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Our View: The awesomeness of art

Published: Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Whether it’s a child’s first finger painting or an expensively-framed work of renown, art plays a powerful role in life.

Most all of us can remember dabbling in art as children – using crayons to draw, clay to sculpt or over-sized brushes to paint.

Some stick with art and continue to hone their skills as they get older, while many others let that specific outlet for creativity fade from their day-to-day existence.

But even those who don’t consider themselves artists still tend to retain an unmeasurable appreciation for art, a connection that was highlighted in this week’s Kane County Chronicle series on local artists and artwork.

In fact, the benefits of art are fundamental to humanity and have the power to transform a person’s life, according to the Americans for the Arts organization, a nonprofit group that has been advancing the arts and art education since 1960.

Just check out these statistics from the Americans for the Arts website, www.artsusa.org.

• Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have shown that when a city has a high concentration of art, civic engagement increases, social cohesion is amped and poverty rates are lowered.

• According to a study titled “Arts & Economic Prosperity IV,” the arts can create jobs, boost tourism and lead to government revenue – no matter the size of a town.

• And students who attend schools that champion art have higher grade-point averages, lower drop-out rates and better attitudes about community service.

So, how does a person in Kane County take advantage of all art has to offer?

Fortunately, the area has placed a huge emphasis on art. Public art – including large, colorful murals and impressively detailed sculptures – can be seen across the county. And art-focused organizations and events abound.

Water Street Studios in Batavia, the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, and the the Geneva Fine Arts Fair are just a few local art outlets.

In addition, Waubonsee Community College and Elgin Community College offer an array of educational art opportunities.

And, of course, people young and old can start right in their own home. All it takes is a pencil, pen – or even a crayon – to get started.

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