What’s So Healthful about Art?

Blogging friend Devang posted a health challenge this week; 5 ways we are taking care of our health. I realized that that my weekend outing was a good example of my habits. I visited a local museum with my hiking friends yesterday (less distance walking since two are recovering from plantar fasciitis.)

We got out of our respective boxes and the creative exhibits on display got our neurons firing, keeping our brains healthy. Museums often have expansive floor plans, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art definitely does; we could stretch our legs and walk.

On the first floor, we saw vintage photographs of members of the Crow Nation. Several of the pictures were life-sized of the leaders who signed a treaty with the US Government a century ago. The faces of the Crow Nation men and their families showed the pain of the loss of their relatives and their way of life. Wendy Red Star created an emotionally moving exhibit, which you can see by clicking on her name.

Upstairs, British artist and UW Professor Faisal Abdu’Allah displayed larger than life portraits of leaders in the Black community from the Madison Black Masons organization. They were portraits of dignity, professionalism and community service. For a virtual tour, see the museum link.

Photo Background: The red cubes below are about the distortions of cultural perceptions. Reflections of reflections are not like the original person. Another feature is people can see in, but the cube inhabitant cannot see out.

Over head selfie RC Cube Artist: Faisal Abdu’Allah

After seeing the shows, I walked home that sunny Sunday! Great day for exercise and increasing vitamin D. As I strolled I could ponder the stereotype-busting exhibits I’d seen. They were profound shows that touched my heart and mind.

MMOCA Glass Stairs. Photo: R. Cuningham

Five Reasons Art Museums Are Healthy Choices

  1. They stimulate our minds with new ideas
  2. Modern art especially, challenges our assumptions
  3. Museums inspire socializing and lively discussions among friends
  4. Galleries are good for walking; for more exercise we can take the stairs to the museum’s next level
  5. We are unlikely to get frozen, sunburned or bitten by insects, unless there is a sculpture garden…

How do you stay healthy? (mind or muscles)

Check out Devang’s prompt and please comment below!

¡Olé! –Rebecca

Selfie of Rebecca in Art Installation Artist: Faisal Abdu’Allah
Rebecca Cuningham

56 thoughts on “What’s So Healthful about Art?

  1. Art is a large part of our lives too. We spent an increasingly hot day in a local Sculpture Park last summer. Sun burn was avoided however. It was a private park with each of the 40 sculptures on sale. They all had prices greater than that of our house.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I particularly like your last benefit: We’re unlikely to be frozen, sunburnt or eaten by insects. So true. Also, a great protection against rain! Museums are a wonderful place for inspiration. The physical and mental health benefits, a welcome bonus. I like to go to museums about things I know nothing of. For example, I had a great time in a brewery museum once. Learned a lot! Here in Scotland, many of the art galleries and museums are free of charge. This makes it easy to hop in for just a wee wander, or, to see one particular painting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha, the world’s best sunscreen and umbrella. Yes, we are lucky the MMOCA and many Madison museums are free of charge. Each painting or photo takes us on a journey… The exhibit is like a telephone booth, we leave someone different than when we entered.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I recall reading something a while back about somewhere in Canada letting doctors write a prescription for free admission to an art museum, precisely because it is so good for health. The focus was more on mental health than walking. I like all the reasons you give.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You can’t do vigorous walking in a museum, but whatever your goal for number of steps per day, you can definitely do that. I think I’ll go see what’s on at the DeCordova in Lincoln, MA. Thanks for the nudge.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love a tramp round a museum or art gallery, but sometimes am tempted to stay too long, and get a bad case of Museum Foot. In which case, a good healthy march in the fresh air restores my equilibrium 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t realize you were one of “those” with the condition. It is quite a pain in the… foot. Make sure you get good therapy. I went to see almost half a dozen quacks until one oriented me well. There can be a lot of misdiagnostic. But with the proper exercises, one gets over it relatively quick… Best wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting blog post Rebecca. These days your posts are well written and fine like wine🔥🍷

    Great information about art museums and you are well indeed right about why visiting art museums are healthy decisions because they stimulate our minds with ideas🙌🙌🔥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your generous comments, Mthobisi! I saw an inspiring exhibit today about emancipation. It was thoughtful, rooted in history, with multiple viewpoints about a sculpture of Lincoln and a freedman.


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