Local Students' View: Duluth can find healing, kindness through the arts

From the column: "Art reaches the emotional centers of the brain, allowing individuals to improve their self-esteem, reduce symptoms from mental disorders, and improve their social behaviors."

Kap / Cagle Cartoons

We are current students at the University of Minnesota Duluth and community members of Duluth. We care about kindness and connection in the arts because they create community and benefit our overall well-being. Art is a powerful tool in storytelling, inspiration, and healing.

Art is limitless. It is paintings, drawings, music, photography, and theater. Art is expression and an outlet. Incorporating various forms of art around the community such as murals helps community members better understand each other.

In accordance with the Global Campaign for Peace Education, this can open viewers’ minds to different perspectives and can encourage a connection between groups.

Along with how viewing art can bring joy and peace, the act of creating it does as well.

Inviting community members to come together and create a piece for their town is yet another way to establish connections in a way that brings everyone together in a positive and productive way.


Art is more than just spreading kindness, however. Art is a way for people of all backgrounds to express themselves or even to get through hard times. Art therapy, for example, allows individuals to reach parts of their mind that previously were inaccessible. With such a vast selection of different art forms, there is always going to be a form of art that reaches everyone.

As stated by writer and educational-psychology researcher Kendra Cherry, in the November article, “ What is Art Therapy? ,” we can find that art helps improve mental health or the coping with a traumatic or troubling situation. Art reaches the emotional centers of the brain, allowing individuals to improve their self-esteem, reduce symptoms from mental disorders, and improve their social behaviors. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, one in five Americans suffers from mental health issues. We should embrace something as powerful and as healing as art. Healing is kindness, and art is a great platform on which to spread it.

Kindness is important to the well-being of the community. People of all backgrounds can express or enjoy art, and it can be used to promote kindness within the community. According to “ The art of kindness ,” a May 2020 article published by the Mayo Clinic Health System, art is good for your body and mind, “shown to increase self-esteem, empathy, compassion, and improve mood.”

By using art to connect ourselves with others, we can build inspiration and healing in our community. When we see art, take a moment to view it or talk about it with others. Create conversations surrounding art. Participate in art clubs or art studios around your community. We can participate in art, whether it is creating or discussing.

Creating, sharing, and viewing art can be a way to promote kindness within our community. Being kind or experiencing kindness can be good for our bodies and mind. The act of creating or receiving kindness can increase self-esteem, empathy, and compassion, and it can improve moods. According to “The art of kindness,” kindness has been shown to positively change your brain by boosting serotonin and dopamine levels. It can promote the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain-killers.

Art is a platform you can utilize to share kindness within our community.

Amber Bourgoyne, Katy Clepper, Allison Hill, and Nicholas Smith are students at the University of Minnesota Duluth who wrote this originally as part of classwork.

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