Humans have been creating for nearly 400 centuries. According to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, humans have been drawing, painting, sculpting, and making music for millennia.
So why is art so important in human society?
Whatever reasons humans find to make art, it is clearly a fundamental part of our being.
Looking at ancient cave paintings of horses or old statues depicting gods is like coming to a fundamental understanding with another human being who lived thousands of years ago.
Art is a connecting force across cultures, and even across time itself.
The human desire to create is what separates us from other animals in the animal kingdom. Monkeys and crows may create objects like tools, which aid them in finding food.
But art serves no real purpose for survival. So what is art exactly, and why do we bother making it?
Here are 9 reasons why making art is good for you.
1. To develop better cognitive and motor skills
Making art encompasses more than just creativity. When you set out to create something new, it requires other skills that will be beneficial across other aspects of your life.
If you have a large creative project that you want to complete, it requires time management skills and long periods of planning and focus. Some varieties of art, such as dance or theater, require physical prowess and can help you stay fit.
When you set out to create something new, it requires other skills that will be beneficial across other aspects of your life.
Technical skills, such as hand-eye coordination, attention to detail, and the ability to measure things correctly, are all improved after you decide to make a piece of art that forces you to focus. Practicing an art form to get better at it helps you develop discipline.
Children who create art in the early stages of life often have better fine motor skills and cognitive function, which aids in their development.
2. To bring form to an idea
Have you ever tried to plan an idea, or explain something to someone, but you just could not find the right words?
Art can help others understand what is going on inside your mind. This can be done for practical reasons, like drafting the architecture and structure of a skyscraper before building it.
Any idea you have ever had can be shared with others through creating art.
But it can also bring book characters to life, or help you visualize a creative world through writing a novel or animating the characters in that world. Any idea you have ever had can be shared with others through creating art.
3. To bring community together
Art is a fantastic way to connect with others across distances and to find community.
A band or orchestra is one example of an organized art community; an art collective or a studio is another. But there are less formal examples, such as public figure drawing nights or paint parties with friends.
Making art together is a great way to make new friends and build a lasting community.
Laughing and sharing your creations with others, complete with all the mistakes and “happy accidents” that occur along the way, makes for fast friends and deeper connections with those in your life.
4. To sell your art
One of the less inspiring but still practical reasons to make art is to sell it. If you have a talent or skill that others do not, it is perfectly valid to market your creations so others can enjoy them too.
It can be rewarding to teach a dance class, sell your art prints online, or paint a mural for a restaurant or other business. You can really brighten a person’s day by painting a portrait of their beloved pet or relative.
Selling your art it not only a way to make an income, you would do a disservice to both yourself and your costumers if you don’t share your unique talent with the world.
Nothing feels better than knowing that someone else values your skills enough to pay you for them, and this is a great reason to create art to sell.
5. To make connections to others who think like you
There is no better feeling than finding someone else who sees the world in the same way you do.
Creating something and putting it out into the world means there is a chance that you will find someone else who shares your vision. This could be a moment of creative collaboration, or simply a connection that allows you to find a person to connect with over an idea or a passion.
Art has the power of creating an instant connection between people with a similar artistic vision.
Art that ends up in a museum, theater, or gallery, can find its way to ordinary people who appreciate it and connect with it. It may then inspire them to create something of their very own.
6. To see the world differently
Art is inspired by life. If you decide to paint a scene from your backyard, record a song inspired by another artist, or use another idea or object to influence your art in any way, you will gain a deeper understanding of that subject.
If you had not tried to paint a portrait of your dog, for example, would you have noticed the small patch of brown on the side of their nose? Or the exact shade of pink in their ears?
Art will help you see and appreciate the beautiful and complex world around us better.
This idea relates to the fact that art is often a study of the world around you. The more you create, the closer you look at your surroundings to replicate them in some way. If you do this often enough, the world becomes beautiful and complex in ways you would never have noticed otherwise.
7. To relax and redirect emotions
Creating art requires concentration, and it is a fantastic way to channel your energy. Being creative for long periods is tiring, but it is also invigorating, much like a good workout or a hard day’s work.
If something is troubling you, making art can help distract from the feeling. If you are anxious, you can use that energy to create and put your emotions into productive use. When you are in a creative zone, you lose sight of the troubles in your life.
Moreover, making art can distract you from the bombardment of stimuli that we encounter in modern life. And seeing your finished creation can also give an endorphin boost.
Making art lets you forget about the daily stresses of life and help you relax or relieve.
Additionally, art therapy can be used to treat various mental illnesses, from depression to people struggling with substance abuse or recovering from trauma.
Verywell Mind explains that art therapy harnesses the power of creativity to allow participants to focus inward and away from whatever is troubling them.
Making art in a therapy setting can alleviate symptoms of these various illnesses and trauma, and improve the patient’s quality of life.
An easy way to practice are every day is to start your own illustrated journal.
8. To express an emotion
One of the great gifts of art is the outlet that it provides to the artist to express emotions. An artist can take the emotions they are feeling and channel them into their work.
Art can communicate emotions in a way that words cannot and in some ways can do a better job of invoking the same emotions in the viewer than a simple conversation could.
Art can communicate emotions in a way that words cannot.
This is especially true when you choose your own medium. When words fail, why not try to paint or choreograph a dance to get across what you are feeling?
Using art to express your emotions can also lead to deeper, closer connections between the artist and the viewer. It allows the artist to share their world with the viewer in a unique way that is not limited by finding the right words.
Moreover, the sharing of art creates an intimate bond between the artist and their audience. The artist invites you into their world to share a moment of vulnerability, and you come away from the experience with a better understanding of them.
9. To put something beautiful in the world
Ultimately, we create art because we want to share something beautiful with the people around us. Whether it’s a painting, a sculpture, or a song, the art that we create improves the world we live in.
As humans, we have a choice.
To leave the world as we found it, or to change it positively or negatively. By choosing to create art, we choose to make a positive change, which has a much greater impact on others as well as ourselves.
By creating art we choose to make a positive contribution to the world around us.
Think about it: decorating an empty alley with a beautiful mural can make the city a more inviting place. Singing on the street corner can alert passersby and get them to sing along.
Even something as simple as decorating a painting for your room and hanging it on the wall can make the space more comfortable to live in and can make your daily life better.
Art is truly a universal language; you do not need to know Italian to appreciate the beauty of the opera singer’s voice. You do not have to hunt for food or live in prehistoric times to feel connected to the cave paintings on the walls.
You can simply enjoy the lilting notes and appreciate the illustrations for the masterpieces that they are. Every artist, no matter their medium, can create something beautiful.
So now what?!
Let these reasons to make art inspire you to create something. You can share it with others and find new connections, or keep the experience to yourself.
You can make a low-stress creation that you can finish in an afternoon or a project that takes several months to complete.
You can sell your art online, give it away, hang it up, or perform it in front of others. The possibilities are endless, and each one can have a positive impact on you or the world at large.
If you are not quite sure where to start, you can read our article on good art mediums for beginners and choose the right art form for you. Or if you can’t come up with any projects, check our article on overcoming artist block.