Yes! It most def­i­nite­ly can. View­ing art is good for your health. Do you want to enhance your brain func­tion and feel good doing it? Then take a walk through an Art gallery, like Hills­bor­ough Gallery of Arts, Art muse­um or Crafts Fair. It not only lifts your spir­its, view­ing art can stim­u­late the cre­ation of new neur­al path­ways and ways of thinking. 

Each time you look at a piece of art, your brain is work­ing to make sense of the visu­al infor­ma­tion it’s receiv­ing. From high­ly life­like por­traits to abstract col­lec­tions of rec­tan­gles, look­ing at art stim­u­lates the brain and puts our innate knack for orga­niz­ing pat­terns and mak­ing sense of shapes to use.” Uni­ver­si­ty of Ari­zona Glob­al Campus

Pat Mer­ri­man

Take for exam­ple a por­trait of a per­son, or boat, etc. It is not a per­son or boat, but the brain has the skill of mak­ing sense of what we’re see­ing and allows us to iden­ti­fy it as such. The brain goes through changes when look­ing at a beau­ti­ful art­work.  To prove the point, an exper­i­ment con­duct­ed dur­ing a stu­dent muse­um vis­it. It showed through brain scans an increase in blood flow to the brain by as much as 10% that trig­gers a surge of dopamine (the neu­ro­trans­mit­ter — your body’s nat­ur­al anti­de­pres­sant and asso­ci­at­ed with feel­ings of hap­pi­ness and well-being) in the same areas of the brain that reg­is­ters roman­tic love. It’s the the equiv­a­lent of look­ing at some­one you love. Sur­veys con­duct­ed after the trip showed that even just an hour’s trip to the muse­um indi­cat­ed signs of improved crit­i­cal think­ing skills among stu­dents, exhibit­ing empa­thy, and expressed tol­er­ance towards oth­ers dif­fer­ent from them. 

Con­sid­er­ing this, it seems ART class­es should def­i­nite­ly not be a class to cut, but, in fact, it should be a required course.

Bird’s Eye View, Alice Levinson


Look­ing at art isn’t just about mak­ing sense of the shapes. When we look at a piece of art, be it a paint­ing, sculp­ture, fur­ni­ture, tex­tile, we place our­selves into the art­work. Putting our­selves in the art is when our brain turns things like action, move­ment, and ener­gy you see in art into actu­al emo­tions you can feel. Our cog­ni­tion is influ­enced by our expe­ri­ences in the phys­i­cal world. The more you study the art­work, the more you put your­self with­in the scene and can actu­al­ly feel or relate to the work. Say for instance, you look at a  paint­ing by Jack­son Pol­lock. You may feel like you are fling­ing that paint. Or maybe you are view­ing a pic­ture of the ocean. You may feel the sand beneath your feet, the smell of the salt, call of the gulls, and the sound of ocean waves. When you begin to relate to the art­work, you’re more able to appre­ci­ate it even more. It may then bring mem­o­ries and feel­ings of joy.

On the Rocks, Jude Lobe

So TAKE A WALK THROUGH AN ART GALLERY and lift your spirits.

~ Jude Lobe