How to Feel Better & Connect to Your Community Through Art

Most folks like art, but participating in it can be daunting. On the other hand, artists make art for people to look at but often find sharing it with others to be overwhelming. Viewers and artists like the same thing, but they can feel excluded from one another. That doesn't have to be the case. Art can help you feel better and help you get to know your community.

It's easy for artists to feel undervalued by their community, whether they are or not. When a budget needs to be cut, in our schools or in our nation, the arts are the first thing to go. Growing up with continual cuts to art programs tells artists over and over that what they do doesn't matter. Just by showing up to a local art event, you're telling an artist that they're a part of your community, which means a lot. Doesn't supporting each other feel good?

Check out your local art scene!

Looking at art provides an escape from our daily ruts. It's way too easy to spend most of our time in our own head space thinking about all of the things we need to take care of. If you take the time to look at some art, in a book, online, or even in a museum, you're taking the time to take the blinders off your day. Viewing art will connect you to something outside of yourself and your tired routine.

Looking at art is like being let in on a secret. Artists often make images of things they wouldn't talk to you about at a cocktail party; they're expressing something personal. Art also allows you to let some of your emotional guard down. Without saying a word you are communicating with another person's thoughts and feelings just by looking at what they've made. Going to an art event can also spark conversations and connections with people in your community that you won't get anywhere else.

One of my pieces from Sotheby's Super Southern Social, The Baptist Hymnal. Mixed Media, 44" x 27". 2015

Maybe you haven't worked on an art project since childhood, but making something with your hands can be satisfying. Try creating your own art project at home. You can draw an object or a friend, or you can create something completely different. Making something with a friend can bring you closer together. A non-artist friend and I worked on a collage together, and it's still one of our favorite experiences that we share. Display it in your home, and it will always be something that people like to talk about. 

If making your own art seems too intimidating, bring your ideas to an artist. If you have a tattoo, chances are, you've already done this. A friend of mine approached me with their idea for a children's book, and we're working on it together now. They are so excited to see their ideas visually come to life, and I'm excited that I get to share something special with them - it's a win-win! We both feel great about what we're working on. Collaborating with an artist puts you one step further into the arts community and gives you a way to connect with art that you didn't have before.

The cover for our project, Norris Lyman's children's book, The Real Big Tank!

Before the masses could read, they could communicate through pictures. Art communicates and connects us. The next time you walk past an art gallery or hear about an art event near you, go to it! If you're feeling extra bold, draw a picture and share it with someone you love. You'll feel better and connect with people over your new, shared experiences. 

Just two gals enjoying some public art!


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