I was pleased to read Paul Martiquet’s column “Art promotes healthy aging” (Coast Reporter, Feb. 15) on the benefits of making art, particularly for the elderly.
I heartily endorse his views and am pleased to see that Vancouver Coastal Health has funded some programming for vulnerable and marginalized older adults.
As an art therapist, I have spent hundreds of hours witnessing the profound therapeutic effects of art making for adults and children of all ages and with a wide range of physical and psychological conditions. Brain research into neuroplasticity, as Dr. Martiquet points out, shows the beneficial effects of art activity in improving neural networks.
The good news is that our brains, like gardeners, constantly prune away what isn’t used and bud in new directions as we do new things.
Creativity is a powerful source of new life, no matter where a person starts from, and art making is one of the few treatments that is actually inherently pleasurable. Art making can be used in so many ways: problem-solving, expressing what is too complicated or difficult to say with words, focusing, relaxing. And the beauty is that you have a visual record of the process.
I hear so many people say they have no ability, but those are the discouraging messages that people were given as children — I’ve seen over and over that creativity has no limits and no special skill is required to begin.
Art in every form improves quality of life: it is not a luxury, but a cost-effective way to improve our society.
Rose Clarke, Gibsons