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Scientific Fact: The Arts Are Good for You

This article was originally published in the Charles City Press, 2/13/24. I've added some links and images to the blog version.

This article is dedicated in memory of Tracy Sweet: he was a devoted supporter of the arts, a gifted artist and a kind man. 

I think we can all agree that art allows us to experience joy and beauty. In addition, access to the arts helps young brains develop and thrive, it has a positive effect on the health of individuals and can aid in the economic vitality of communities. There’s a large body of research and scientific proof that exposure to the arts is beneficial for individuals and communities.

A newer sub-field of neuroscience called neuroesthetics (sometimes called neuroarts) is studying how art affects our brains. What is becoming obvious is that exposure to art is not only important but that we are wired for aesthetic experiences. Our health and well-being as individuals and as a community is greatly impacted by creative experiences.

I don’t want to delve too deeply into the details of neuroarts but I can tell you this, as little as 20 minutes a day of being involved with the arts can have a huge and positive impact on the artist or the spectator. In short, art is good for you! If you want to learn more about neuroarts I highly recommend “Your Brain on Art, How the Arts Transforms Us” by Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross.

This is where the Charles City Arts Center (CCAC) comes in. We offer a variety of programs to help us achieve our mission goals. We also support other arts-centered non profits in Charles City like The Stony Point Players, The Youth Theatre, Art-a-Fest and Town of Colors. Part of our mission is to provide access to the arts so we hope you come in and take advantage of our offerings. There is proof that a visit to the CCAC is good for you!

Admission is always free at the CCAC. You’re welcome to come in anytime and explore our exhibits. The month-long exhibits feature local and regional artists. They begin with a free opening reception the first Friday of the month from 5pm-7pm with the artist in attendance. We also offer monthly kid’s art classes, Open Studio Saturdays, and events like Global Cafe and our Monster Bash Halloween Party.

This year we are offering even more fun and unique experiences. We are holding our first spoken word event of 2024 this upcoming Friday, 2/16 from 5-7pm. Its free and open to the public. Readers and listeners of any age are welcome. Later this year we will be offering a film series, adult art classes and much more. You can stay up to date on the latest events on our website:

Our mission is important and makes a difference in our community. We hope that this array of programs are enjoyable and inspire and engage our visitors and members. We really enjoy sharing our exhibits and talking with you. So come visit us soon. Its been proven by neuroscience that this would be really good for you!

The CCAC turns 63 in 2024. When a small group of Charles City citizens got together in 1961 and dreamed up this organization I wonder if they imagined that we would still be in existence 63 years later. The reason we are still here is because of support from this community, grants, and our small endowment fund. We are very grateful and thank all of you for your financial generosity, leadership skills, time and energy.

Founding Members Jean Semelhack, Sherry & Tracy Sweet, Norma Breitbach

I think the founding members were on to something important when they created the CCAC. They didn’t have a science called “neuroesthetics” in 1961, but they knew the arts were an important part of a vital community. Now we also know its a scientific fact. The arts are good for you! 

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