Contributed by Tanya S.

Art, music and all forms of culture are part of our everyday lives.  Yet, it seems to be at the bottom of the list when it comes to programs that are being cut from school curricula.  However, our overall well-being can be greatly enhanced by putting a little culture in our lives.

When I was younger, I remember when they cut out art completely from all the schools in my area. According to the chancellor at the time, It (art) is just not important.

During those artless days, my time at school was dreadful—it felt as if information was just being poured into my head and I never had any outlet for my creative thoughts.  Yes, I could write an essay in English class but that was strictly regulated to a certain format.  Music and art classes were a thing of the past and my grades suffered—not by much since I was a big nerd; but enough for me to notice. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t learn; it was more that I didn’t care about learning.

Interestingly enough, just two years later, art was reinstated and I immediately felt the difference in how I approached my school work, even my life at home. Engaging the creative part of my brain allowed me to think in non-linear ways which strengthened my problem-solving skills.  I also felt more relaxed and enthusiastic about school.

When I expand the notion of art to include television shows, even commercials (often knocked as being worthless), I can actually see their value as everyday art. How many commercials have you laughed at or remarked on how clever they are?  How often have you seen a movie and been blown away by how the actor’s performance had you escape into the world they created?

On a more personal level, as you sit there humming a favorite tune, dancing in your chair, gawking at a piece of clothing, commenting on the symmetry of  a photograph or admiring your child’s latest drawing, take a moment to appreciate it as art and be aware of how it can make you feel and how it changes your day.

How do you include culture in your life? We invite you to share your ideas in the comment box below.