1. Art and Wellbeing

Art helps mental health 

This clear connection is a very important notice in modern times where burn-outs are happening frequently. Engaging in arts plays a significant role since it alleviates anxiety, depression and stress. (Source) We add here also that during our investigation where we asked 100 employees questions regarding their idea about the value of art, 78 of them said that they believe art in their workspace has a direct effect on their wellbeing.

Julie Mehretu: Dispersion, ink and acrylic on canvas


Project in Denmark: “Kultur på recept” 

This project aimed at improving mental health and well-being of certain clients by instead of giving them medicine on prescription, the participants have been going to 2-3 different cultural activities every week for 10 weeks. There have been more than 800 people a part of this study, mostly women, and the average age is 44. They have been dealing with mild to moderate stress, anxiety and depression. 8 out of 10 of the participants feels better when the course ends in a self-rated test, especially the group of participants who scored the lowest in the test before the start of the course. The project “kultur på recept” has been running from 2016-2019 in four different municipalities in Denmark - Aalborg, Nyborg, Silkeborg and Vordingborg. Still happening in Silkeborg. In 2021 the project is called Kultur og natur på recept.(Source)

How do people feel after looking at art? 

We asked people how they feel after looking at art. Some say it is a good way to immerse oneself in something new which has a regenerative effect. Some say it makes them more energetic and socially optimistic. Some, that it makes them calm and that it is a great mood booster.

2. Neuroplasticity and art

Original Oil Paintings by Modern Impressionist Erin Hanson.

Art and the brain 

Empirical studies suggest that art improves health and well-being among individuals. We found this article interesting because it is done in a very scientific manner and uses even neuroscience to explore proofs for some hypotheses regarding well-being and art. 

“How aesthetic appreciation affects our cognitive and emotional states to promote physical and psychological well-being is still unclear. In this re- view, we consider the idea that the positive emotional output elicited from the aesthetic experience affects mood, and indirectly promotes health and well-being. First, we examine evidence that arts promoting well-being in- volve art museums, healthcare settings, and education. Second, we review some neuroimaging studies addressing aesthetic experience and emotio- nal processing. In particular, we leveraged advances in neuroaesthetics to explore different hypotheses about the determinants of aesthetic pleasure during art reception, in the attempt to clarify how experiencing art pro- motes well-being. Finally, we propose research on aesthetic experience and psychophysiological measures of stress, with the goal of promoting a focused use of art as a tool for improving well-being and health.”(Source) 

Continuing on the thread of scientific studies on the connection between art and neurochemistry. Another interesting article shows that art can change the brain. It’s commonly known that psychological beliefs shape the neurochemistry and that neurochemistry shapes the psychological be- liefs. It’s a fascinating paradoxical catch 22, but when explored one realizes that you can take a bit of control over your neuroplasticity through choosing what you expose yourself to. A panel of scientists and art practitioners came together to connect the dots between creativity and neuroplasticity during Innovation Week at Sydney University. In this link there is also a pod- cast that we suggest you listen to. Among some of the things they discove- red in the study was that the ageing brain has far more capacity than it gets credit for and that engagement with art actually reorganizes the frontal cortex and gives it “exercise”. (Source)

3. Art in the workspace

Oblivion on Behance. Digital Art.

Art in the workspace

This article refers to a study that has explored the statement that art boosts productivity, creativity and wellbeing. The study shows that employees clearly get more done and even feel better while doing it when the environment is enriched. The team behind this study found that people who worked in a so called “enriched” office, an office that was containing plants and art arranged by a manager, worked about 15% quicker than those in a lean office and had fewer health complaints – this figure then doubled for people who worked in an empowered space, meaning a space where the employees had a say in what the office contained. As for those who’d seen their personal touches undermined; their productivity levels were the same as those in the lean space. (Source)

This is particularly interesting because when we conducted our survey on 100 employees, we discovered that less than 50 had a say in how their workspace looks like. While the majority said that they do believe there is a direct connection between art, their well being and their creativity - many also commented that at the moment the art they have doesn’t do anything for them. The numbers in the survey also clearly point to the fact that if employees have a say in how the workspace looks then art is usually integrated. We see here that directors and office managers have missed a few important components in how they chose to mangage aesthetics in the workspace. We see that Artboost can fill in a clear role in enlightening them with the knowledge and also the process of how to integrate art while simultaneously including their employees in the process. Here the game developed can fill a well functioning role. 

