More Than Our Story

Healthy Creativity

Artwork by Steve Veasey.

Table of Contents

Self-expression through creativity is one of the hallmarks of being human. Every April 15th, we celebrate World Art Day, a day dedicated to the rich tapestry of human expression across cultures and generations. But it’s more than the sum of its parts – these colors, shapes, textures and sounds, enhance the human experience, by reflecting the cultural, social and political environments in which they are created. Art conveys powerful emotions, and can change the course of world history. So it’s fitting that today we investigate not just the origins of World Art Day, but the societal good that art promotes, and the health benefits that arise through artistic endeavor.

Origins of World Art Day

The history of World Art Day can be traced back to the International Association of Art (IAA), which was founded in 1954 as a partnership agency through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the purpose of learning about artistic freedoms. In 2012, the International Association of Art (IAA) established World Art Day on April 15th of each year to celebrate the diversity and role that art plays on a global scale, impacting and reflecting our culture, society, politics, and environment.

DID YOU KNOW:
April 15th, 1452 was the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci - an Italian polymath whose works, talents and accomplishments epitomized the ideals of the Renaissance.

A Celebration of Creativity

Art transcends political and geographical borders. It embraces all disciplines of creative endeavor, including painting, sculpture, music, writing, dance. Art holds a transformative place in our lives – enriching our imaginations, perspectives, and the human experience

Cultural Reflections and Inclusivity

Art is a reflection of the environment in which it was made, including all its diverse social, economic and political structures. Art is a reflection of the social, economic, natural and political environment in which it was made. It invites us to explore these narratives, and helps to foster cross-cultural understandings and dialogue. It is essential that this discourse remains accessible and inclusive – art should be accessible to everyone, regardless of background or socioeconomic status. Initiatives supporting art education and cultural exchange need to adhere to these principals so that everyone is free to participate in and benefit from creative expression.

Health Benefits Of Creating Art

Creating art is not only personally rewarding and enjoyable, but also offers a wide range of health benefits that can positively impact mental, emotional, and physical well-being. By incorporating art into our lives, we can experience greater happiness, reduced stress, improved cognitive function, and enhanced overall quality of life.

Some of the proven health benefits associated with engaging in artistic and creative endeavors include:

  • Stress Reduction: Art provides a therapeutic outlet for stress. The process of creating art can help calm the mind, reduce cortisol levels, and promote relaxation.
  • Improved Mood: Creating art can boost your mood and enhance your happiness through the release of endorphins, helping to alleviate depression and anxiety.
  • Improved Cognitive Function: Artistic endeavors involve complex cognitive processes which stimulate the brain, improving cognitive function and enhancing memory retention.
  • Improved Motor Skills: Art requires fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Engaging in these activities can help improve dexterity, especially in children, older adults, and people recovering from injuries, including TBIs (traumatic brain injuries).
  • Coping Mechanism: Engaging in creative activities allows individuals to process emotions and gain perspective on challenging situations, serving as a valuable coping mechanism during times of stress, grief, or adversity. 
  • Boosted Confidence: Artistic expression encourages individuals to take risks, experiment, and embrace their creativity – helping them experiencing a sense of accomplishment and boosting their self-confidence.
  • Enhanced Self-Expression: Artistic expression allows individuals to communicate thoughts, emotions, and experiences non-verbally, which can be beneficial for those who have difficulties expressing themselves verbally, and help provide a medium for self-expression and self-discovery.
  • Improved Mindfulness: Creating art often requires focus, attention and concentration – similar to mindfulness practices – and can help cultivate a sense of inner peace and calm.
  • Social Connection: Participating in art classes and workshops can help cultivate social connections, collaboration and networking – helping to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Lifelong Learning: Artistic pursuits offer endless opportunities for learning, and help to foster a lifelong passion for learning and self-development.

Societal Benefits of Creating Art

Creating art can do more than benefit our health on a personal level, art is a social construct that helps bring people from all walks of life. 

Some of the ways engaging in artistic and creative endeavors can benefits society as a whole include:

  • Promoting Thinking Differently: Art nurtures creativity and innovation, encouraging the practice of thinking differently and accepting new things.
  • Breakdowning Down Barriers: Art is a reflection of one’s environment, but it reaches across all barriers: social, economic, ethnic, political. It can be appreciated in situ for the beauty that it represents, providing opportunities for understanding something outside of our traditional norm.
  • Promotes Compassion: Art is an emotional, deeply human activity, emoting a complex web of emotions and feelings, which promotes compassion and understanding, elevating the art from the artist. When we relate to the artistic ideal, we intrinsically relate to the person as a result.

How to Celebrate World Art Day

Embrace World Art Day and join in on the celebration. Visit an art museum, create some art, or sign up for an art class or workshop – it’s a fun way to learn new skills, meet new people, and it’s fun for the whole family.

Inspiring Social Change

Art has the power to transform society and spark conversations about the issues facing our world today. From political activism to environmental advocacy, artists have used their platforms to challenge the status quo, raise awareness, and inspire action. World Art Day serves as a reminder of the evolutionary potential of art in confronting societal challenges to help build a more beautiful, inclusive and equitable world.

Conclusion

Art is more than just a celebration of creativity – it’s a testament to the enduring power of creativity to inspire, educate, heal, and unite us. As we commemorate this World Art Day, let’s all embrace the transformative potential of art in shaping a brighter future for generations to come.

Steve Veasey

Steve made the cover image for this article. He is a 38-year-old father, husband, author, writer, and illustrator, living in the Okanagan, British Columbia. Find out more about him below:

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Steve Veasey candidly discusses his life, his epilepsy, and how his journey has brought him back full circle to his first love - illustration.

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Steve’s personal website. Stay recent with his current works, collaborations and more.

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Visit and follow Steve Veasey’s Instagram page.

Picture of Daniel

Daniel

Daniel is an extremely curious person, a wealth of random knowledge and facts. Extremely passionate about a vast array of interests ranging from health to history, science to athletics, everything culinary and the list goes on. Trust us, you would want to be on his team for Trivial Pursuit. Daniel is also years into his battle with brain cancer. He experienced a seizure while on a Zoom call at work in late 2020 and quite literally, his life changed within minutes. After his operation he started to talk about his story but had always known it was more than just him. From then, More Than Our Story became a PROJECT that has evolved into the starting point it is today.

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