by Maggie Ballard
What do you first think of when you hear the word ‘art’? Is it a painting hanging in a fancy museum? Maybe a sculpture in the garden of a mansion?
Yes, in our world today, the word ‘art’ is most often associated with paintings, drawings, and other forms of physical installments in a gallery or museum. However, this is truly just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more art in our lives than most people think, and you don’t even have to go to a museum looking for art to experience it.
Often even without being aware of it, we are surrounded by art; we so commonly use it in our daily lives. In fact, nearly everyone you come in contact with in a day will interact with the arts.
According to the National Endowment for the Arts, In 2017, U.S. adults (aged 18 and older) participated in the arts in one or more of the following ways:
Used electronic media to consume artistic or arts‐related content (74 percent, or 175 million adults)
Read books not required for work or school, and/or read novels and short stories, poems, or plays in particular (57 percent or 138 million adults)
Attended artistic, creative, or cultural activities (54 percent, or 133 million adults)
Created or performed art (54 percent, or 133 million adults)
Learned an art form informally (17 percent, or 41 million adults) or took formal arts classes or lessons (9.5 percent, or 23 million adults)
Many people may not describe themselves as “being into the arts”, but most do partake in the arts! Music is a great example of where we see this. It is a form of art that helps people set the mood for what they are about to do. If a person has something sad going on in their day, listening to a favorite song is something that could be a comfort to them. When they need to focus, there is music that people use to help them do so.
Another example of this is how people decorate their rooms and houses. How often have you walked into someone’s house and seen decorations on the walls? People do not do this for survival and necessity. They do it because it brings them comfort and joy decorating their living space in a way that they like.
Think about this in the context of your own life. Is there a poster in your room that brings you joy when you look at it in the mornings? Is there a song you listen to in the car when you need to get pumped up and ready for your day?
There are even more places we see art in our daily lives. Consider the feeling of satisfaction you get when finishing a book, or the calm you feel as you view a beautiful sunset filled with amazing colors. The examples are truly endless.
The takeaways I want you to have from this post: Although art may not be essential for survival, it does really improve our lives and brings joy into them. It is part of our lives in so many ways. This is why art is so valuable! Next time you think about art, remember that the word means much more than you may give it credit for.
Maggie Ballard is a third-year student at Miami University from Cincinnati, OH. She will be completing her Theatre major and Arts Management co-major in May of 2024. Maggie loves theatre, being in nature, and her cat named Thumbs.