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The Impact of Art on the Human Spirit by Alexandra Dailey

The impact of art on the human spirit is profound and undeniable. The effect that a work of art is capable of having cannot be overlooked. The process of creating artwork requires the effort and passion of the spirit. Art allows the spirit to breathe and express itself, for the sake of itself or for reaching a wider audience. Within all of us are emotions we are compelled to convey; our spirits want to communicate and be understood. Creating art can serve as a channel for the spirit to reach the world and others.

The spirit is defined as the non-physical part of a person, the seat of emotions and character; the soul. Art is defined as the expression of human creative skill and imagination, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. The spirit draws on emotions to create art. Through art emotions are released. Consequently, a relationship exists between art and spirit. Once on display a piece speaks to the human spirit—the feelings within reach out to that of the viewer. Our reactions all differ, but no matter the person or their experience with art, the piece evokes a response. Some truly connect, while others’ interest is simply piqued. When looking upon a piece some feel nostalgic, remembering things past. Others are inspired to articulate their feelings in a similar way. Some people respond negatively or indifferently. Individual connection between art and the spirit is unique. Art speaks to all of us. It touches the viewer’s spirit because art physically expresses the artist’s spirit, and as a result a connection is created.

Art is an outlet for the spirit; it frees the soul and may promote healing during creation. Art has the ability to be therapeutic; reaching the spirit, allowing communication between an individual and a therapist. Or the spirit can express itself for purely personal, therapeutic reasons. In either situation art encourages healing of the spirit, thus creating a positive outcome. Troubled individuals looking for peace or anyone trying to convey their feelings, dreams, or ideas can use art to aid the process. Art can instill hope and healing to creator and viewer alike. Artists communicate their emotions and journey through their creativity. Others share in this experience through observation and reflection. To gain a connection with art one must become an active participant, purposefully involving themselves with the art. One cannot passively look at a work of art, they must actively see it and recognize the spirit within; allowing the piece to speak. Art facilitates the meeting of spirits. A piece can lead the artist and the viewer to a place within themselves where finding meaning is the goal, in which the sought meaning is for spirits to communicate. Tapping into the spirit via art creates connections, understandings, and realizations of self, therefore the work of art awakens the human spirit.

Art reaches the spirit in a number of ways. Color palette, alignment, balance, subject matter, texture, shape, title, etc. all influence the viewer’s interpretation of a piece. The format, verticality, horizontality, and manipulation of the subject also affect one’s perception. Whether the aesthetics inspire or not depends on how the artwork’s elements converse with each spirit. The lighting and venue can impact the viewer’s overall relationship with a piece as well. Positively or negatively, strongly or faintly, there will be some sort of emotional resonance between art and spirit. That connection can be instant, take several moments to take hold, or be realized later. Art originates from the spirit. It is only natural that another spirit be touched by that energy.

Pablo Picasso said “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” The impact of art on the human spirit is naturally powerful. If, by gazing upon a piece, your stress, frustrations, or concerns leave you for a few moments, permitting peace, contemplation and inspiration, then clearly Picasso was correct. Obviously art affects the spirits of artist and viewer; the benefit is twofold. Art brings two spirits together, for however brief a time, and allows our spirits a way to express who we are, what we believe, or to share what we feel, evoking appreciation and understanding. Artistic influence can be freeing on a spiritual level, and serve as a path of deep discovery to finding ourselves. Often times the message and affects of art are not fully realized; they are overlooked as transient distractions. But in actuality, art and its message are able to reach the human spirit by means of unique strength and beauty, impacting people, their very lives, and the world around us.

Art Information: "Northern Lights Over the Mountains" by Grant Paczensky. View Grant's work here.



1. Definitions regarding ‘spirit’ and ‘art’ are from

2. Idea gathered from source: Thomson, Joanne. “A Partnership between Art and Spirit.” Victoria Times Colonist. WordPress. 16 Jan. 2012. Web.

3. Quote found on


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