Art and health: The benefits of viewing art
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
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.
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
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.
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.