Appreciating art helps us to better understand the feelings of others, engages with people from different backgrounds, and expands our worldview. Despite the paucity of empirical research to support the theory that visual art promotes empathy, centuries of human experience have shown that emotional and cognitive engagement with works of art has helped humans It reveals that we can hone the skills that expand our understanding of sexuality.
Katherine N. Cotter and James O. Powelski of the University of Pennsylvania reviewed the perceptions of 208 museum professionals regarding the museum’s goals and their ability to influence both well-being (empathy, self-acceptance, etc.). Researched. and illness (anxiety, loneliness, etc.) factors.
“The findings suggest that museum professionals feel that visitor well-being should be emphasized more strongly as a goal than it currently is, and that there are some elements of happiness and unhappiness (e.g. : sympathy, help, and closure must attract greater attention than others,” wrote Kotter and Powelski. Purpose of Museum Prosperity: A Survey of Museum Professionals.
Existing research confirms that people visit museums for a variety of reasons, from relaxation to the desire to learn something new. Sadly, the majority of people in the US are involved in the art world. In 2017, 53.8% of U.S. adults participated in an artistic, creative, or cultural activity, according to an NEA survey. Patterns of U.S. Arts Participation: Full Report of the 2017 Public Participation in the Arts SurveyAccording to a large multi-method descriptive study in 2021 by Pawelski and two other colleagues, when asked about the content of their personally significant arts- and humanities-related experiences in the United States, “many people and frequently involved in art.” Other studies have revealed higher levels of engagement in the arts in Europe, particularly in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland and the United Kingdom.
Surveyed museum professionals believe that empathy and engagement are the most prioritized well-being factors, and museums are currently most effective at increasing visitor empathy and engagement.
“Participants felt that enhancing mutual help, empathy, and self-acceptance should be prioritized above current levels, while improving emotional stability, positive emotions, and vitality should be prioritized below current levels. ,” wrote Kotter and Pawelski.
New research expands the potential range of museum influences on audiences. Previous research on museum engagement has tended to focus on several outcomes, such as the ability of museums to promote social connections and reduce loneliness, Cotter and Pawelski note.
“Interestingly, museum experts pointed out that museums should focus less on increasing positive emotions and reducing negative emotions in their visitors. A potential explanation for this surprising finding. One of these may be related to factors museum professionals feel should be emphasized more, such as increasing empathy, aiding action, and reducing closed-mindedness,” Cotter said. Pawelski writes. “Visitors may need to experience negative emotions in moving toward these other outcomes. We may ponder the struggles that are being fought and try to understand the experiences of the individuals portrayed…emotions.”
Cotter and Pawelski are members of the National Institute of Arts, supported in part by an award from the NEA.