Good news for all of us using our hands to make art: Research shows that making art (hands-on) could delay or negate age-related decline in brain function.
A small-scale study led by German neurologists Anne Bolwerk and Christian Maihofner reported that production of visual art seems to improves effective interaction between certain regions of the brain. The researchers (who took brain scans before and after the classes) compared participants that took hands-on art classes with those that took art appreciation and found that the ones who were involved in the process of producing art had greater function connectivity at the end of the study. These researchers believe it also provides greater psychological resilience.
Ellen Langer in her book On Becoming An Artist does not describe a pathway to fame or fortune. Rather, Langer is talking about what she calls “mindful creativity” — what artist recognize as the moment when we lose ourselves in this creative possibility. Langer encourages people, particularly those in the last third of their lives, to pursue some type of creativity.
Personally, I can only say that those of us who have produced art for a few years, and who will probably not reach fame or fortune, appreciate these findings.
Here’s to your health and mine!