As many articles we found show, there are clearly specific benefits when the people who get exposed to the art have been included in the creative process of implementing it. (Source) 

Art and business, a valuable relationship There is a long culture in Silicon Valley regarding the relationship between art and successful business. Google, Evernote, Lyft, Medium, Apple. Everyone there seems to know the importance of investing in art.(Source) What if it was discovered also among “regular” businesses too? The market does not yet fully know it’s demands.

Quotes from people we interviewed

“One is always uplifted by art” 

“I always get happy when I experience art - visual art, music and theater. feel joy in being a part of something alive.” 

“Art gives soul to the environment.” 

“Art is paramount for the atmosphere” 

“Having art around makes me feel more at home” 

”I get inspired, it prevents stress, it helps me focus and art increases my feeling of wellbeing in Generall” 

”It changes my thinking. We sit in front of the PC a lot and therefore it is nice to be able to view art and discuss our views of the world.” 

”It makes me feel as relaxed in the office as at my home and it makes me want to spend more time there.”

Charline von Heyl.

Meeting with Erlend Høyersten

When asking Erlend how to make corporations see the value of art, he first emphasized the importance of balance between Ethos, Pathos and Logos. Although he said that for bigger companies we should focus on Pathos, the aspect regarding evoking emotional connection to the integration of art. This makes sense from the perspective of how the brain functions because we give impulses to the rational thinking neocortex through the emotional mammal brain. So to have an emotional bond makes us more prone to have a rational argument for it.

He was also saying that it is important with art that people feel welcomed and invited to contemplate the pieces. That should be facilitated for people to feel a connection to it and a desire to continue to explore art. When someone is not already very interested, a welcoming introduction is usually needed. Much because art has for a long time been for the upper class and many people feel insecure in whether it is for them or not, as an effect they will not have the possibility to see the value of it in their lives.

He was also mentioning that the threshold for people becoming interested in art is lower in these modern times. For example in England it’s surprisingly more people visiting the museums than the football arenas. Finally he gave some last advice on what he believes is important to be aware of when integrating the art in the office.

  • The art should be beautifying, lifting its environment and atmosphere
  • It needs to be stimulating, provoke feelings, challenging, starting a debate ect.
  • It should feel like it creates an identity for the workplace 

4. Integration of art in the municipality

Art and the Danish Municipalities

An organizational consultancy firm did in 2016 an investigation for Statens Konstfund to get an overview of Municipalities investments in Art. (Source) 

After seeing some interesting numbers of how much is invested in art and why they chose to invest in it, we got in touch with Maria Work Nygård. She is a culture consultant at Aarhus Kommune (Kulturforvaltningen - City of Aarhus – Cultural Department). We wanted to know how their processes look like when choosing to integrate art. She sent us a description of how the process looks like.

In Aarhus municipality, 1% of the budget is set aside for construction of buildings for artistic decoration.
Within the building permit in connection with municipal construction over DKK 1.5 million is reserved for artistic decoration.

The amount reserved for artistic decoration must at least correspond to 1% of the budgeted gross expenditure incl. VAT. The provision applies not only to new construction, but also to conversion and extension, except for restoration.

The purpose of the ’1% rule’ is to promote more cultural, experiential construction and, by extension, to ensure more work assignments for visual artists. 

Artistic decoration can include anything other than visual art. The further delimitation of artistic decoration takes place in connection with the specific construction project, and jointly between the client, architect and the municipality’s Visual Arts Committee. 

The specific process for the selection of the artistic decoration depends on the size of the construction project’s budgeted gross expenditure. 

