bringing art into everyday life - alongside you ladner bc

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso

by Meg Neufeld and Mary Ann Burrows

Everyday life can be monotonous, full of repetitive tasks and, yes, even dusty, from the time we wake until we hit the hay.

Finishing off the last bites of our regular breakfast of choice, most of us face the day trying to get through our never ending “to-do” list of chores and errands, care for family members and drive carloads of folk from one appointment or activity to the next.

Art, however, can bring vibrancy to our daily grind. Art sparks curiosity and creativity; it makes the colourless colourful, the dull bright and the dreary shine.

Not sure how to add a little art and creativity to your day? You might be surprised… you may already be doing it.

Creative activity awakes the senses and can mean doing anything from taking a walk through a museum, gardening, making a batch of cookies, viewing the local high school theatre production, making a card for someone, writing in a journal, knitting, taking photographs or painting a picture. In the process, we’re creating.

By making decisions about what we like and don’t like, we’re on the path to discovering our own interests, opinions and tastes.

Art helps us to think about the world around us in new and exciting ways, and helps us discover more about ourselves as individuals and what we want to share with those around us.

When we do something creative we are “self”-making.

Not only does art allow us to self-reflect, it has a positive impact on our overall health and wellbeing.

Research shows that participating in creative activity can have a positive influence on health outcomes.

It can decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety; improve memory, problem solving and other cognitive functions; increase cardiovascular health and help address daily mobility and balance issues; improve social isolation and crossgenerational learning; and provide an outlet to explore difficult emotions while promoting personal growth and healing.

It can also be used as a tool to manage persistent chronic pain and a variety of other chronic illnesses.

Consider the satisfaction you get when finishing a page-turning book, the calm you feel as you view a beautiful sunset

filled with indescribable colours, the connection you feel when you share your passion with someone else, the wonder when you paint something new, or hear music that moves your soul.

Whether you are drawn to the visual, literary, performing arts, design, music or dance, creative moments like these help us to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle and they enrich our everyday life.

We look forward to walking with you as we explore themes on arts and aging, mental health and wellness, inspiring and creativity boosting activities, and share with you art stories on influential people, places and things.

For now, take some time this month to connect with your creative side by trying something new, or to reconnect with something you haven’t done in a long time.

The time is now: live An Art Full Life!

Meg Neufeld is a cultural anthropologist, practicing mixed-media artist and program director at Alongside You, a health organization that offers a multi-disciplinary approach to health, and where creative activity is encouraged amongst people of all abilities for overall health and wellness. Mary Ann Burrows is an artist, and the president and founder of Artists in the Village, a non-profit society that focuses on inspiring creativity within each other and the community through connection, expression and awareness.