A Demand For More Art Studies

by Rivky Shimon - Date: 2006-12-23 - Word Count: 520 Share This!

"When the creative spirit stirs, it animates a style of being: a lifetime filled with the desire to innovate, to explore new ways of doing things, to bring dreams of reality." ~ Daniel Goleman

It is discouraging that there aren't much up-to-date studies of the benefits of art. The creative process in the avenues of our imagination is where we find solutions to the world's problems. Awakening those recesses of the brain brings about new ideas, new places to explore for information. Learning how to learn is what we should be teaching ourselves and yet we get stuck on memorizing facts, repetitive processes and stale concepts that offer no value for the future. The study of art informs our meta cognition, the ability to think about what we are thinking, and it awakens our spirit, that which is in us struggling to stay alive.

Semir Zeki was a professor of neurobiology at the University College London and co-head of the Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology when he published the article "Artistic Creativity and the Brain" in Science Magazine July 2001. No, "Wellcome" is not misspelled. In his article, Zeki outlined how cognitive abilities are developed through the creative process and that artistic expression is the key to understanding ourselves. "A major function of art can thus be regarded as an extension of the function of the brain, namely, to seek knowledge about the world."

Zeki's findings should have sparked a revolution among scientists and psychologists as well as therapists and even teachers. If it was more widely believed that cognitive abilities are strengthened through the use of creative expression, scientists could discover ways in which to solve such problems as cures for diseases and resource conservation. Psychologists would better be able to understand how the mind works in relation to certain behaviors. Therapists would be more capable of talking their patients through critical issues and to a greater understanding of the world around them. And teachers would be able to tap into greater resources in the classroom.

But, the need for art is often overlooked because other things seem so much more important. As individuals, we reduce our lives to the pursuit of sufficient employment, secure shelter and edible provisions. As a nation, we struggle with competitive industry, land preservation and national defense. Our problem solving techniques are reduced to simple math and logical reasoning. But, our creative abilities could offer us greater solutions and make our lives so much more valuable to us. That's what we're missing.

If more time and energy were placed into the studies of art and its affect on the human condition, we would be a far more advanced society. "Going outside the box" would be the common practice for solution finding. But just to exercise ourselves in art, set up an easel and explore a canvas, is clearly enough to find personal exploration and avenues of your own imagination. Art is therapeutic as well as developmental. So, even though studies aren't swarming to uphold the benefits of art, you don't have to wait for your confirmation. Explore the benefits yourself and enjoy more out of life while you're at it!

Related Tags: study, artist, artists, benefit, benefits, art, therapy, studies, semir, zeki, psycology

An internationally known artist as well as a mother of six, Rivky Shimon founded Rivky's Art Workshop in Brooklyn, New York. Rivky's step-by-step method for teaching children how to create and enjoy art has earned high praise from students, teachers and parents alike. Through her new training series, Rivky plans to teach artists from across the country how to duplicate her success. Not only to ensure that art education remains a vital part of every child's life, but also to enforce the reality that "The Rivky Method" tm works the same magic for adults as well.

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