The University of Utah: Exploring the Arts as a Non-Major

23 Aug 2021

That is why, in addition to the wealth of wellness and counseling services on campus, we urge all University of Utah students to consider enrolling in courses in the arts (art and art history, dance, film and media arts, music and theater) to complement their learning and find new ways to explore resilience.

There are making classes, movement classes, lectures, and music ensembles that cater for all U students (partial but impressive list below).

So what are the benefits?

Research into the social, cognitive and emotional benefits of artistic experiences paints an increasingly vivid picture of the ways in which creative endeavors can change us for the better. Of course, this is why expressive art therapies exist. And even outside of the context of the arts as therapy, researchers are seeing many side benefits of engaging in the arts.

Some of this research is being done right here at the University of Utah by professors and staff affiliated with the Arts-in-Health Lab, which is a hub of interdisciplinary research, teaching, clinical care and community engagement at the intersection of the arts. and health. Its members study how the arts support and produce well-being, and apply this knowledge in hospitals, clinics, community centers, schools, workplaces and senior care facilities.

One example is theater professor Sydney Cheek-O’Donnell whose forthcoming book “Arts for Health: Theater” reviews the evidence related to theater and highlights strong associations between engagement in theater and several positive outcomes. for health, in particular:

  • positive self-esteem
  • improved social relations
  • positive impact on mental health and well-being (e.g., reduction of anxiety), and
  • improved health literacy.

NPR’s Malaka Gharib interviewed several researchers for his article, “Feeling Artsy? Here’s How “Making Arts Helps Your Brain” and noted that the benefits include:

  • Help us imagine brighter futures
  • Activates our brain’s reward center
  • Decrease our stress
  • helps us focus

And in a comprehensive study titled “What is the Evidence for the Role of the Arts in Improving Health and Well-Being?” Daisy Fancourt and Saorise Finn said the arts can:

    • affect the social determinants of health (for example, developing social cohesion and reducing social inequalities and injustices);
    • encourage healthy behaviors (for example by promoting a healthy lifestyle or encouraging commitment to health care);
    • help prevent health problems (including improving well-being and reducing the impact of trauma or the risk of cognitive decline); and
    • support the delivery of care (including improving our understanding of health and improving clinical skills).

We could go on, but it will suffice to say: the benefits are wide and substantial, and we hope you take this opportunity. You don’t need to have any experience. Register, bring your curiosity and join us.

Here is a short list of some courses and opportunities that any U student can take advantage of: Art and art history To dance CINEMA AND MEDIA ARTS MUSIC THEATER


This press release was produced by the University of Utah. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

About Glenn Gosselin

Glenn Gosselin

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