Participating in creative activities and having access to cultural resources is crucial to one’s mental health and wellbeing, according to researchers. Having access to art also improves the experiences that lower income communities have such as having better education, security, and health outcomes says Professors Mark J. Stern and Susan C. Seifert.
Professor Stern and Seifert’s study released back in 2017 suggest that cultural resources play an important part “of a neighborhood ecology that promotes social wellbeing.”
The study showed a 14% decrease in child abuse and neglect investigations, an 18% decrease in felony crime rates, and an 18% increase in the number of students scoring at the highest level on standardized Math and English tests where neighborhoods had more acessibility to cultural resources. And although this study proved the positive and beneficial influence that art has on communities, it also revealed a very real gap between wealthier neighborhoods and those of lower-income neighborhoods.
Lower-income neighborhoods were also found to have fewer access to cultural resources.
The National Endowment for the Arts states that high-arts, low-socioeconomic students are more likely to graduate than low-arts, low-socioeconomic students and high-arts, low-socioeconomic students are more likely to attend and finish college than low-arts, low-socioeconomic students.
Because we know that participating in artistic and creative activities are vital for our mental health and wellbeing, and is just as important for our youth, it is extremely crucial for us to break these gaps between neighborhoods and provide art to the disadvantaged. Funding art programs for schools and more engagement in creative events for youth is essential to maintaining a healthy community.
What might Sacramento look like with an even larger art community and more accessibility to having a strong cultural presence?