Art for Longevity?

While we often view art as a form of leisure or luxury, a growing body of research suggests that engaging with the arts could be as essential to our health as exercise and nutrition. Whether creating art or simply appreciating it, studies show that art-related activities can profoundly impact our physical and mental well-being.

Healthcare professionals are increasingly recognizing the therapeutic benefits of the arts. Engaging in creative activities has been linked to improvements in a range of physical and mental conditions, from heart disease and obesity to depression and dementia. These activities stimulate our brains, enhance neuroplasticity, and trigger the release of beneficial neurochemicals and hormones.

Authors like Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross in their book, “Your Brain on Art,” argue that art engagement is a crucial aspect of human experience, offering benefits that can promote healing and well-being. Similarly, Bianca Bosker in her recent book, “Get the Picture,” discusses art not just as a luxury but as a fundamental human need, rooted in our evolutionary history.

Art’s power to evoke emotional and physiological responses is remarkable. It activates multiple brain networks, impacts our sensory experiences, and can even lead to profound physical reactions, such as those experienced by people with Stendhal syndrome when encountering particularly moving artworks.

These experts suggest making art a regular part of our lives, emphasizing that it is not the quality of the art that matters but the act of engaging with it. Regular interaction with art can enhance cognitive functions, lower stress levels, and even extend life expectancy. Thus, integrating art into our daily routines might not only enrich our lives aesthetically but could also be essential for our health.

Mother Catalogues Children and Animal Friendships in Russian Countryside

Many mothers will testify to the fact that throughout their busy days they have little time to sit back and enjoy their children or to appreciate the beauty that surrounds them in the form of simple, everyday moments. That is one of the reasons that Elena Shumilova, a mother in Russia, has taken over the internet with her amazing photography. Shumilova, a mother of two in the outskirts of Andreapol, purchased her first camera in 2012 and has been snapping breathtaking photos of her children ever since.


“Children and animals – it’s my life. I’m a mom with two sons and we spend a lot of time on the farm,” Shumilova said in an interview. When shooting I prefer to use natural light – both inside and outside. I love all sorts of light conditions – street lights, candle light, fog, smoke, rain and snow – everything that gives visual and emotional depth to the image.”


Shumilova explained that her education in architecture, as well as experience in painting and sketching, have defined her “feeling of photography and composition.”


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“I’ve been shooting every day and processing the images at nights. By autumn I felt I found my own way of approaching photography,” she said.



View more of Elena’s photographs here.

Nepali Artists Turn Mount Everest Trash Into Artistic Sculptures

In an effort to promote awareness about littering on Mount Everest, fifteen Nepali artists have created 75 sculptures from garbage collected on the mountain’s slopes. They spent one month crafting 1.7 tons of trash, including empty oxygen bottles, gas canisters, food cans, torn tents, ropes, crampons, plates and twisted aluminum ladders, into figures such as a yak and wind chimes.

The artwork was recently displayed at an exhibit in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.

“Everest is our crown jewel in the world,” said Kripa Rana Shahi, director of the Da Mind Tree art group. “We should not take it for granted. The amount of trash there is damaging our pride.”

The 29,035-foot mountain has been scaled by nearly 4,000 people, the first being New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953. The government has several limitations and policies to ensure minimal littering on the slopes, but activists have admitted that effective monitoring is extremely difficult. Climbers have confirmed this, explaining that the mountain is covered in garbage which is buried by winter’s snow. It is exposed only in the summer, when the snow melts.

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The garbage used in the recent art exhibition was collected in 2011 and earlier this year by Sherpa climbers, porters and long-haired yaks. The yaks were recognized in some of the works, which are now on sale for prices ranging from $15 to $2,300. The proceeds will be split between the artists and the Everest Summiteers’ Association, which sponsors garbage collection from the slopes.