7 Reasons and Ways to Experience the Arts

There is no right or wrong way to participate, and the arts offer something everyone can enjoy.

Experience the Arts

Experience the Arts

By: Amelia Arts Academy

7 Reasons

1. Not only can you see yourself in the arts, you can be yourself in the arts! There is no right or wrong way to participate, and the arts offer something everyone can enjoy. There is no other way you can so freely be yourself than through the arts!

2. The arts reduce stress! Forget about the scented candles and bubble bath, studies have shown that participating in or simply appreciating art for only 30 minutes can reduce your Cortisol (the chemical your body releases in response to stress) levels by up to 40%!

3. Art connects us to the rest of the world. The arts increase our capacity for empathy by drawing us into the experiences of people vastly different from ourselves and cultures vastly different from our own. These experiences give us new references that can make us more receptive to unfamiliar people and cultures.

4. Art makes you smarter! Creating art allows your brain to work in new ways and to process thoughts differently. “Nothing activates as many areas of the brain as music,” says Donald Hodges, director of the Music Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

5. The arts make us more human. The ability to enjoy and make art is a trait shared by all humans, whether they are tribesmen in rural areas of Africa, or big city Aristocrats. Art helps us to define and value that which makes us human.

6. Art IS the universal language. Where else can you see a Korean, Hebrew, and English speaker all read the same thing at the same time, with the same understanding? Only through the arts. Colors, texture, and sheet music are read the same way in all languages. Art is something that everybody, in every culture, does at one point in their life whether they know it or not.

7. Art is our future. How do we know what we know about ancient civilizations? Through their art! Music, relics, paintings, and writing all make up what we know about human history, and will tell our story for posterity. If we allow art to disappear, we will have no story to tell. The Dark Ages are called such because of the cultural deterioration that occurred after the fall of the Roman Empire. It should always be our goal as individuals and a society to ensure that our own cultural welfare is in a constant state of improvement – for our own benefit and for future generations.

7 Ways

1. Turn up the volume. Pick a favorite album, and play it loud! For once, bring music out of the background and to the forefront. Give yourself the opportunity to become immersed in the music, and don’t be afraid to move!

2. Step out of your comfort zone. If you’re a classical music lover, try a contemporary jazz concert; if you enjoy scenic landscape paintings, go to an opening for an abstract artist; if you’ve never seen one, go to a screening of an art film. If you’ve never played an instrument, sign up for private lessons. You may not enjoy it, but then again, you might! New experiences keep us youthful and open-minded.

3. Crush the “I Can’t”s! Stop saying, “I can’t draw” or “I can’t sing”. You can!! You might just need a little guidance. Instead of saying “I can’t”, and keeping yourself from finding a hidden talent or a hobby that you love, take a lesson or a class. A skilled educator like those found at Amelia Arts Academy can turn your “I Can’ts” into “I can’t believe I can!”

4. Fling some paint or shake your booty. When the house is empty and you’re all alone, instead of turning on the TV or doing chores, try experiencing the pure joy of uninhibited art. Put away the anxiety of what other people will think and let loose. Put a big canvas and some paint in the garage or back yard and go crazy; turn up the radio and dance around the house; sing at the top of your lungs; turn your pots and pans into a drum set! We promise you will have a great time, and see yourself and your world in a new way.

5. Take advantage! Thanks to a number of non-profit arts organizations in our community, there are myriad ways to experience the arts. Take advantage of them! See your friends and neighbors play in the New Horizon’s Concert Band, attend a Sunday Musicale, go see a play at one of the local theaters, or enjoy a Second Saturday Art Walk in downtown Fernandina Beach. Not only do these things help you reap the benefits of the arts, they help financially sustain the arts in our community, and – perhaps most importantly – remind artists that we really appreciate them! The more people that take advantage of the many cultural opportunities in our community, the stronger those opportunities become.

6. Get Lost. Take a few minutes out of your day on a regular basis to immerse yourself in art. Listen to a favorite symphony with your eyes closed, or gaze at a painting and let your mind wander. Give yourself a moment to really appreciate every dimension of the art, from its composition to the emotional effect it has on you. When you focus your attention on a work of art, you are “invited” to make sense of what is before you. Because meanings are embedded in the experience rather than explicitly stated, you can gain an entirely new perspective on the world.

7. Volunteer. Become part of the artists’ community in Northeast Florida. Volunteer your time to greet visitors at a Second Saturday Art Walk, or help children create their own works of art at Amelia Arts Academy’s Holiday Break or Summer Camps. There are many ways to volunteer to further the arts in your community, and offer the opportunity to meet like-minded people. Being around creative individuals only helps your own creativity!

