Art’s Impact On Students
Iris Chen - Richmond resident, ballerina
Research has proven that the arts have a tremendous impact on our kids. Children who participate in the arts, particularly music, have been shown to be more likely to stay in school, and get better grades in math and science. They’re also far more likely to be elected to student boards and be recognized for academic achievement.
That link between arts and academic achievement continues for life. Top scientists are twice as likely as the general public to have an artistic hobby, and Nobel prize winners are almost three times as likely to participate in the arts.
You might think practical education is the path to success, but keep in mind that creativity is the number one skill that employers are looking for. The arts help people think creatively and solve problems in unexpected ways.
Healthy living through art
One of the most surprising things about art’s impact is how it helps not only our happiness, but also our health. Experiencing art can alleviate stress, reduce the likelihood of depression and even boost your immune system by lowering chemicals that cause inflammation that can trigger diabetes, heart attacks and other illnesses.
The arts also have a powerful therapeutic effect. Music has been widely researched in the field of pain management for cancer patients who have reported additional benefits including an increased sense of control, immunity and relaxation. There is also evidence that use of art and music reduces hospital stays.
Music therapy is even being used to rehabilitate people with serious head injuries as it is proven to help them regain the ability to speak.
Art strengthens communities
When we take in culture – a play, book, concert, etc. – that focuses on a social issue or comes from a perspective that differs from our own, we gain a better understanding of humanity and the groups we live amongst. Art helps to break down boundaries by growing our awareness, tolerance and compassion.
This helps us to be more civic and socially minded. In fact, people who engage in the arts are more likely to volunteer. A recent study of youth found that drama in schools significantly increased students’ capacities to communicate, relate to each other and to respect minorities.
Cultural festivals promote celebration and pride as well as awareness of cultural differences. Because dance, music, photography and other visual arts transcend language, they can bridge barriers between cultural, racial and ethnic groups.
Moreover, the arts are one of the primary means of public dialogue. Communities talk about and express difficult issues, emotions and the otherwise inexpressible via the arts.
A stronger economy through art
Ajaye Jardine - Richmond resident, singer
Arts and culture play an important role in promoting economic goals through local regeneration, developing talent, creating jobs, spurring innovation and attracting tourists.
Statistics Canada estimates that cultural industries (including broadcasting, film and video, interactive media, design, newspapers and crafts) contribute an estimated $53.2 billion in direct contribution to Canada’s GDP and more than 700,000 jobs. That’s ten times larger than the estimated economic impact of sports ($4.5 billion), and well over the impact of utilities ($35 billion), and the combined impact of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting ($23 billion).
Cultural industries can actually turn ordinary cities into “destination cities” giving them a competitive advantage for cultural tourism. And tourists who come for the arts stay longer and spend more money than the average tourist.
Art improves Quality of Life
Shuyao Ma - Richmond resident, vilonist
The mental and physiological ways that the arts contribute to positive health and well-being for older adults are only now beginning to be understood. Learning new skills when creating a work of art (be it visual or performing) not only provides a greater sense of confidence and control, it can even help our immune systems fight infections.
Among the elderly, those that take part in creative pursuits are less likely to experience mild cognitive impairment. These activities are thought to maintain neuronal function, stimulate neural growth and recruit neural pathways to maintain cognitive function. This is particularly true of those that actively create works of art.
Music appears to be especially beneficial when complemented with standard therapies in treating everything from depression to cancer to Parkinson’s.
Moreover, the arts can provide opportunities to meet others, create together and share experiences, all of which can improve perceived health status, chronic pain and sense of community.