Green River Star -

By Kristi Radosevich
Green River Arts Council 

Notes from Town Square: Bringing art to the city

 


The leaves are starting to change colors, school has been in session for most local kids for well over a month now, the holiday season is just around the corner, and Art on the Green is well behind us. Painting with a Twist will be back once again on Sept. 26, so with more artistic activities on the horizon, let’s revisit a question I posed a little more than a month ago, “why art?”

From the perspective of a municipality, art is a subject worth probing. Public art has been a part of communities dating back to the early Mesopotamians and has remained part of human culture throughout history. However, in times of economic difficulty, the arts may appear as a luxury item and are difficult to measure in value. Art displayed or sponsored by corporations, or paid for out of public money, makes an easy target for criticism; since many feel the value of art is only subjective. Some feel the benefits to the community of a play, a painting or a sculpture, for example, are not the kind that show up on the balance sheet or lead to tax rebates. Yet, all fifty states currently fund public art and it’s been shown to be a sound investment. Investments in art programs stimulate community development by attracting new businesses, creating an environment that appeals to talented young workers, inviting tourism, and enhancing the community pride and personal experiences of residents.

Art also provides jobs. Arts and cultural industries, also known as “creative industries” employ thousands of people in some states. In Arkansas, for example, creative industries are the state’s third largest employer and generate over $900 million in personal income for Arkansas residents. The creative industries in North Carolina and Massachusetts helped to infuse billions of dollars into the state economy in 2006. According to one study, in 2002 nonprofit arts organizations generated $134 billion including $24.4 billion in tax revenue nationally. 

Apart from contributing to increases in revenue, art has been shown to help our health. Medical research has demonstrated that art can improve psychological and physiological well-being in people, especially patients requiring hemodialysis or chemotherapy treatments.

Watching or participating in various forms of art has been shown to help decrease dizziness, fatigue, pain, depression, anxiety, length of hospital stays, and falls in the elderly.

Art can also lead to significant improvement of blood pressure and blood work and also mood and overall quality of life. Art in its many forms helps us to achieve balance and balance is key to our well-being.

As the holidays approach, consider supporting your local artists by purchasing some fine art to gift a friend or loved one. Try to take some time to help improve your health this fall by walking around town and enjoying the many sculptures that have graced our streets, parks and businesses. Registration is still open for Painting with a Twist at http://www.paintingwithatwist.com/Murray so take the evening off and indulge the artist in you. We hope to see you there!

For more information about Painting with a Twist and the Green River Arts Council, be sure to Like us on Facebook or check out our website: http://www.grartscouncil.com.

 

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