How can art help us deal with stress, get through COVID-19 and come out on the other side?

The Corona Virus pandemic has upended our lives. We were already facing global climate change and increases in the number of nuclear weapons. Now this virus, and others that may follow. Most of us who are fortunate enough to be artists don’t usually need to confront such realities. We survived 9/11 and Sandy. We have entered another one of those moments, but this time human life is threatened throughout the planet.

It seems impossible to make art that will live up to the challenge & much won’t, but making art is a critical part of our survival. Making art is comfort both for the creator as is the sharing a form of comfort for the receiver, even if it doesn’t express or remove the terror. The comfort exists both in the making and in the seeing and sharing.

– Vernita Nemec, Viridian Artists

In November 2019, I had my work exhibited at the Viridian Artists gallery in NYC, so I ended up joining their mailing list. Above is an excerpt from from one of their emails.

The words “art is a critical part of our survival” really caught my attention. Personally I agree, but my rational side cannot find a clear explanation for this statement. As a creator I feel like art is the only thing that helps me keep my sanity. But how does art serve the purpose of aiding in mental health for a viewer? Is it because art can catch our attention, make us focus on the present moment and forget about our buzzing thoughts for moment?

But then how is there a point in creating COVID-19 focused art? Looking at such art will definitely not help us clear our heads from this topic, but maybe even intensify our depression.

Maybe it just allows us to acknowledge our feelings and make our frazzled emotions feel valid. And feeling understood and validated is just what we need right now.

#Art is claimed to be a critical part of survival. But how does is serve the purpose of aiding in #MentalHealth of a viewer?

Art and mental health

Over the past decade or so, there has been a lot of discussion of how depression should be treated as a medical, rather than psychological condition, and destigmatized. Yet many people still feel uneasy not only talking about their mental health, but also using medications to treat their depression. It seems risky to start taking drugs that may lead to a form of addiction. For some people, looking at art, getting lost in their thoughts and reaching a state of flow, may lead to release of chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins bring us a sense of pleasure and can help to at least in part treat depression naturally.

Many people still feel uneasy talking about their #MentalHealth.

You can find out more about the work featured in this post here.

“Tortured”, 2017

Art is my emotional outlet and my oasis.  I use art to express my feelings and work through life issues.  Come join me on this journey of letting go of control and letting the creative process take over.  You will get access to all of the behind the scenes footage and see the major breakthroughs that translate into new artwork.

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