Art and Happiness: New research indicates 4 out of 6 happiest activities are arts-related (!) by Clayton Lord

Last week, an article that was actually published nearly a month ago on Chatelaine.com passed through my Facebook feed four times in two days.  The article, titled “The three times people are happiest—you may be surprised,” rather vaguely discussed a research project out of the London School of Economics that was mapping happiness levels associated with various activities—and the results, per the article, indicated that, behind sex and exercise, the next most happiness-inducing activity was attending the theatre.

This landed with a big thud inside my head, as it sits so squarely next to a lot of the work we’re trying to do to understand the impacts, effects and benefits of the arts beyond the economic, so I did a little research and discovered that the project is called the Mappiness Project and it is the graduate work of an LSE researcher named George MacKerron.  And I emailed him, he emailed back, and we chatted briefly.

So here’s the shocker—the Chatelaine article, and the Marie Claire article it’s based on, left out potentially the most amazing part of MacKerron’s (very preliminary) results so far.  Of the top six most happiness-inducing activities, again after sex and exercise, the other four are all arts-related.  They are, in descending order:

1)      Intimacy/making love
2)      Sports/running/exercise
3)      Theatre/dance/concert
4)      Singing/performing
5)      Exhibition/museum/library
6)      Hobbies/arts/crafts

MORE

To Dance is a Radical Act by Kimerer LaMothe, Ph.D.

To Dance Is a Radical Act

The practice of dancing is vital to our survival as humans on earth.
Published on November 29, 2011 by Kimerer LaMothe, Ph.D. in What a Body Knows

To dance is a radical act. To think about dance, to study dance, or to practice dance in this 21st century is a radical act.

Why?

Because if dancing matters—if dancing makes a difference to how we humans think and feel and act-then dancing challenges the values that fund modern western cultures.

How so?

1. Mind over body. A first and fundamental value of western cultures is the one that privileges our mental capacity, in particular our ability to reason, over and against our feeling, sensing, moving bodily selves. I think therefore I am. We believe that “we,” as thinking minds, can exert control over our bodily actions, and that we should. We believe that achieving such mind over body mastery is good, and even our ticket to success in any realm of endeavor.  MORE

 

 

The Creative Class Is Alive by Richard Florida

Something like how video purportedly killed the radio star, the Internet and the economic crisis is murdering the creative class today, according to a provocative essay in Salon by Scott Timberg. “This creative class was supposed to be the new engine of the United States economy, post-industrial age, and as the educated, laptop-wielding cohort grew, the U.S. was going to grow with it,” he writes. “But for those who deal with ideas, culture and creativity at street level — the working- or middle-classes within the creative class — things are less cheery.   More

Otis Report: Jobs took a hit in L.A.’s creative economy By Jori Finkel, Los Angeles Times November 10, 2010

Though creative sectors such as entertainment and fashion post job losses, digital media and three other fields show gains, according to the yearly analysis.  More

 

Winners of Americans for the Arts video contest “Why Arts Matter”

In celebration of Americans for the Arts 50th Anniversary, they held a video contest where they asked people to tell them “Why Arts Matter”.  They heard from a number of arts enthusiasts, and amidst National Arts and Humanities Month, are happy to announce the winners.

 

 

Ten Things Theaters Need to Do Right Now to Save Themselves

1.Enough with the goddamned Shakespeare already. The greatest playwright in history has become your enabler and your crutch, the man you call when you’re timid and out of ideas.  More

October is National Arts and Humanities Month

What is National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM)? Held every October and coordinated by Americans for the Arts, NAHM is the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the nation. From arts center open houses to mayoral proclamations to banners and media coverage, communities across the United States join together to recognize the importance of arts and culture in our daily lives. We’re celebrating by partnering with emerging leaders to host Creative Conversations. Celebrate with us! MORE

Diane Ragsdale on Surviving the Culture Change (Full Remarks)

Video of Diane Ragsdale’s keynote at the Arts Alliance Illinois 2010 Members’ Meeting and Reception on June 21 at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.  Click Here.

Advocating for Arts in the Classroom – Academic discipline or instrument of personal change? – by Mark Bauerline

Every chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts must advocate for arts education. The arts need a voice in power, say people in the field, someone in the corridors of influence to argue the benefits of teaching the nation’s students about classical and jazz music, ballet, and sculpture. With No Child Left Behind (NCLB) emphasizing math and reading, business and manufacturing leaders calling for workplace readiness in our graduates, and politicians citing lagging international competitiveness in science and math, the Arts Endowment chairman must utilize the bully pulpit more than ever before. Dance, music, theater, and visual arts show up ever further down the priority ladder, and arts educators feel that they must fight to maintain even a toehold in the curriculum. The Arts Endowment chairman, they insist, must help. More

Arts groups make the case for a greater slice of public funds. by Gianmaria Franchini

Nonprofit art organizations are big business in San Francisco, employing 28,000 people and providing tens of millions in state and local revenues. And they want politicians to pay attention.  More