My Thoughts on “Art Makes You Smart”

This post is a school assignment that I would like to share.

At the end of the New York Times’s post “Do We Need Art in Our Lives” there are a number of questions about their post “Art Makes You Smart”. I was reflecting on these questions and would like to share my thoughts. The questions cover the impact Art has in on us, our personal experiences viewing art, and whether or not Art should be part of every child’s education. 

Does art make us smarter or expose us to new ways of seeing the world? The original post presents a case for the affirmative. I actually have recently started a psychology course, so I have a new understanding of the terms and their relevance. However, I have a few questions, such as, “Was this a double-blind study?” (double-blind means tbat neither the participants nor the reseachers with whom they interact knew exactly what they were studying), and while this one study is fascinating, I would lile to know whether or not the results would be repeated elsewhere, especially across cultures. One hypothesis I can pose in support of the theory of which the original art argued in favor is that art exposes us to new ways of seeing the world because artistic expression is a human factor but varies across cultures. Thus, by esposure to these works of art, you get a viee into the culture or cultures that influenced the artist.

Concerning whether or not we need art in our lives; well, I say not exactly. We will nlt keel over dead without exposure to art; however, we also have needs that are beyond survival needs, that make surviving worthwhile. Art can play a role in that, but it is not mandatory. That brings up whether or not art matters. In light of my statement on needs that make survival worthwhile, the answer is “Absolutely”. So, while art is a small component to higher level needs, it nevertheless has a role.

Personally, I have never been to art museums and I rarely look at artwork. A couple of my language learning books have works of art from the cultures in which the languages are spoken, and there are exercises asking the learner to describe his or her thoughts on the work of art in the language being learned. For me, I think the artists were talented, and enjoyed some of the work, but I don’t think it had a major influence on me. For years I didn’t consider myself artistic. However, I am impressed with East Asian calligraphy, and their painting, and I read that artists in East Asian countries get started with calligraphy. Then I heard that aboriginal Australians believe that everyone is artistic, and upon reflection, came to agree. This is due to the fact that, as mentioned above, artistic expression varies across cultures, and that means that even if a person is not good at artistic expression in his or her own culture, perhaps a form of artistic expression elsewhere will be their niche.

This last part is one reason I say that art should be part of every child’s education. It helps all children to find their unique way of expressing themselves, and, to be more well-rounded. Even if the kids don’t grow up to be artists, they will still be able to appreciate this aspect of the human condition, and thus tend to be more tolerant of artistic types, who tend to get looked down on in American society.