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Renee Phillips “founded The Healing Power of Art & Artists in 2015. She is founder and director of Manhattan Arts International, where she runs an online art gallery, and is a career coach and mentor for artists at www.Renee-Phillips.com”. Ms. Phillips reminds us in the blog that art does more than simply calm us or inspire us; in fact it can have the effect of changing our brain chemistry for the better.
As an artist and career coach, Ms. Phillips is qualified to share the following: “there is an increasing amount of scientific evidence that proves art enhances brain function. It has an impact on brain wave patterns and emotions, the nervous system, and can actually raise serotonin levels” (Phillips, 2015). This should catch everyone’s attention as serotonin “low serotonin levels have been linked to depression” (MacIntosh, 2018).
According to Psychologist Dr. Dacher Keltner, of California University in Berkeley, who is quoted by Ms. Phillips in her article, “awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines [which] suggests the things we do to experience these emotions – a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding [or creating!] art – has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy” (Phillips, 2015).
This is fantastic news for anyone who practices art, and could serve as an impetus or catalyst to anyone else to pick up a pencil or a paintbrush and learn how to be an artist. Painted Brain’s community center in Los Angeles provides contributors with a safe space and the inspiration and tools to create art that means something to them.
More than that, though, Painted Brain’s emphasis on the process of creating rather than the end result means that budding artists get the two-fold benefit of creating art even as their brains are activated to help them be the best they can be. At Painted Brain, we focus our efforts on teaching contributors the skills to create while also engaging them in conversations aimed at exposing difficulties with the goal of shining a light on the dark spots to illuminate them.
Over time, as contributors return again and again to the community center, they continue to create while they also learn coping skills to deal with any personal issue or issues they present with. The creativity itself is one of the most important coping skills the clients are taught to rely on. Painted Brain offers several classes at the community center, and runs a variety of groups in the greater Los Angeles community, as well. At the community center, contributors participate in job skills group, industrial arts group, sewing group, writing/story group, and more.
MacIntosh, J. (2018) What is serotonin and what does it do? Retrieved from: https://www.psycom.net/serotonin
Renee Phillips (2015). Art Enhances Brain Function and Well-Being. Retrieved from: https://www.healing-power-of-art.org/art-and-the-brain/