  • In connection with smaller constructions of between 1.5 and 10.0 mill. The project is not necessarily associated with an artist. The allocated decoration budget can be used to purchase art for the finished building. The Visual Arts.
  • Committee must be involved as consultants in procurement. For buildings with budgeted gross capital expenditures of more than DKK 10.0 million. DKK and up to and including DKK 35.0 million. The decoration task is awarded to an artist on the recommendation of the Visual Arts Committee.
  • For larger buildings with budgeted gross capital expenditures of more than DKK 35.0 million. As a starting point, DKK 3-5 artists are invited to prepare decoration proposals. The Visual Arts Committee nominates the artists. The client chooses, after prior dialogue with the architect and the Visual Arts
    Committee, the decoration among the nominees to be realized. 

Moreover, Maria said that the project director and decision makers of the building are meeting with “Billedkunstudvalget” that consists of 3 local artists. They begin this dialogue at the very beginning of the construction phase. Billedekunstudvalget then chooses different artists who suggestively could be the right fit for the job. They then gradually include and keep contact with all stakeholders. 

Billedekunstudvalget interact throughout the process with the director, workers, end-users and architects to figure out what they wish, how they wish that their workspaces looked liked, what their values/culture is like etc. They eventually change the artists in this process. They always want to make it unique, so almost all the art is being custom-made for the buildings. 

Billedkunstudvalget is currently Katja Bjørn (formand), Else ploug Isaksen and Ditte Lyngkær Pedersen. They are all artists and therefore have a lot of expertise. They change the group every 4th year.

5. Survey: workers and workspace

Art in the workspace 

We conducted a survey on the effects of Art at workspace through asking 100 employees how they experience Art. The employee ages range from people in their 20s to those in their 60s. The size of the organizations they work range from 1-10 people to over 100 employees. The questions were answered in total anonymity and we did our best to structure the questions so they become unbiased. All survey answers will be accessible separately to this presentation.

Night Life stock illustrations.


Key insights 

  • The bigger the organization grows, the less the employees have a say in how the workspace looks like.

  • There is a direct correlation between age, gender, organizational size and the opinions on the value of art.

  • 65% think that having art at the workspace has a connection to their creativity. 19,4% Don’t know if it does. Which leaves out the last 15,6% thinking that it does not have any impact.

  • 78,8% think that having art at the workspace has a connection to their wellbeing. 10,6% don’t know and 10,6% think that it does not have any effect.

  • The older Employees, 51 and above, is the age group that has the most say in how their workspace looks like.

  • Measuring from the ones who said yes to the question on whether they have had a say in how their workspace looks like, 68% have art. Measuring from the ones who said no to the question on whether they have had a say in how their workspace looks like, 47% have art. Here we see a clear difference in how workspaces look like, if employees get involved in the process. It is an important notice especially considering that research shows clearly a connection between more productivity, greater wellbeing and enhanced creativity if the employees have been involved in forming the workspace.

  • A great majority, 88%, think that their environment has a direct impact on their focus, creativity and wellbeing. Of those, 80% think that art plays an important role in the environment to enhance focus, creativity and wellbeing. 10% does not know if it has anything to do specifically with art, while 10% does not think that it has anything to do with art at all.

Endnotes

1.  https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/how-arts-can-help-improve-your-mental-health http://www.abcmentalsundhed.dk/kulturmoedet

2.  https://www.sst.dk/da/nyheder/2020/kultur-paa-recept-hjaelper-borgere-med-depressionstress-og-angst
https://sundhedshuset.silkeborg.dk/Vores-tilbud/Kultur-paa-recept?fbclid=IwAR1zhX0-_mtk5lNbVTjRPH-SuwhbqEIeOGF944jOxeUKcxVC98nmXHGPAME

3.  https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00739/full 

4. https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2018/08/06/how-art-changes-the-brain.html
5.   https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2016/jan/21/art-works-how-art-in-the-office-boosts-staff-productivity

https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7456-workspace-design-productivity.html 

7. https://www.we-heart.com/2018/10/18/business-and-art-a-valuable-relationship/

https://www.kunst.dk/fileadmin/user_upload/Kunst_dk/Dokumenter/Om_os/Publikationer/2016/Kunst_i_det_offentlige_rum_2016.pdf


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