Creativity can be a powerful tool for mental health. It allows for self-expression, which in turn encourages us to feel and process our emotions. Whether you engage in art as a hobby or for a living, providing an outlet for creativity helps make sense of life experiences.
Visiting a museum is a popular way for people to interact with the arts.
It encourages us to observe things from various perspectives and share our unique take on art with others. From children’s museums to science museums or world-renowned museums to pop-up art displays on a city street, museums help us learn something new about ourselves and the world around us.
Over the past few years, Museums across the globe have started raising awareness for mental health by hosting events and workshops focused on shedding light on mental health concerns. The Science Museum of Minnesota hosted several events during Mental Health Awareness Week including giving people the opportunity to shred their worries in a worry shredder. The Tate Modern museum in London collaborated with art and mental health organizations to host an event on World Mental Health Day in 2015.
The Bristol M Shed offers an arts course called Art Shed, designed specifically for people with mental health concerns. During this course, the museum is closed to the public. Members can explore different art materials and techniques. Participants indicated they felt connected to their center and to the art. Though this experience, they were inspired by the work of others.
Whether a person experiences apathy or low mood related to depression, or fear of the unknown related to anxiety, art can provide a safe space to process these emotions and begin to feel inspired by new creations. Museum involvement in the conversation about mental health is helping normalize mental illness and provide space for people to heal.
Written by: Mary Anne Sylvester