Art and Cognitive Health – by Paige Hessel
The USS Constitution “hove to” at Tripoli
From where I sit at work, I look at this painting by Louisville, KY artist Larry Curry throughout my day. Sometimes I catch myself day dreaming about where that ship has been and where the sailors are going next. Just as often, I study the brush strokes and the rich color palette. The painting hanging in our office is just one of many Mr. Curry has painted of the tall ships and other vessels. Mr. Curry, 80 this year, is a prolific painter with a very clear vision. He is a testament to the powerful effect of creative activity on cognitive health.
I read about a study that showed remarkable results; A study conducted with the Levine School of Music in Washington DC studied 300 seniors – half enrolled in an arts program once a week and half not enrolled – over a two-year period.
The study reviewed the health and social functioning of the participants before, at one year and at the end of the study. The results revealed that those who attended the arts program had better health while those who did not attend saw their health deteriorate.
In addition, the arts group used fewer medications, felt less depressed, were less lonely, had higher morale and were more socially active. (www.verywell.com/music-programs-in-nursing-homes-and-assisted-living-197761).
I can recall going to art classes as a child; at the Louisville School of Art in Anchorage and at the Louisville Free Public Library. I loved these Summer classes and always looked forward to them. I think my mom getting me into art classes when I was very young helped to develop my passion for visual art. Because of those early experiences I became involved in the art world professionally in my 20s and 30s and now, in my 50s I am still producing and have every intention of following in Mr. Curry’s footsteps and keep working for three or four more decades.
Please take a closer look at Mr. Curry’s body of work, http://oleredhead.wixsite.com/larrycurrypaintings