Love, Desire, and…. Art!

A case for funding art.

Posted Sep 03, 2011

While art and artists are an integral and valued part of many cultures, in American culture, art is often devalued.  Art programs are cut from school budgets, art is often relegated to museums, and debates rage about whether or not public money should be spent to fund art (currently it is .004% of the national budget).  Recent research may help to quiet this debate a bit: researcher Professor Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist at the University College London, discovered that viewing art gives the same pleasure as falling in love.

Previous research into the effect of viewing art supports this effect.  When patients in a hospital viewed art, it was found that their suffering was reduced and it led to a speedier recovery.  This type of research suggests that art could be used, in multiple contexts, to increase the welfare, mental health, and life satisfaction of the general public, young and old.  Of course, artists and art lovers could have told us that... but perhaps this research will help everyone else see the value in art too.

Bathing at La Grenouillere by Claude Monet