The Impact of Art on Mental Health

SLHS student paints a picture.

Curtis Brashaw

SLHS student paints a picture.

Curtis Brashaw, Staff Writer

There is a long history of visual art in the world. From Egyptian hieroglyphics to the impressionist movement in France during the 19th century, visual art has been a source of inspiration for many people as well as students at St. Louis High School. Art can provide a link to the imaginative part of the brain —  a part of the brain that can not be accessed by writing research papers or discussing what to have for dinner.

There are multiple art movements including Mannerism, Baroque, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, realism, impressionism, expressionism, and cubism. Famous impressionist and expressionist painters like Claude Monet, Auguste-Pierre Renoir, and Henri Matisse have helped influence so many things across the world including mental health.  According to the National Institute of Health’s webpage, “Art and health have been at the center of human interest from the beginning of recorded history. Despite that fact, and despite the invested effort and growth of knowledge and understanding in each arena, it is interesting that we often still find ourselves struggling with the ‘fundamentals’ of art and health and their meaning in society.” This helps back up the theory that mental health is affected by visual and nonvisual art.

 St. Louis High School offers multiple art classes including Art I through IV, Concert Band, Steel Band, and Marching Band. Students in each art class at SLHS have multiple major art projects every year using watercolor, clay, and symmetry. In Art I, students primarily focus on learning color schemes, symmetry, and lines. Hannah Bobzien, a student in Art I shared, “The class is very calming; no one is judgemental. Everyone has their own styles and techniques, so everyone knows that each other’s art will be unique. ”

Bobzien also thinks that art and mental health go hand and hand. “Art varies because there is that normal pencil on paper and paint on canvas, but then there is also music which is also art.  When you are doing art, you tend to forget about the stresses in life and embrace what you are creating,” says Bobzien. Korah Honig agrees with that statement. She shared, “I feel like when I do art, it helps me reduce my stress at the moment.”