in a range of subjects. Various studies suggest that learning about the arts can improve emotional intelligence, visual intelligence, and social intelligence in both adults and children, allowing us to understand ourselves and others much better.
For example, visual intelligence can be improved through the arts by enhancing our memory and perception skills. Visits to art museums have been used to help New York City police officers make better, non-biased reports.
Personal Growth and Healing
Many people who are in long term medical care or unable to work engage the arts as a means to recover both physically and mentally. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, for example, uses art and music therapy to aid children in working through their traumatic experiences.
Creativity induces positive emotions and a sense of accomplishment. This is why artistic activities are often used in prisons, as detailed by this article in Psychology Today, or by people with mental health issues.
It’s virtually impossible to avoid meeting new people at any arts engagement, and this could have significant impact on your personal and professional life. People have met clients and even their spouses at arts events. The arts give you something to talk about and a point of shared interest.
Even so, many overlook the social aspects of the arts. Cultural events provide a rare opportunity for young people to bridge generation gaps and network informally with industry leaders whom they would may otherwise have difficulty meeting.
For example, if the head of a company you want to work for enjoys opera, then you might incidentally meet them at a fundraiser or performance, and your shared interest could make you more memorable than at a busy industry conference.
The arts give us the opportunity to see more of the world both literally and figuratively. Visiting international cities in order to attend arts events, practice your language skills, or to do research for your business are great reasons to travel. Viewing or engaging in local arts also gives us insight into a culture that the tourist traps don’t reveal.
However, many people can’t afford to travel so they rely on the arts to give them a glimpse of the world and provide their cultural education. Local museums, for example, offer you global exposure through their exhibitions.
Develop Your Aesthetic
By engaging the arts, you can develop, refine and broaden your tastes. Creative people inspire and influence each other. For example, fashion designers often take inspiration from artists, such as Yves Saint Laurent’s legendary ‘Mondrian dress’, based upon the paintings of the modern artist Piet Mondrian. Your choice in fashion and home decor, for example, reflect your aesthetic tastes, so it behooves you to get out and get inspiration from many forms of arts.
(Re) Learn History
History classes at school tend to focus on memorizing facts and dates. The arts reveal details in a more engaging, memorable way. The arts often challenge the history we thought we already knew. Works of art can help us develop empathy through the ability to consider a range of perspectives.
Improved Cognitive Performance
Creativity involves discipline. You will be surprised how much arts and creative hobbies can improve your work performance. Analyzing the arts can help you become a better problem-solver, critical thinker, and can even help you write more detailed, compelling reports. Performing arts can demonstrate how to articulate your presentations and speeches, or even just give you the confidence you need to pass a job interview. Artistic interests could even give you something new and creative to add to your resume, which could make the difference in landing your dream job.
Dance other forms of performing arts can be an ideal way to keep fit and doesn’t necessarily involve a gym membership. A dance practice from another country can even facilitate learning more about another culture. Performing arts can help you become more intuitive, expressive, and in-touch with your body. And, you don’t have to ‘perform’ for anyone. Even playing a musical instrument has physiological benefits.
Fulfilling a Dream
Most people at some point in their lives has said something along the lines of ‘I want to write a book’ or ‘I wish I could play a musical instrument,’ but very few will actually do anything about it. While developing an interest in the arts won’t automatically turn you into Van Gogh, you could gain fulfillment in yourself by exceeding your own expectations.
Jacqueline founded J Rêve International LLC, a global culture and arts education social enterprise and has been recognized by the Science Channel as a Science Super Hero and PBS as an Inspiring Woman. She’s lived in 8 countries, and visited 60, presenting globally on the intersection of art and culture, multiple intelligence, and STEAM education. She inspires individuals, communities, and nations to make global connections by engaging the arts across cultures. Cofield advocates for the arts as transformative tools for learning that can promote a more quality human experience, enhance creativity and intelligence, and increase our ability to provide solutions to world problems.