Homeless Charity Austin
How does art stimulate the brain? There is a common misconception that visual art is solely aesthetic in nature. But it is more than that, according to numerous scientific studies of the interplay of art and the brain. Read on to learn more about art and the brain.
Art is good for the brain. Our brains are hardwired to process art: certain parts of the brain are spontaneously and unconsciously activated when viewing or creating visual art.
It activates the reward center in the brain. For instance, a study done by researchers at Emory University School of Medicine shows that exposure to art more strongly activates the brain’s reward center circuitry compared to the brain activity that happens when looking at photographs of similar subjects.
Art also encourages creative thinking, enhances problem-solving skills, and improves our ability to pay attention to details. Research studies conducted at the University of Houston, led by Dr. Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal, have contributed to our understanding of “how our brains mix sensory impressions of color, texture and shape with memory, meaning, and emotion into an aesthetic judgment of artworks…” and possible bigger-picture implications of our response to art.
Art can help relieve stress and anxiety, too. Visual art has been proven to have positive effects on our brains, especially in terms of overall mental health. Many studies regarding art and stress levels have been conducted, including a 2016 Drexel University study titled "Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants' Responses Following Art Making" that found that creating visual art can significantly reduce stress levels; the study showed a decrease in the participants’ levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Understanding how art stimulates the brain is important. The benefits of exposure to the visual arts are substantial. Art has the potential to improve lives and make a huge positive impact on society.
Art from the Streets is an Austin, Texas-based non-profit organization that was established in 1991 to give people living in homelessness a way to develop as artists, Art from the Streets (AFTS) offers a location for transient artists to create and a way to share their love of art. The organization gives these artists a chance to practice their artistic skills and grow in their creativity, as well as develop a sense of stability. AFTS provides opportunities for the artists to display and sell their art at the AFTS annual art show, as well as online and via other projects and partnerships that have developed over its 30 years in existence. AFTS is run by a board of directors who volunteer their time to administer the AFTS website, promote the organization in the community, manage the open studio, and organize and inventory the high-quality art supplies provide for the artists it serves. If you would like more information about the AFTS program, please contact the organization at any time. If you would like to support AFTS and its mission, there are many ways you can give. Reach out to the AFTS team to learn more.
Purchasing artwork supports the artists directly.