“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” Pablo Picasso is quoted as saying in LIFE magazine in 1964. More than 50 years later, in a world where you are as likely to find artworks in an office or yoga class as you are in a gallery, his words are more relevant than ever.
No longer reserved for the privileged, art – whether a graphic novel or limited edition print – has become a vital tool for our mental and physical wellbeing. And it can have some serious health benefits too, according to the British Association of Art Therapists. Along with encouraging creative thinking and increasing the feel-good chemical dopamine, it can also stimulate your brain to grow new neurons. Who knew art can make you smart?
A survey carried out by the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) and the International Association of Professional Art Advisors (IPAA) found that art in the workplace improves wellness and productivity. In fact, 73% of staff said their view of the company would change if it was removed.
One group committed to reinforcing this message is the UK charity Paintings in Hospitals. Inspiring better health and wellbeing for two million people across 178 care organisations – including hospitals, hospices and mental health centres – the charity firmly believes in the healing power of art. Earlier this year, it launched the ‘Art in Large Doses’ campaign, which is inspired by studies showing that a quarter of higher education students experience psychological distress.
""Using art to create environments that encourage, enrich and empower people is key to safeguarding the wellbeing of patients""
Head of Collections and Programming at Paintings in Hospitals
The positive effects of art are echoed by UK holistic practice assistant Patricia Heatley, who has recently taken up watercolour lessons after a 45-year break. “It allows me to switch off from the stresses in my life,” she explains. “Once I get into the class, I’m focused on what I’m creating and everything else is left at the door.
“I’m surrounded by holistic treatments such as massage therapy and homeopathy, and I believe that art has similar benefits. The compliments from my family also give me an emotional boost.”
So next time you’re in need of a pick-me-up, why not reach for a paintbrush…or one of our fantastic artworks? It’s medically advised.
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