From the time I was a child until today I’ve lived, played, worked, and even breathed paint (let me tell you, that last one wasn’t quite so comfortable). It’s the kind of thing that just happens when you’re the son of two people who fell in love in art school. In truth, I know I was blessed, as my public school education never touched on people like Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Jean-Michel Basquiat, or even Leonardo Da Vinci. But science is finally coming to the defense of art, and now offers proof that art is good for a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health (titled “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health”) showed conclusive evidence from patients battling chronic illness and cancer that art: “helped them focus on positive life experiences,” “enhanced their self-worth and identity,” “reduced stress, decreased anxiety,” and caused “significant improvements in SF-36 symptom scores (e.g. weight gain, serum carbon dioxide content, phosphate levels), and a trend toward reduced levels of depression.” Oh, and there also happened to be “statistically significant reductions in 8 of the 9 symptoms [of cancer patients] measured by the Edmonton scale.”
Now I call that a nice side effect of art. Hmm… Anyone thinking of taking up the fight to put it back in our schools? I should hope so, especially when you consider that tons of studies worldwide have proven that studying art improves students’ GPAs and standardized test scores, and lowers dropout rates. And that’s without mentioning the benefits of raising one’s self esteem and confidence. Oh, I just mentioned that.
Now I admit that in today’s day and age it would be very hard, if not impossible, to make a living (if any money at all) from a simple paintbrush and a bit of creative flair, but when you consider how it helps your body and helps you learn, maybe, just maybe, you can still profit from splattering some paint on the page.