Art and health: The benefits of viewing art

Daniel Wall Park West Gallery

You Really Got Me” (2014), Daniel Wall

When viewing Park West art at our Michigan gallery or aboard more than 100 cruise ships, you may find more than a wonderful work of art to collect.

Recent studies and research are proving that a trip to the gallery or museum can positively impact your health and well being in ways such as lowering anxiety and depression and boosting critical thinking skills.


Viewing art boosts health

Simon Bull Park West Gallery

Power of Love” (2007), Simon Bull

The Nord-Trondelag Health Study involved collecting information and samples from 130,000 Norwegians ages 13 and up. Koenraad Cuypers, a researcher in the department of public health and general practice at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, used data from the study that questioned more than 50,000 men and women about how often they attended galleries and museums, viewed films and other cultural activities.

Cupyers discovered that participation in cultural activities, such as creating art, attending concerts and sporting events correlated with good health, satisfaction with life, low anxiety and low depression in both men and women. Specifically, 84 percent of those who participated in at least four activities reported good health, and 91 percent of them reported high satisfaction in their lives.

Furthermore, the study concluded that these benefits were found in people who both created or consumed the culture. This means creating artwork as well as viewing or collecting art offer the same benefits.

Pino Park West Gallery

A Woman of Mystery” (2008), Pino

Interestingly enough, females receive more benefits from active culture consumption (i.e. creating art) while males benefit more from passively consuming culture (i.e. viewing art). In other words, enriching yourself with culture is a great way to improve your quality of life, even if you’re not the one holding the brush.


Museum and gallery visits improve thinking and empathy

Park West Gallery Lebo

One of 23 exhibition spaces at Park West Gallery, with this space featuring Lebo art.

A study published by the University of Arkansas in 2014 determined the impact of students taking a field trip to an art museum, showing the visit changed how they think and feel for the better.

More than 10,000 students were surveyed, and the majority of them (70 to 88 percent) retained factual information from the tours. Students also displayed improved critical thinking skills as well as gains in tolerance and historical empathy. While the study focused on museums, this can arguably extend to galleries as well.

Additionally, viewing artwork that one finds beautiful causes a person to experience joys similar to falling in love. Professor Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist with the University of London, scanned the brains of volunteers while they viewed 28 works of art. Zeki discovered when a person views art they find beautiful, it triggers an immediate release of dopamine into the brain – a chemical related to feelings of love, pleasure and desire.

David Najar Park West Gallery

A Scene of Autumn” (2014), David Najar

These scientific studies prove what many great thinkers and philosophers have expressed in the past. Plato, for instance, believed that the arts were powerful shapers of character, able to stir up emotions and influence our behavior.  Meanwhile, G.W.F. Hegel saw art’s role as giving intuitive, sensuous expressions to the viewer by showing what divine and human freedom look like, whether it be symbolic, romantic or classical art.

Put these art and health studies to the test with artwork at Park West Gallery in Southfield, Michigan and at our art auctions at sea.

10 Responses to Art and health: The benefits of viewing art

  1. Rockford Johnson says:

    Great post! Thank you for helping me understand the benefits of viewing art. I really like how you explained that “Recent studies and research are proving that a trip to the gallery or museum can positively impact your health and well-being in ways such as lowering anxiety and depression and boosting critical thinking skills.” I have never been to an art gallery before so hopefully I can find one nearby to help me with the stress of school and everything else.

  2. Eldon Ashley says:

    My wife & I started collecting art in 2007 and love it. We primarily get it from our cruises but have looked into other avenues and found some local artist we like. We are already discussing what we will collect next time and have looked into some we like to collect through par west galleries.

  3. Shari WB says:

    We love our art and yes, it’s true. Looking at something we believe is beautiful really feels good.

  4. carl Blake says:

    I like the 2014 Daniel wall painting I’d love to get my hands on that one please let me know how can I get that one to buy

  5. Joann Marandola says:

    I want to thank you for my art I recently purchased on the Eurodam. It looks great and brightens the room. I look forward to seeing more. Thank you, Joann

  6. Zelda Richardson says:

    I am fortunate to live in a city (Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia) that has a vibrant Arts scene, both visual and performing. We have numerous galleries – I went to the opening of new premises for one of them last night. There is a huge number of choirs (I belong to 3),and we have the annual “First Coat’ festival where local and international street artists paint wonderful murals on the exterior walls in city lanes. Looks like my health and mental well-being are assured!!

  7. Kaye Koolloos-Smith says:

    I have just received an email from fedex to say they will be delivering 1 of my 3 paintings I was wondering when my other 2 paintings will be coming & do they came by fedex as will. They said I has to pay $308.28 before they can release it which is for duty & GST is this because it is over $1,000 could you please answer the questions I have asked you. Thank you Kaye Koolloos-Smith

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