Magazine article Work & Family Life

New Study Finds Art Makes You Smarter

Magazine article Work & Family Life

New Study Finds Art Makes You Smarter

Article excerpt

Several years ago the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan and the New York City Department of Education collaborated on two studies. Both showed that art education and museum visits had a positive impact on students' literacy, critical thinking and problem-solving-three skills crucial for success in today's fast-changing workplace.

But there's been little or no research since then showing a correlation between exposure to the arts and specific desired outcomes in schools-until the perfect opportunity arose in 2011 with the opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Social science researchers at the University of Arkansas and education department staff members at Crystal Bridges recognized that the opening of a major museum in an area that had never had one before was an unusual event that ought to be studied.

Because of the extremely high demand to visit the museum in its first year, students were selected by lottery for guided tours. This gave the researchers a natural "control group" of students who did not win an immediate tour.

Over the course of 2012, about 11,000 students and 500 teachers took part in the research. After their visit to Crystal Bridges, the students were surveyed about art, as well as measures of tolerance, historical empathy and their interest in visiting art museums and other cultural institutions. …

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