Social Impacts of the Arts Term Paper

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Social Aspects and Impacts of the Arts

It is generally well-agreed that the arts are valuable to society, but their exact value is often debated upon. Having a better understanding of the exact social aspects of the arts, and the precise manner in which individuals in the arts are able to benefit from such participation is absolutely essential. This is the type of research which needs to be presented to policymakers and legislators so that the arts can be treated more seriously in society and in the community as well (Reeves, 2009). The benefit of creative activity, along with the ability to explore one's motivations for engaging in creative activity is absolutely necessary for a well-rounded education. This type of discovery can assist in aiding in the entire personal development process, and in the entire voyage of fostering social skills along with art activities that give an adult education approach to participants and to decision-making. Figuring out how these benefits can more aptly be derived for each individual and for the collective is absolutely essential and are two of the pillars as to why this research needs to be conducted in the first place.

Some have argued that art actually works as a form of cultural activity and has the possibility for urban regeneration. Others have asserted that this form of art is something which can offer truly important benefits to all involved such as a more heightened social cohesion, along with a bolstered local image and a minimization of offensive behavior with an increase of interest in the local environment. Experts have argued that participation in the arts can also foster both public and private partnerships with heightened identities and enhanced amounts of organizational capacities along with bolstered independence and autonomy and a more hopeful view of the future (Matarasso, 2007). But the details and specifics which surround these results are still mysterious. More research absolutely needs to be done to uncover what the exact social impacts are of participating in the arts and how they manifest and under specific circumstances. Thus, nearly every expert is aware that the arts possess very strong social aspects; however what they are exactly and when they are generally generated can be murkier. Thus, the need for research clearly and steadily abounds.

The study, "Creativity, Personal, Developmental and Social Aspects by Simonton is an article with the following purpose (3a): it seeks to determine how artistic and creative endeavors are influenced and continue to influence individuals in a social manner. Thus, the independent variables in this study are the artistic activities -- the mural building, the photography, the writing and comparable endeavors. The dependent variables are the participants and individuals selected (3b). The variables were measured according to the pillars of previous research (3c). The research design involved standard quantitative research which sought to determine the exact manifestations of the cognitive processes connected to the creative act, and the specific characteristics of creative people, how that artistry develops over the collective and individual lifespan and the social environments which are most strongly connected to creative activity (3d). The sampling method involved reaching out to individuals in universities and in professional environments who were engaged in a full or part-time manner in the creative process -- thus this detail was the main eligibility requirement of the sample (3e, 3f). The sampling method was more informal, with researchers reaching out by letter to potential participants. Potential participants had to complete a survey or questionnaire which forced them to think about and consider the way in which they were impacted by the creative process. Psychologists were able to ultimately conclude that the creative process and that participation in the arts in general had an undeniably beneficial impact on the individual and the community (3g). The social aspects most overwhelmingly described were a greater allegiance to the community and smoother social cohesion.

The level of confidence emitted from the fact that the findings of the article can be attributed to the independent variable revolves around the lucidity of the data: the data was very clearly gathered and the connections that can be made between these two aspects are all too clear (3h). Thus, a great deal of confidence can be derived. Ultimately, it appears that these findings confirm what so many experts have been saying for a while: participation in the arts benefits communities. Because the data was so lucidly drawn, it was easier and easier for one to be able to make these conclusions and see their apparent and widespread applicability and how creativity and involvement in the arts leads to a higher level of beneficial human functioning. Thus, based on these assessments there is a strong level of generalizability (3i).

The next research study which was examined was "Creating Social Capital" by Williams, a case study which was able to offer up clear examples of the precise mechanisms by which organizations can use their social capital combined with participation in the arts to better themselves (3a). The study examined "a sample of recipients of community-based arts grants provided by the Australia Council. One of these grants was given to a small group of women residents of Longlea, a suburb of Brisbane. Their goal was to beautify their blighted community center, which involved local residents in the creation of artworks around the community center" (Guetzkow, 2002). The independent variables in this study were the grants given out (3b). The dependent variables were the recipients of these grants (3b). The variables were measured in terms of the change documented over time (3c). The sample was gathered simply based on the individuals who were receiving this massive grant, and reaching out to those individuals to determine if they would want to participate in the research (3e). In this case, eligibility requirements just revolved around whether an individual had received a grant (3f). The research design was a quantitative method with field work and survey questions (3d). The findings demonstrated the power of participation in the arts for doing good within a community (3g). The engagement in this project drew people together who might otherwise never have met each other, to engage in a constructive social activity.

Fundamentally, the more people worked in a collaborative fashion on the project and began to forge friendships, their mutual trust bolstered. "Their success in negotiating with the municipal bureaucracy in order to accomplish the task gave participants a newfound sense that they could accomplish other goals. The community group and individuals coordinating the efforts learned organizing skills, learned how to navigate the bureaucracy and built relationships with the municipal and regional government" (Guetzkow, 2002). Ultimately, this lead for all members of the community feeling a sense of increased pride and appreciation for the environment and region as a whole (3g). Williams was able to gather this data in a consistent quantitative fashion through observations and measured surveys, so that all the data could be measured against previously drafted scales and other forms of measurement (3h). Thus, it was easy to see how the dependent variable was directly impacted by the independent variable. The lucidity of the data was one of the overwhelming aspects as to why this data was so compelling and why it was able to offer so much generalizability in the bigger scheme of things (3i).

The Coming Up Taller report (Weitz 1996) was a research study which attempted to determine just how skills and cultural capital of participation in the arts (3a). The report targets the arts-training programs geared towards more at-risk youth and attempts to determine why these programs are so essential and offer so much benefit to communities (3a). The report tries to come up with hard core evidence as opposed to the wealth of anecdotal evidence. The report highlights how students, learned artistic skills like singing and dancing along with the technical aspects of producing a play, in conjunction with lighting, set-design and sound. Performing in a play along with other kinds of artistic activity can offer a foundation of learning for children that they all find more fun and engaging and which create lessons which last much longer (Weitz, 1996). In this case the independent variables were the artistic engagements; the dependent variables were the children involved (3b). The independent variables were measured by type, quality and time spent, the dependent variables were measured by improved academic performance and behavior in school (3c). The research design focused on quantitative data collection methods, charted and assessed over time (3d). The sampling method was simple: researchers just reached out to children and their parents who were involved in these types of artistic programs (3e). Thus, that was one of the eligibility requirements about the research: students had to be participating in such an arts-based program (3f).

This research was conducted over time, looking at several years of data concerning these students and which truly attempted to determine just how children could be impacted and bettered by working on such an artistic endeavor: the research examined their grades…

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