Choir Notes

The Influence of Art
From Music and The Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4303

Beautiful art is good for the soul. It can lift and inspire; it can calm and soothe; it can inform and enlighten. Art improves our quality of life and has been shown to stimulate brain function, reduce stress, and help us focus on things that really matter.1 Those who take time to appreciate art — in its many forms — understand its remarkable effects.

Years ago, a man purchased his first home and, with his limited budget, set to the task of furnishing it. But rather than buying a sofa, a nice kitchen table, or other pieces of furniture, he first bought some modest but inspiring artwork. He knew he would eventually need a place to sit in his new home, but he felt he needed art on his walls even more.

When friends and family came to visit, they admired the beautiful prints and paintings that adorned his walls, but they wondered why he did not have much in the way of furniture. He explained that he was working on saving enough money to buy better furniture, but he was afraid that if he did not place a priority on art, he might never be able to justify its purchase.

John Hafen, a noted artist from a hundred years ago, explained what this man seemed to know about art. He said: "The influence of art is so powerful in shaping our lives for a higher 
appreciation of the creations of our God that we cannot afford to neglect an acquaintance with it. We should be as eager for its companionship as we are eager for chairs to sit upon or for food to sustain our lives, for it has as important a mission in shaping our character and in conducing to our happiness as anything that we term necessities. Life is incomplete without it.”2

Indeed, art makes life more meaningful. Whether a painting or a poem, a sculpture or a song, wholesome artistic expression lifts us from the everyday and helps us see beyond the here and now.

1 See "31 Ways to Get Smarter in 2012,” Newsweek, Dec. 30, 2011, http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/12/30/31-ways-to-get-smarter-in-2012.item-22.html.
2 In Thomas A. Leek, "A Circumspection of Ten Formulators of Early Utah Art History” [master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1961], 39.

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