To celebrate Youth Art Month the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.(ACASA) and Partners for Prevention in Allegany County(PPAC) offered a poster contest to the middle and high school students of Allegany County. The theme of the contest was “Underage Drinking NOT a Minor Problem”. The contest is to get young people to think about the dangers of underage drinking and allow them to voice their thoughts through art. The plan is for this to become an annual contest.
From hieroglyphs and cave paintings that document ancient cultures to functional objects & adornments in domestic spaces, to entertainment & the “Fine” arts; through the ages humanity has long relied on the Arts to improve our quality of life.
With a click and a swipe, these days we can access so many art forms that perhaps we forget that these are “art” at all. Perceived as a modern commodity, we may even be unaware of our dependence on this link to the creative realms outside our daily experiences. It is not uncommon to hear ourselves or others saying, “I don’t do/care about/need art at all. It’s a waste of time.”
Through our screens, we often escape into other worlds and imagine or seek new solutions to daily issues. Have you ever noticed how your own feelings change as you passively experience this creative content? During screen time, do you ever wonder how or why those images, performances, stories, and music are made? When you are cut off from “streaming content” is there a sense of loss? Ask yourself, “What is THAT about?”
“Without art the crudeness of reality would make life unbearable” ~George Bernard Shaw
If you experience any form of relief through passive observation or “streaming” the arts, imagine the benefits of in depth participation. The creative process taps into the inherent potential of the mind, body, and spirit while accessing and improving our existing individual abilities. When we are at a loss for words, the arts connect us to each other by communicating universal concepts which are bigger than our individual vocabulary. Unity strengthens our energy and heals our communities. On a cosmic scale, creative action builds our emotional intelligence in a process that is essential to the evolution of humanity.
At ground zero, we ask, “How does this apply to me?”
“Creativity is one of those intimidating words, like artist, musician, writer, and so on, which has been co-opted to mean something rarefied and unreachable. We think of ourselves as being a ‘creative type’ or not, as if it were a quality bestowed upon the chosen few. But if we decolonize the word and take it back to its true origins, we find the Latin root crescere, a word which means to come forth, spring up, grow, thrive, swell…Creativity is the living impulse in each of us which continually begins again…Our vitality is inexplicably bound up with our creativity.” ~ Turner on Creativity from, Belonging; Remembering Ourselves Home.
Before the “final product” happens or is shared with others, the engagement in the creative process initiates us into a state of communication with ourselves which otherwise may never occur. Art, in its many diverse manifestations, as described in How Art Becomes Medicine; “helps children (and adults) organize their experiences into a coherent story.” Self-awareness is key to personal balance. Personal balance is the key to wellness.
Wellness via the Arts; an Introduction to the Evidence
From military veterans with PTSD to cancer survivors and numerous other obstacles on the path to wellness; hundreds of scientific studies are in…and more results are on the way…about the benefits of the arts to human wellness.
According to the Foundation for Art and Healing, the World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being rather than merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Impacting our emotions, attitudes, and beliefs; the creative process is a path to discovery which provides each individual with experiential access to tools which support well-being and potentially prevent and/or remedy dis-ease.
“Engagement with creative activities has the potential to contribute toward reducing stress and depression and can serve as a vehicle for alleviating the burden of chronic disease.” ~ American Journal of Public Health, Feb 2010, vol 100 no.2
Cathy Malchiodi, PhD writes in Psychology Today, “Even engagement in the arts as a viewer can have an impact, but if you really want to benefit from the arts for wellness, studies continue to show that your active participation is the best bet (Bolwerk et al, 2014)… In brief, creativity is increasingly being validated as a potent mind-body approach as well as a cost-effective intervention to address a variety of challenges throughout the lifespan.”
“Research has proven the arts develop neural systems that produce a broad spectrum of benefits ranging from fine motor skills to creativity and improved emotional balance. Quite simply, the arts are invaluable to our proper functioning individually and as a society.” ~Renee Phillips Art Enhances Brain Function and Well-being from The Healing Power of Art and Artists
Creative Opportunities in Allegany County, NY
Ready to explore the arts or actively participate in the creative process but not sure where to begin? With a long history of talented creative residents in Allegany County, NY; our community continues to provide affordable opportunities for creators of all ages and abilities to learn, experience, observe, and engage in a diverse collection of creative opportunities. Here are some local resources to get you started.
Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Alfred NY ~ Events and exhibitions.
Alfred University School of Art and Design Events and Activities.
Allegany Arts Association ~ sponsors performances and cultural events and provides free creative programming for local youth during “Cabin Fever”, “Spring Fling”, and Summer Arts Festival activities.
