Does making or beholding art help your wellbeing more? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Art is good for you, a new book called Your Brain on Art coauthored by Susan Magsamen, director of the Arts+Mind lab at Johns Hopkins, seeks to prove. That’s art inclusive, including visual and creative arts, and it also includes consuming art as a beholder, and making art, as a creator.

Magsamen: What are those attributes of a maker versus the attributes of a beholder, and where do they intersect? I think as a maker or a beholder, one of the things that we engage very early on is our reward system. We’re very eager to enjoy, to have joy, to have pleasure. As a maker or a beholder. Not all art is joyful but it also offers the opportunity to challenge you, and to elicit the huge range of feelings that we have.  :32

Magsamen says experiencing the whole range of emotions art can elicit, whether creator or beholder, is a health promoting behavior, enabling us to understand ourselves and others better and providing us with important social skills. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.