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Kuenn: Here are 4 ways making art in Phoenix helps your well-being

A view of Brightside Studios, at 839 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress.com)
By Brad Kuenn | Free Press Point of View

We’ve had many surprises opening an art studio — that was expected. Glitter spills? Been there. Eccentric artists with absolutely crazy ideas? Heard it. Paintings of a full-grown gorilla sitting on a whiskey barrel while smoking a cigar? Actually, we’ve seen it.

But something that wasn’t so expected was how many “late bloomers” we get each day. People of all ages who are just beginning to explore their creative side or discover how much they love art.

Brad Kuenn

No matter the medium; whether it’s paint, music, drawing, poetry — there seems to be a common denominator for all: Art is a means to self-help; it’s a therapeutic escape — a way to recharge our mind, body and soul.

Endorphin release

We all know that hitting the gym, speeding up our heartbeat and being active can create and release endorphins. But with art, you can achieve the same results by using different mediums in the studio. In fact, according to a study by Drexel University, participants were tasked with doodling, coloring, and although on the outside it seemed they were simply drawing, their brains were experiencing significant increased blood flow in the section of the brain that relates to feeling rewarded.

By exploring your creativity through various mediums — whether that be paint, dance, or illustration — you’re literally rewarding yourself and improving your well-being. This creates an overall feeling of happiness and relief. Who doesn’t need that right now?

Alleviating stress

If you can manage to set aside time each day to create, the stress seems to melt away. It’s anecdotal evidence from our studio, but there’s research to back it up: Another study showed that 45 minutes is all it takes to experience the full effects of art. The study found that by creating the next artistic masterpiece, you can lower cortisol levels— a hormone that creates stress. For 45 minutes, a person simply has to create, and the brain will do the rest.

A fun way to alleviate stress is to let go, which is encouraged by the process of creation. At Brightside Studios, a “Paint and Pour” section allows members to pour paint and get messy. Just showing up and allowing no judgments on yourself while painting can help you let out any negative feelings that aren’t serving you, alleviating feelings of anxiousness along the way

Expanding the mind

Have you ever had a “wow” response? When you see a piece of art that is so amazing, it stops you in your tracks? It’s such a unique feeling and it tends to stick with you. A song that you play over and over, a painting you just can’t stop staring at, a dance you won’t stop practicing.

There is an abundance of scientific evidence proving that art enhances brain function. Simply looking at artwork can help open the mind by providing a state of inspiration. It also fires off what scientists call “a pleasure response” in the brain with a rise of good hormones.

People who surround themselves with art tend to view the world with a wider lens and those who practice it, reap the most benefits. Artists receive “aha” moments that really fire up parts of the brain not normally used.

Builds confidence

The happier we are, the more confident we tend to be. When artists receive that “a-ha!” burst of creativity, they are not only exercising an outlet but also building confidence.

Brightside Studios hosts a stage for local musicians who perform weekly. The venue gives creatives confidence to share their talents with other like-minded individuals in the Phoenix art community.

Phoenix’s Brightside Studios opened in February 2022 and offers an affordable space for locals to create and build a supportive, artistic community. Spaces to paint are offered, as well as courses, weekly live concerts and art supplies. Members receive access to a wide range of art supplies and creative spaces.
The studios are located at 839 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix and are open Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Call 602-279-5928 or visit brightsidestudios.com for more information.

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