How does Your Art World support health and wellbeing?
In 2019 The World Health Organisation published a report called What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being? The report looked at over 3000 studies from around the world which concluded that the arts play a major role in preventing and managing poor health.
Both making art and looking at art can be good for you. Here’s how…
To put it simply, making art or looking at art can help us feel good! The colour of paint, the texture of fabric, the sound of music or the smell of plasticine can all stimulate the senses and make us happy.
Making art can help us emotionally. Children have told us that making art helps them when they feel angry or sad. Making art can help us make sense of things and express emotions that are hard to put into words. Sometimes, using our imagination can help us to forget our problems or to imagine solutions to our problems. Through art we can imagine a better world.
Your Art World works in opposition to the idea of seeking perfection and comparison with others. We recognise the pressure that this can generate and the negative impact it can have on our mental wellbeing. Your Art World was created to value individuality over conformity, exploring solutions over finding the 'right' answer. Your Art World is not a competition, it's where ideas can be shared and creativity celebrated.
Art is a safe space where we can experiment, take risks, fail and learn to fix our mistakes so we become resilient. Your Art World suggests processes to help generate more than one idea, so when things go wrong we have other ideas to fall back on. Something might not work exactly how we planned to start with, but analysing what we did, experimenting and playing can lead to new insights and help build our confidence to try again.
Artists are experts at dealing with uncertainty. They don't fear the unknown but they get excited about new possibilities and inventing things that nobody has thought of before. Leonardo da Vinci's flying machines are a great example of this. Using our imagination to solve problems or imagine the world differently is an important skill that we can develop in art and use in other situations too.
Sometimes art can connect us to our cultural traditions, helping us feel a sense of belonging and therefore increasing our resilience.
Your Art World encourages social interaction. Talking about what you've created, listening and sharing ideas help us grow our own ideas and improve them too. You might also collaborate to make art with other people. Listening to and respecting other opinions can reduce discrimination and help us understand each other better. Your Art World celebrates difference, integration and the fact that we all see things differently, encouraging young people to be open-minded, which is one of the traits of a creative mindset.
Art can also help us communicate important ideas – about health, about society, or about the planet. When we look at art we see the world through the eyes of the artist. Artists can show us a different point of view, make us think about things differently and they can even help change the way people think or act if their message is persuasive.
Practising making art helps us get better at communicating our ideas effectively.
Brain and body
Art can actually change how our body functions. Research has shown that art can reduce stress, increase immunity and help our heart function. Learning and skills development are linked to a lower risk of developing dementia and mental illness. Art activity can also be prescribed as a therapy or treatment to improve health.
Physical activity can be involved too. Making art isn’t just about sitting down with a pencil. Building a life-size sculpture involves moving around and physical labour. The action painter Jackson Pollok was constantly moving, lifting and pouring to create his enormous paintings and the artist Richard Long went on walks as part of his art making process.
Your Art World encourages& physical experimentation. Using different art materials can help develop fine motor skills, like handling scissors, moulding clay or controlling the marks made by a pencil, brush, or lino cutter. Or create a performance and video it. Most of all, Your Art World encourages fun!
5 ways to wellbeing
All of the above support the “5 ways to wellbeing” so why not get involved:
Connect - share your art in the online gallery
Be active - the more energy you put in to making your art the more exciting it will look
Take notice - of other art works and of the world around you to inspire your art-making
Keep learning - try a new technique to make your art
Give - give others some inspiration by sharing your art in the online gallery
Your Art World
Your Art World is an online community by and for 3 to 18-year-olds: a place to think, wonder, create and share your art online. Find resources and open-ended challenges to inspire critical thinking, play and individual voice.