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Posts Tagged ‘well-being’

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Photo: Terry Smith/ AthensNews.com
“The American Woman,” a sculpture by the late David Hostetler in the Wolfe Garden on Ohio University’s College Green, is part of the 144-mile Ohio Art Corridor.

How encouraging to see communities embrace initiatives that lift people’s spirits and to read that towns are actually spending money on those things! It’s true that parks, trees, and art in a municipality offer economic benefits, but things are also worth doing just because they’re good.

I bet that Ohio’s 144-mile arts corridor, which is meant to lure tourism dollars to an area that has been struggling in recent years, is pretty successful at making the locals feel happy. Nothing wrong with happiness. Nothing wrong with a sense of pride and well-being.

Nancy Trejos writes at USA Today, “Southeastern Ohio is trying to attract visitors by giving them something unique to look at. … The founders believe The Ohio Art Corridor is the largest outdoor gallery in the world, surpassing one in Stockholm that covers 70 miles.

“ ‘Our desire is to draw people out of the big cities, to take a drive through the beautiful Appalachian country of Ohio, to learn, grow, and have experiences that they otherwise would not have,’ says Rebekah Griesmyer, executive director of The Ohio Art Corridor.”

Reporter Fred Kight from Athens News has more.

“The corridor extends 144 miles through Athens, Morgan, Fairfield, Muskingum and Pickaway counties. It currently consists of eight sculptures and two large murals, and organizers hope to add new works.

“ ‘I love the idea. … Public art is wonderful,’ said Athens Mayor Steve Patterson. …

“Griesmyer said, ‘We are attempting to draw people to small cities and towns with outdoor art. It is a huge project, and we couldn’t be more excited to see it implemented and adopted by cities like Athens.’ …

“In order to be included on a Corridor map, the art must [now] meet three criteria. It must be outdoors and free; it must be large; and if the art is not large (over 12 feet) as one piece, it must consist of three sculptures in one place.”

The idea’s originator is Griesmyer’s brother-in-law, David Griesmyer. He “operates a metal fabrication business in Malta, across the Muskingum River from McConnelsville. Creation of the Corridor combines his love of art with a desire to bring new life to the region.

“ ‘This part of Ohio is so rich with beauty, talent and creativity,’ he said. ‘I see southeast Ohio as a large stone ready to be carved, only to reveal a masterpiece hidden within.’ ”

More at the Athens News, here, and at USA Today, here.

Photo: WGRZ-TV
This section of the Ohio Art Corridor is located on the Muskingum Parkway across from the Morgan County Fairgrounds.

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Photo: @elliott.jerome, via Instagram
Installation view of Theresa Chromati’s
Tea Time, with audio accompaniment by Pangelica, at Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts in Brooklyn.

For ten years, I was the editor of a magazine focused lower-income communities, and like this blog, it reflected a lot of my interests. One of the topics I was always on the hunt for was the role of the arts in community development. This study would have fit perfectly.

Isaac Kaplan writes at Artsy, “Arts advocates have long extolled the benefits of culture to personal and neighborhood welfare. While the contention is broadly accepted within the field, the existence of the link has largely been argued without an abundance of data and taken a backseat to economic justifications for arts funding.

“But a two-year study released this month by researchers from the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania has revealed a quantitative relationship between the presence of cultural resources in a neighborhood and key aspects of social well-being, particularly in less advantaged neighborhoods. The research was part of the school’s ongoing Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP).

“Professor Mark J. Stern and SIAP director Susan C. Seifert found that low- and middle-income residents across New York City with more access to cultural resources experience better education, security, and health outcomes compared to residents of neighborhoods with similar economic profiles but with fewer cultural resources. …

“The relative higher presence of cultural resources in lower-income neighborhoods is linked with several health, safety, and education benefits. These include a 14% decrease in indicted investigations of child abuse and neglect, an 18% decrease in felony crime rate and also a 17–18% increase in the number of students scoring at the highest level on standardized Math and English tests. …

“While the report is careful to note that such findings do not mean the arts are causing these outcomes, the link is nonetheless significant within a broader picture. …

“To reach their conclusions, the researchers compiled a ‘cultural asset index’ — an accounting of thousands of nonprofits, for-profits, employed artists, and cultural participants across New York City, drawing on numerous sources, including tax, grant, and administrative data.

“The study complements this data with interviews and discussions with individuals engaged with cultural enterprises across the entire city. …

“The study says that economically disadvantaged areas generally have fewer cultural resources than wealthier parts of the city. But less advantaged communities also had a stronger correlation between the prevalence of cultural resources and social well-being.”

Read more at Artsy, here.

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Following up on yesterday’s post, which highlighted simple pleasures like spending time in the library, I give you this report by Morgan Ribera at Bustle.

“Apparently, libraries provide patrons with a happiness that money can’t buy. Or at least nothing less than almost two grand in cash. According to a recent study commissioned by the U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, the act of going to the library induces joy equivalent to that brought on by a £1,359 ($1,878) pay raise.

“The study was conducted in an attempt to measure which activities have the most positive impact on an individual’s well-being. Visiting a library scored among the top joy-generating activities, alongside dancing and swimming, giving us yet another reason to hang-out at our local library. …

“And this U.K. study adds even more to the proof already stacking up on the value of libraries, a value that was evidenced extensively in a Pew Research Study released [in March]. The rather pleasing results of this eye-opening Pew study showed that habitual library goers maintain stronger community ties, are more likely to socialize with friends and neighbors, and exhibit higher levels of technological engagement.”

More at Bustle, here.
Photo: Bill Lapp

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