7 Reasons to Support the Arts

1. Art brings people closer. “Music has a great power for bringing people together. With so many forces in this world acting to drive wedges between people, it’s important to preserve those things that help us experience our common humanity.” Ted Turner, Turner Broadcasting System.

2. The arts paint a brighter future for children. Children exposed to arts education early in life develop stronger spatial reasoning skills, problem solving ability, and self-confidence. Adolescents involved in the arts are less likely to drop out. Students with four years or more of arts education score on average 91 points higher on the SATs than their peers with little or no arts education. Students with band and orchestra experience attend college at a rate twice the national average. There are endless studies that show art is an important factor in the growth of an intelligent, well-rounded individual.

3. The arts help “close the gap”. Arts education can level the playing field for children from low socio-economic backgrounds. According to a study by the Arts Education Partnership, “economically disadvantaged students who participate in the arts outperform their peers on virtually every measure.” The arts also allow those of us with physical and mental challenges to have the same opportunities as those without.

4. You are the only one that can ensure a future for the arts. Last year, 190 individuals contributed to Amelia Arts Academy’s Annual Fund, Performathon, and other fundraising campaigns combined. This is barely 25% of the number of people that directly participated in and benefited from our programs last year, and less than 1 percent of the population of Nassau County. Cuts in funding and grants for the arts in the state and local levels paired with cuts to in-school arts education, we are faced with growing demand for shrinking resources. One person truly can make a difference. Your financial support and/or active advocacy can make the difference between a struggling organization and a cultural force in our community.

5. Art could be the key to world peace. The human creative spirit is a common link among all culturally diverse people. Simply put, art helps us understand and empathize with one another… the key to a peaceful, harmonious, and productive global society.

6. Art creates a community. The arts, especially those accessible to the most diverse groups of individuals, such as Amelia Arts Academy’s programming, promote social interaction among community members. Through historical works of art, events, and public art, the arts create a sense of community identity that is understood and felt by all. The arts also build Nassau County’s organizational capacity through both the development of skills, infrastructures, leaders and other assets.

7. Art is good for business. Investing in the arts is investing in the economic well-being of our community. The arts create jobs, increase the local tax base, boost tourism, spur growth in related businesses (hotels, restaurants, printing, etc.) and improve the overall quality of life for Nassau County. On a national level, nonprofit arts institutions and organizations generate an estimated $37 billion in economic activity and return $3.4 billion in federal income taxes to the U.S. Treasury each year.

7 Ways to Support the Arts

1. Own Amelia Arts Academy. Amelia Arts Academy is a non-profit organization. This means we are the only arts conservatory in Nassau County that is owned by the community. We are yours, so take ownership! When you make a tax-deductible donation to Amelia Arts Academy, you buy stock in the cultural health of our community, and in the future of all Nassau County residents.

2. Have a heart for art. Make the arts a regular part of your life, and make a conscious effort to encourage others to support the arts. Word of mouth is our greatest asset. If you find the arts important, help your friends, family, and neighbors see their value and encourage them to become active in supporting the arts in our community.

3. Think Locally, Act Locally. Before driving to the “big city” to see a performance or exhibit, research the opportunities available in your own community. You will be surprised to find that often the same quality of experiences can be found in your own backyard. Before you write your annual donation check to a national non-profit, research organizations in your own community. Either way, your dollar is more meaningful and stays in your community when it is spent locally. And, if you like having artists and musicians in your neighborhood, the only way to keep them here is to support them.

4. Participate! One of the most fun ways you can support the arts is to participate in the arts. Take a class or lesson, see a concert, or buy a painting from a local artist! By participating in the arts, not only are you doing something good for yourself, you are helping to support artists, and to build the “creative capital” of your community.

5. Make the arts your business. The arts create future leaders and skilled employees while bringing business to our community. If you are a business owner, consider a partnership with Amelia Arts Academy that shows your business cares about the arts while providing wonderful marketing opportunities and tax benefits. Or, encourage your employer to become involved with a partnership, in-kind donation, or matching gifts program.

6. One man’s trash is another man’s art. Before you throw it out, check to see if we might need it. Blank paper, office supplies, gently used art supplies and instruments, and even pieces of wood, shoe boxes and empty toilet paper rolls can help us create beautiful art and cut our operational costs.

7. Open your home to the arts. Throw a party and get a tax-deduction for it! We know, it sounds too good to be true, but it’s possible! We are always looking for gracious hosts for our Sunday Musicale concert series and Progressive Dinner. If you love to entertain, show your support for the arts by hosting one of our events.

Learn more about Amelia Arts Academy by visiting their website at www.ameliaartsacademy.org.

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