Art: It Does a Body Good!

By Erica Cardenas

My family loves visiting museums. Exploring art together, interacting with hands-on exhibits and creating new memories – there’s something truly special about it all. In fact, I’ve been exposing my kiddos to the arts for as long as I can remember. Whether it be visual or performing, the arts opens a world of possibilities for young minds: it nurtures creativity and imagination while boosting self-confidence and social skills. I’ve seen this truth exemplified time and time again in my own children, as they enthusiastically explore and confidently create their way through the many awesome art-based museums we have here in the Valley.

My son Noah (6) and daughter Ali (11) creating art at the i.d.e.a. Museum

Not to mention, how completely cool is it that I get to experience this same magic happen within other families every single week?! As a part-time museum staff member in the marketing department at the i.d.e.a. Museum in Mesa, I have the privilege of witnessing children, families and visitors of all ages come together for the common purpose of nourishing their minds and bodies through art, discovery and play.

I’m over the moon that our fall exhibition, The Art of Healthy Living, takes guests on a visual journey that explores nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and overall wellness. Art, hands-on activities and movement stations explore topics such as physical fitness, nourishment of both body and mind, creativity and meditation.

An exhibition that embodies all things health and wellness…now we’re talking! 😉

Art Nurtures Creative Thinking

According to research, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day, with 95% of those thoughts being the exact same, each and every day. It’s said that “creating art trains you to concentrate on details and pay more attention to your environment. In this way, it acts like meditation.”

Now I don’t know about you, but math has never been a near and dear friend of mine. In other words, I pretty much stink at math! But unlike math, there is no one correct answer in art. Music to my ears! 😉 Art encourages out-of-the-box thinking, in turn stimulating your brain to grow more neurons as you develop your own unique solutions.

Photography and art credit: Vanessa Dualib

Art Encourages Compassion and Community

A study of over 10,000 students found that a one-hour trip to an art museum positively impacted their thoughts and feelings. How so? The study goes on to explain that students who visited a museum not only showed increased critical thinking skills, but they also demonstrated “increased empathy towards how people lived in the past and expressed greater tolerance towards people different than themselves.” I completely agree – art does encourage kindness and broadens your view of the world. I’ve experienced this first-hand at my museum as I engage with kids and parents, alike. There’s an acceptance, an appreciation of one another and a sense of community that takes place within those museum walls. It’s wonderful to see!

Think positive! “Mind Weaver” affirmation wall at the i.d.e.a. Museum

All in all, there is overwhelming evidence of how art can positively impact your health – physically, mentally, emotionally and cognitively. And because each of us has the ability to imagine and create, we carry within us a very special gift for the world. A gift that no matter how big or small, can and will make a difference. Keep dreaming, and keep creating!

Stay healthy, my friends!

Erica Cardenas

Watch the full episode of Your Health here: