Not many people have the good fortune to live out their days in the great cultural centers of the world. Relatively few people can opt to spend a summer in Europe. For many, the idea of a personal art collection is confined to framed posters and resin statuettes. All too often, the closest people get to some of the greatest works of art humanity has ever created is in the form of mass-produced reproductions that can hardly convey the experience of the real thing.
The reality is that experiencing art is neither a luxury nor an indulgence. It is nourishment to the soul. And though it may not be possible to spend your life traveling the world in search of history’s masterpieces, traveling to experience art whenever, wherever, and as much as you can is truly worthwhile. It yields physical, spiritual, mental, and intellectual rewards you might never have thought possible.
Visiting some of the world’s great museums isn’t just a treat to the senses. There are actually significant, demonstrable health benefits of viewing art, whether you’re spending time in a gallery, museum, hotel lobby, or art fair.
Routinely participating in cultural activities has been found to decrease your risk for anxiety and depression while boosting your sense of physical and mental well-being. Neurological imaging has even shown that viewing art incites the release of dopamine, the body’s feel-good neurochemical, in the brain.
When you travel to experience art, you’re not just going to get the physical and emotional “high” that comes with being surrounded by beauty. You are also going to be cultivating your cognitive faculties.
There are few activities more personally enriching than travel, and when you’re traveling to see art, those benefits are only amplified. Depending on where the journey takes you, you may well find yourself immersed in a foreign language and culture wholly different from your own.
Best of all, when you travel to experience art, you will enjoy the unique opportunity to place the work in its historical context. You have the chance to discover not just the masterpiece but also the physical, cultural, and social environment in which it was created.
That kind of first-hand knowledge is an education that even the best classrooms cannot replicate and, when you engage in it, you are almost inevitably going to become a more discerning connoisseur. Perhaps even more importantly, though, you will be called upon to utilize and further develop your critical thinking skills through art that will serve you well in all aspects of life, not just in the appreciation of art.
Though the personal benefits of traveling to view art are immense, they’re not the only rewards you can expect from such an experience. When your love of art takes you out of the house and away from the digital screen, you can expect to find an entire world of like-minded individuals with whom you can connect
You don’t have to be in the art industry to reap the professional benefits of networking at social events. A gallery opening or art exhibition can be a terrific icebreaking occasion. Some pretty profound conversations can be catalyzed by these works. They are, after all, considered masterpieces for a reason.
When you engage with strangers in that context, they don’t typically remain strangers for very long. In other words, visiting a museum or attending a cultural event can be a phenomenal way to build professional relationships as well as personal ones.
Although the benefits of traveling to see art are innumerable, an excursion abroad to experience the world’s finest art collections may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience due to financial restraints.
The good news, though, is that just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean your life has to be bereft of art. In fact, no matter where you may be, the odds are quite good that you will find some exceptional creative work occurring right in your own neighborhood. You merely need to be on the lookout.
Indeed, making an effort to explore art in your area doesn’t just benefit you, it also benefits the artists who are striving to make the world, and your community in particular, richer and more beautiful.
For patrons and creators alike, the need for community engagement in art is profound. Such engagement provides creative inspiration and the motivation to persevere in what can often be a lonely, underappreciated, and poorly compensated professional endeavor.
Just as importantly, this kind of community engagement helps artists transform their passions into paying careers. When art lovers and artists meet, potential patrons enjoy the opportunity to discover and support promising new talent. Creators can then negotiate sales and commissioned works, developing essential business skills that they may not have otherwise cultivated in a career spent primarily in an artist’s studio.
Beyond the enrichment that engagement in the community arts’ scene provides patrons, artists, and art aficionados, the cultivation of a highly interactive arts community promotes art investment. Local artists are building rapport with customers. This, in turn, drives innovation, creative exploration, and beautification throughout the area.
In these uncertain economic times, investment in the arts during a recession threat can feel like an unaffordable indulgence. However, it’s difficult if not impossible to deny the essential nature of art when you experience it first-hand. It may be just what society needs to get back on its feet and boost morale.
This meeting of the minds built on a mutual appreciation for creative work makes it possible for those involved to collaborate more productively. They can define strategies for continuing to support, invest in, and promote the arts as a mechanism for community enhancement in even the most troubled of financial times.
Anyone who loves art knows that the arts are neither a pastime nor an optional indulgence. They are as necessary for the soul as breathing is for the body. Although mass-produced reproductions of famed paintings and sculptures certainly have their place in our lives and homes, they simply cannot replace the experience of the real thing. The benefits of traveling to see art are profound, with immense physical, psychological, and spiritual rewards.
The good news does not end there, because you don’t have to travel around the world to experience some truly extraordinary creative work. Indeed, you can find masterpieces by “traveling” right in your own community. If you look closely enough, you may discover a host of opportunities to support talented new artists and the cultivation of a thriving arts community right in your own hometown.
About the Writer
Miles Oliver is a growing writer working to expand his portfolio. He has learned a lot about creative best practices as a freelancer and hopes to write pieces that may be helpful to others in similar fields!