Evolving Art, Evolving Brain

The most evolved part of the human brain, the portion responsible for higher level thinking activities like problem solving and creativity is the prefrontal cortex, and it is only activated when a person is calm, relaxed, and feels safe. If a person is agitated, stressed, and fearful, then that person functions on the older, less evolved part of the brain, which is commonly referred to as the mammalian brain. I thought about this last weekend as I taught my workshop at Villa Montalvo Art Center’s Arts in Your Classroom Seminar. All of the presenters created a safe atmosphere where individuals could come together and create without fear of harsh judgments or expectations of conformity. It was the opposite; the arts reward nonconformity and nonconventional ideas. No one goes to art galleries expecting standardized and consistent pieces. We go expecting to be shocked out of complacency and the status quo. The more creative, innovative, and unique the idea, the better. This is just one other reason why the arts are important and why Art is Power.