The Allegany Artisans ~ local artisans with studios throughout Allegany County.
Almond 20th Century Club Library, Almond, NY ~ creative crafts and activities for youth and adults.
Andover House ~ featuring works by local artists and artisans.
The Angelica Players ~ local performing artists and their theatrical adventures for all.
Artists Among Us Belmont, NY ~ touring art exhibit featuring works by local artists.
BEATS Special Needs Dance Showcase Wellsville, NY ~ a safe place for dancers with special needs to come together and share their passion for dance.
Belfast Braids ~ local artisan teaching braided rug-making.
Belfast Public Library ~ art shows featuring works by local artists and artisans and creative activities for local youth and adults.
The Belfast Organization for Artists for creators in the Belfast, NY area.
Bolivar Free Library, Bolivar NY ~ crafts and creative activities for local youth and adults
Cuba Circulating Library ~ Craft Nights and Creative Youth Activities
The Cohen Gallery at Alfred University, Alfred NY ~featuring works by local artists
David A. Howe Library ~ Annual Teen Photo Show April 2019, DIY Kids, Howe Kids Art monthly Youth Art Activities featuring FREE process art activities for the littles, FREE Adult monthly Craft Classes.
Nancy Howe Auditorium ~ at David A. Howe Library ~live music, movies, theatre, dance, and other performances for all.
The Fassett Green Space Project by Art For Rural America, Wellsville, NY.
The Fountain Arts Center, Belmont, NY ~ art exhibits and creative activities and classes for youth and adults
Friends of the Essential Club Free Library, Canaseraga, NY, ~creative activities and events for local youth.
Inspire Crafts and Hobbies, Andover Road Wellsville, NY ~ Art and Craft Supplies
The Genesee Valley Chorus ~ contemporary and classic adult choral
Genesee Valley Plein Air Painters ~ plein air landscape painting for adults
Heidi Noel’s Performing Arts Center, Wellsville NY ~ performing arts classes for local youth.
Lifeway Youth Center, Belfast NY ~Chopped Cooking Competition, March 22nd for ages 11-19.
The Little Gallery Arts and Antiques ~ featuring works by local artists and artisans, sales benefit the Hart Comfort House.
Music On the Lawn, Wellsville NY ~ free Thursday evening live music series from June to August.
The Most Arts Festival, Alfred NY ~ classical music performed by world class musicians, the Young Pianist Competition, daily chamber series, evening concert series and the vibrant world of Alfred art.
The Ortlip Gallery at Houghton College.
The Palmer Opera House, Cuba, NY ~ entertainment and creative classes and activities for all ages.
Rise Above Holistic Wellness Center ~ kids yoga and martial arts.
The Rogue Carrot, Alfred NY ~ natural foods store also featuring works by local artists and artisans.
SheilaLynnK Art Studio, Wellsville, NY.
STEPS Dance Studio, Wellsville NY ~ dance classes for local youth Studio One Ten, Scio NY ~ art and craft classes and parties for all ages.
Stone Flower Pottery ~ local artisan making pottery and jewelry and teaching tin works and jewelry making classes.
STRUM ACCORD ~ an annual music festival highlighting music from ACCORD’s after school program students.
Studio One Ten, Scio NY ~ art and craft classes and parties for all ages.
Southern Tier Fiber Arts Guild, Wellsville, NY.
Tri-County Arts Council serving Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua Counties.
Twin Tiers Makers Expo at Wellsville Central School Call for Makers
Wellsville YMCA After School Program ~Creative Activities for Local Youth.
Wellsville Creative Arts Center ~ Live music, Open Mic, Visual Arts Exhibits by local artists, clay studio, and Art Classes for youth and adults.
The Wellsville Performing Arts Orchestra.
Wide Awake Club Library, Fillmore NY ~ Creative after school programming for local youth.
Whitesville Public Library, Whitesville, NY ~ Creative crafts and activities for local youth and adults.
REFERENCES FOR THIS ARTICLE AND OTHER CREATIVE WELLNESS RESOURCES
“How Art Becomes Medicine; One story of sickness, creativity, wellness, and grief.” ~Kids & Art, Healing Pediatric Cancer through the Arts.
“Belonging; Remembering Ourselves Home” ~Toko-pa Turner.
“Art and Well-Being; Toward a Culture of Health” ~ Arlene Goldbard, U.S. Department of Arts & Culture
“Can Art Be Medicine?” ~ The Foundation for Art & Healing
“Why Teens Need Live Theatre in the Age of Youtube” ~ By Christine Aucoin March5 , 2019 The Boston Globe
The ArtWell ~ Philadelphia, PA