Want to Be Happier? Embrace Art

When we think of being happy we may not think that art plays a role. It’s likely that each of us even has different ideas about what makes something art.

But we didn’t always wonder about this. Leave any child on their own for a minutes and it’s likely they will rearrange toys, make configurations out of spilled food, draw circles in the dirt or stack objects as high as they can. They even find practical uses for items we considered only decorative. They clearly enjoy creating and participating in art.

Much of what we call art today wasn’t even created as art by its originators.

While visiting a museum exhibit of bygone civilizations, for example, we often see practical items that were created for cooking, eating, and furniture. And yet, we label them art because they are unique curiosities and now decorative items for us.

One of the contestants in Oprah’s OWN reality show competition tackles this issue of what makes up art and hopes her pitch will be selected so she can share an expanded view of the world of art with us all.

Erica A. Wall, a museum educator, said the following to introduce her pitch. See her pitch for her show “That’s Art?!” here

I’m going to get America excited about art! If you’ve never been one who was into art, you soon will be! If you’ve ever looked at a work of art and thought a child could do it, then this is the show for you. We are going to bust the art world wide open and explore its glamour, its dynamics, its surprises and its quirkiness. We are going to ask and answer some age-old questions like, why does some art sell for millions? What makes a work of art a masterpiece? Why is some art considered fine art and other art is not? And of course, what makes art, art, anyway? I’m also going to talk to people about art and see what kind of art the rich, famous and the not–so-rich and famous (but pretty unique) collect and create. I am going to show you just how much fun art can be and that you don’t have to like it but, you can learn how to appreciate it. There is something out there for everyone. NO ART HISTORY EXPERIENCE REQUIRED.

When I interviewed Erica on my radio show today, she shared her ideas for how art can make our lives richer and more joyful, ways that art venues can become more accessible and gave us ways to experience art on a daily basis.

Erica says there are five stages of looking at art:

  • observing to identify what’s there
  • assigning value/worth to it compared to other things
  • classifying it
  • interacting with it
  • returning to view it again as a friend
  • Enjoy the interview with Erica and you will discover that art is not separate from our lives, and from our happiness, but a part of it.