Food for Thought Friday: Get Some More Art in Your Life

art pictureby Kristie Burk

There are two things you may not know about me:

1.  I am not on the computer all the time. I shut off my devices for a few hours when my kids get home from school and all three of my children are not allowed non-educational electronic time during the school week. Really!

2.  I love art, especially modern art. Every vacation requires at least one art museum or gallery visit.

Therefore, I enjoyed reading an article by Ilene Raymond Rush in the Philadelphia Inquirer about how medical students can benefit from taking art classes! As part of an experiment, Salvatore Mangione, an associate professor at Thomas Jefferson University, recruited 40 first-year Jefferson medical students for a basic drawing class at the Fleisher Art Memorial in South Philadelphia.  He believes that “for lack of a better term, we’ve left out humanities. We’ve ignored art, poetry, and drama, all of which offer a different way of thinking, seeing, feeling, and engaging with the world.”  Encouraging students to use their left-brains also strengthens creativity and intuition, he says.

Mangione also cites a Harvard University class where medical students visit art museums to encourage their observation skills.  According to Rush, a 2008 study showed that Harvard students who took the class improved the accuracy of their clinical observations by 38 percent compared with a control group.

I can say, anecdotally, that there must be some truth to restoring our left-brains.  Early in June, I visited an art class at Downingtown East to help the students create shared Google Drive folders; they, conversely, talked me into painting, as you can see in the picture.  For the remaining 20 minutes or so of the period, I felt more relaxed and present in the moment. And perhaps I was a little more creative that day, who knows?

Here is your food for thought this Friday: How can you incorporate more art into your life!? And should you try to bring it into your classroom, regardless of the subject you teach?

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