The Benefits of Engaging in the Arts

SheridanCollegeBachelorMusicTheatreThe Good News  

A study commissioned by the Scottish government entitled, Healthy Attendance: The Impact of Cultural Engagement and Sports Participation on Health and Satisfaction with Life in Scotland” reports that “There is consistent evidence that people who participate in culture and sport or attend cultural places or events are more likely to report that their health is good and they are satisfied with their life than those who do not participate”.

Fiona Hyslop, culture secretary for Scotland said, “Cumulatively, this growing evidence base is giving us more insight into the benefits that taking part in cultural and creative activities brings – at every life stage.”

The Bad News

Unfortunately, the study also found that participation in cultural events declines with age.

More Good News  

Fortunately, Canadians have a wealth of cultural experiences to choose from. For those of us living in the Toronto area, the Senior Toronto website offers comprehensive information on discounted, free or ‘pay as you can’ performances.

The Canadian Opera Company offers a Free Concert Series on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in Toronto. Make it an intergenerational experience and treat your favourite ‘Millennial’ to a symphony orchestra concert. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has created the TSoundcheck program that offers concerts to individuals 15-30 years of age for $14.

Often local colleges and universities have a vibrant arts community. The University of Toronto Mississauga in affiliation with Theatre Sheridan offers live theatre to older adults for only $12. The Sheridan Gallery in Oakville exhibits the artwork of students, faculty and alumni and admission is free.

If you live in Vancouver and are in the mood to visit an art gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery has a ‘pay by donation’ evening every Thursday and an older adult 65+ discount during regular hours. Most large art galleries in Canada have similar free times and discounts.

Local libraries are wonderful spaces to enjoy the arts. Not only are libraries a useful source of reading material they often offer cultural events. For example, starting this February the Calgary Public Library presents the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Musicians in concert series. Check your local library for cultural events.

Another great resource for the arts is your local older adult centre. The Oakville Senior Citizens’ Recreation Centre offers an arts and culture lecture series, drawing classes and a book club.

If the cold weather is keeping you indoors check out the incredible Google Art Project online. Build your own virtual art gallery from a selection of more than 40,000 high-resolution images from over 40 countries.

Bravo! Embrace the arts and nourish your heart and soul.

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