Art Breeding Empathy

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Going to an art museum is never a bad idea. It is relaxing, enlightening, culturally inspiring and overall just a great activity for your mind, body and soul. Aside from being given the chance to learn about and look at super cool, important artifacts, going to a museum can also greatly impact your sense of empathy and compassion. Long story short, a quick trip to a museum can actually make you a better human!

Defining Empathy

Art has been breeding and increasing empathy in human beings since the dawn of time. Have you ever found a piece of art and gotten that warm feeling in your stomach? That’s your empathy beaming. Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of one another.” It is the act of understanding and respecting differing opinions, which is greatly needed in our society.

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The Power of Art and Empathy

There are studies that have shown that medical students who attend art museums are becoming more empathetic and lower the risk of becoming desensitized to some of the gruesome things they see on the job. Some medical schools even require its students to take classes that study art to ensure their sense of empathy is intact. Never undermine art— it can change one’s perspective on the world and make life feel much more sensitive and vulnerable.

And vulnerability is good! Some people may have that one song that is consistently a tear-jerker, and a good painting or sculpture can have the same effect. As humans, we all need more empathy. There is a lot that goes on in the world, whether that be politically, economically or environmentally. We would probably be a lot better off if we just had more empathy for one another.

Why This Matters

Art museum trips are great activities considering they are mainly cheap or come at discounted prices for students, they get you on your feet and off your phone and allow you for probably some very needed quiet time. The Palmer Museum of Art is an incredibly diverse and well-equipped museum that we are lucky enough as Penn State students to have access to right on campus. Directly next to the Forum Building, The Palmer is stacked with important pieces of art, all of which have complex stories behind them. Plus, it’s free!

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So next time you’re having roommate troubles, your partner is annoying you or your professors are being way too tough, take a step into The Palmer, or any art museum for that matter, and let your sense of empathy evolve. We all need to be more connected, and what better way to do so than to see some art!


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