HOW ART INFLUENCES CULTURE AND SOCIETY
Updated: Aug 12
This is an article “How Art Influences Culture and Society” by Marc Primo Warren
If you have recently opened Facebook or any of your other social media accounts, you’ve probably come across a few artworks that have captivated you even without reading the caption. If you scroll over to the comments section, you’ll further find out how that particular artwork can affect the people you know, whether in different or similar ways. That’s simply because art affects our most basic sense of self.
Be it an abstract painting, a fine sculpture, or a piece of music, all works that are considered as a fragment of a society’s collective thought about a certain subject or history classifies it as art. Arguably, reality first influences art before art can influence culture and society. Yet when it invokes feelings and emotions about a particular topic, it then draws out appreciation or even ire as the audience absorbs the message.
Art promotes personal and social change
Imagine seeing a simple photo of a gourmet dish on your Instagram feed and how you can somewhat taste it and feel the textures in your palate. This is how art influences our senses and when it is complemented by thought that triggers a memory or feeling, it becomes all the more substantial.
Undeniably, art is a form of communication that traverses culture and impacts us whether in the form of sound, visual art, or a written piece. For many generations, art has also been instrumental in causing social change. L. Heath’s 1840 sheet music “The Grave of Bonaparte” reflected his concern for the cause of freedom both abroad and at home which greatly impacted America’s anti-slavery movement and contributed to social reforms.
More recently in 2013, experts found out how visual art showed positive effects on elders in nursing homes making them feel more calm, relaxed, and happy which proves how art works more than a mere placebo in effecting change.
Arts power to influence and shape thought
In today’s age of social media, as more people have recognized how arts and culture merge into one dynamic paradigm that dictates social change and human behavior, it also helps us to embrace how art paves the way to more opportunities in livelihood, enterprise, and very seldom, profit. Ads influence consumers to buy products and the marriage of art and copy have long been a marketing tool that have made brands millions throughout the years.
Nevertheless, the National Art Education Association explains it best by pointing out how art is beneficial to us as it promotes self-expression and fulfillment while sending our messages as artists in a viable and effective manner. It molds our thoughts, opinions and values and translates them across space and time.
All throughout human civilization, universities in the world have included art courses in curriculums because they represent multiple facets of social history which tells us how everything is the way they are today. Be it about religion, education, medicine, or any other sciences—art has always possessed the power to teach and enlighten us, all thanks to the masterpieces of artists who had the courage and inspiration to record and convey them during their time.