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Therapeutic (Art) benefits of attending Museums & galleries.

Visiting a museum provides so much inspiration and potential to impact people positively. This may include enhancing emotional experiences, reducing anxiety and stress, providing a sense of community and connection. They are natural environments for art therapy in how the benefits of culture and well-being are brought out. Museums such as our very own OCMA (Orange County Museum of Art), provide so many therapeutic benefits, from observing the collective creations and artifacts, to providing individuals the opportunity to learn more about the world around them.
    Museums provide inspiration not only through the artwork, but also through personal connections with visitors. Not only can the visits reduce stress, combat isolation, and be rewarding, it also aids in mindfulness where individuals can feel immersed and engaged in reflective thought.
    There is no need to have knowledge about art or art history in order to have an enjoyable and meaningful visit to an art museum with cherished memories.
    In attending the preview event at OCMA I was able learn first hand from the visionaries and creators (depicted in the photo) behind our magnificent museum about more information and interesting facts about the creation of it and vision(s) by the team behind it. The environment is calm, soothing, meditative, inspirational, uplifting, and vibrant all aiding in the therapeutic experience attending a museum brings.
    With their first exhibition, “13 Women” presenting work from 13 pioneering female artists from the 1960s to the present, on view in two rotations. The museum’s collection comprises more than 4,500 objects, with a concentration on art produced during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
    Curated by the dynamic CEO and Director Heidi Zuckerman, the current exhibit celebrates the museum’s 60th anniversary, paying homage to the 13 women who founded the Balboa Pavilion Gallery, OCMA’s previous facility, which was opened in 1962. In speaking with Heidi she states, “It is my personal mission to connect people to art and artists to make their lives better. Believing that access to art is a basic human right, not a privilege, I know how important it is for that access to start with kids as early in their lives as possible!”
    More therapeutic benefits of visiting museums, particularly for kids, is sparking their curiosity and provoking their imagination through exposure and introduction to unknown worlds and subject matter, and how it also can offer a unique environment for quality time with family/loved ones.
    The architecture of the museum is definitely a work of art in itself! It was exciting to see in person The 53,000-square-foot-facility, designed by Thom Mayne, which provides an awesome size for the exhibition galleries, education program, performance, public gathering space, administrative offices, a gift shop, and a café. Their cafe’ and large sculpture terrace both add to the wellness and self-care factor in how they offer a fresh, plant-forward menu which highlights local produce and opportunity to enjoy art outdoors while enjoying the lovely and healing SoCal weather.
    The design of the museum is so fitting in that it is centered on the idea of dissolving barriers and creating connections, seen in the blurring of interior and exterior spaces, views opened into and between galleries, and the grand outdoor stair curving toward the entrance at the heart of Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
    With museum admission being free for the first decade, thanks to Lugano Diamonds, hopefully this will provide the opportunity for more people, children and families, to experience some mindful, educational, healing, self-care, self-love, wellness time with “art therapy”, and uplifting creative inspiration for mental health.
    In addition to visiting the museum and observing the overall art, hopefully you will be inspired to create therapeutic art of your very own!
    I encourage you to visit the museum and experience the therapeutic art and these things for yourself. I’m a proud member of the museum and advocate for the arts and I look forward to seeing you there again soon!
    For more information please visit https://arttherapyoc.com.

Diana Shabtai, Psy.D., ATR-BC is a contributing writer to Kiddish Magazine

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