Artistic expression can have a wonderful, freeing impact on our lives. Creating art boosts self-esteem, improves concentration, and provides a sense of accomplishment, producing dopamine. And dopamine, importantly, is our ‘motivation molecule’. Expressing creativity in doing an art subject (at school or outside it) uses a different part of the brain and therefore is the perfect activity to offset other, purely academic, subjects. Going to the art block at school after a biology lesson, for example, will relax the brain. Researchers even go further in saying that the production of visual art is like exercise for the brain (much like music) and helps to keep our brain sharp.
Recent studies completed as part of a new field of research, called neuroesthetics, have been looking at how the brain responds to art. For example, biofeedback is used to study the effects of visual arts on neural circuits and neuroendocrine markers in the brain to find biological evidence that visual art promotes (brain) health, wellness and helps to deal with stress. These studies found that there is indeed scientific evidence that the arts engage the mind in novel ways. Have you ever felt that rush of joy making art or seeing a beautiful painting or listening to wonderful music? Well, this rush is real: your brain responds to art by lighting up like fireworks as more blood flows to the brain and invigorates it.