#30mins30days Day 13

Welcome to #30mins30days in September! Every day we will suggest an activity which you can do right here in Falkirk to get you active, whether mentally or physically. Please let  us know what activities you are trying by joining in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #30mins30days. We look forward to seeing which activities prove popular and to see who is trying something new! 

Day 13 – Visit an Art Gallery

The Park Gallery is a contemporary visual arts and crafts gallery situated in Callendar House. The exhibition programme includes work by local, national and international artists and makers. It also offers a programme of workshops and gallery talks, often led by the exhibiting artists and makers, for most of the scheduled exhibitions.

So for the uninitiated, why visit an art gallery?

There's no doubt that art has helped shape society. We build galleries that host priceless creations from the world's best talent. People all over the world are familiar with famous paintings such as the "Mona Lisa," and everything from architecture to fashion falls within the realm of art. But beyond simply appreciating the craft and enriching our lives, can science measure the effect art has on us?

Yes, it can! Art can do the brain and body some real good, and here’s how:

Experiencing art decreases stress levels.

study from the University of Westminster found that participants' stress levels decreased after a lunchtime visit to an art gallery. Participants self-reported their stress levels before entering the gallery and then spent 35 minutes exploring the space in any way they wanted. Upon exiting, they expressed being less stressed. Furthermore, they also had lower concentrations of cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone.

The brain is hardwired to process art.

After analyzing 15 studies that had people looking at art for different reasons, neuroscientist Oshin Vartanian explained in a Q&A that "areas of the brain involved in processing emotion and those that activate our pleasure and reward systems are also being engaged." Essentially, parts of the brain that are associated with contemplation are automatically sparked when viewing art, even if they aren't thinking about it critically.

It's expected that the brain will recognize faces and process scenes when you look at art. But parts of the brain linked to emotions also show activity in the process. It looks like you don't need a degree in art history to break down what's going on in a painting -- your brain is already doing it.

But perhaps the biggest benefits come from actually producing art.

Along with the perks of enjoying and experiencing art, there are real-world benefits to making the art with your own two hands. According to a 2014 study, producing visual art improved psychological resilience and increased brain activity for the participants by the end of the experiment.

It's easy to take art for granted, but paintings, sculptures, photographs and more can all lead to healthier states, with better brain activity and less stress. So turn off the television (Netflix isn't going anywhere) and pay a visit to the closest gallery or museum for some noggin jogging. While we've known art is a powerful tool to record history and ignite inspiration, now there's science proving art's gifts to the mind.

Our new exhibition opens today, so come along and see the fantastic artwork of Alan Davie in “A Universal Vision”

Alan Davie is arguably Scotland’s greatest painter. Indeed the renowned critic David Sylvester once cited Francis Bacon and Alan Davie as the two most important post-war British painters. A talented musician, poet and painter he drew his inspiration from such varied cultures as the Australian Bushman, Caribbean Indian, Ancient Egyptian, Celt and Pict. Sadly this truly unique painter passed away in April 2014 but his place in history as one of Europe’s most important and influential artists is assured.

If you want to produce art, there’s plenty of opportunity to do so with such events as our Mosaic Mandala workshop with Joanna Kessel, or our Monoprint taster sessions.

Alan Davie: A Universal Vision runs from 13th September to 31st October 2015

Published on Sunday, 13th September 2015

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