Actively engaging in local community art provides a wealth of benefits for community members ranging in age from young children to retirees. Whether individuals help to create art by participating in community theatre or support artistic endeavors by attending exhibits at local museums, studies have shown individuals who participate in the arts community experience improved social networks and a stronger sense of identity.
In particular, retirees and those 65 or older experience improved health and happiness from participation in the arts. A study published in 2006 found that older adults reported better physical health, fewer doctor visits, less medication and fewer health problems. The older adults also reported less loneliness and increased morale.
Children also benefit from early and regular exposure to the arts. According to a literature review of “Early Learning in Museums,” by Mary Ellen Munley, The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children sees cultural life as being integral to children beginning at birth. Munley cites one study from an educational psychological perspective, which found museums help to foster an intrinsic motivation to learn in children.
Art museums in particular benefit children as visits reinforce the idea of perspective. Two separate studies cited by Munley found that children who went to art museums and talked about their experience of art with others were exposed to the idea of context and perspective. One 2007 study showed that when children were allowed to create their own art after visiting an art museum they experienced learning in eight different categories.
When parents, grandparents, and caregivers take children out into the community they are able to create new memories and forge tighter bonds. Visit The John Ford Clymer Museum and Gallery today for an experience like no other.