Feeling a little down? Need a shot of mental or physical energy?
Go paint a painting or sing your heart out at karaoke, or go to an art museum or concert (virtually or otherwise) to experience someone else’s work.
Greater Prescott has a burgeoning cultural scene spearheaded by an array of art galleries downtown, local music ensembles ranging from orchestras to bar bands, community theater organizations, regional and national acts at the Findlay Toyota Center, Yavapai College Performing Arts Center and Elks Theatre.
Our options for seeing and otherwise participating in live events and even movies have been limited over the past year but they are slowly coming back. Our local arts organizations need our support no matter what else is going on — it’s a matter of community health.
Many researchers report a link between the arts and improved health, and to further explore this link the World Health Organization (WHO) released a survey in 2019 of more than 3,000 European studies on the mental and physical health effects of participating in arts and cultural activities.
With the most comprehensive research of its kind to date, the WHO found involvement with visual, performing, literary and or online arts:
- Supports child development by enhancing speech and language acquisition and support parent-child bonding.
- Promotes healthy living and engagement with health care providers.
- Helps to stop or slow down progression of illness by increasing well-being, reducing the impact of trauma, lowering the risk of cognitive decline and even improving symptoms.
- Supports recovery and relieving symptoms from mental illness.
- Improves the experience of and outcomes from hospital care for patients of all ages.
- Supports patients with neurological disorders including autism spectrum diagnoses, cerebral palsy, stroke and dementia.
People benefit from participating in the arts as well as looking at the work of others. This includes: improved sleep and concentration in children after being read to by parents; teens participating in dramatic reenactments of tough life situations they may face; and older people with dementia improving their memory by singing.
People of all ages can benefit from taking up such art-related hobbies as painting or drawing, pottery, music, photography, writing, or even animation or other online arts.
Following these activities throughout your life or taking them up as an older adult keeps your mind engaged and helps to ward off cognitive decline.
At the community level, the WHO says residents and officials can help promote arts events, programs and organizations by ensuring art forms are available to everyone in the community, including minorities and lower-income groups.
As an individual you can make sure your children have access to and participate in arts-related programs at school and attend museums, live shows and festivals whenever possible — streaming content or in-person when available. It’s going to do you and everyone else good!