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Featured Article

Exploring the Benefits of Creativity for Youth

Article by Sierra Daugherty

Photography by Erica Haskett

Originally published in River City Lifestyle

Summer is in the air, bringing with it a perfect opportunity for children to explore the world of art. Here in Memphis, the warm, sunny days, bright green foliage and vibrant evenings create an inviting backdrop for a season of creativity and discovery. From painting to fashion design, creative activities offer kids more than just a fun way to pass the time. Away from the structure of traditional education, summer is a time where kids experience the freedom to dive into things that, between homework, sports, and extracurriculars, they might not otherwise have the chance to explore deeply. This season is brimming with excitement and potential, making it the perfect time to explore new horizons.

Engaging in art might seem like a simple pastime to some, but it holds profound value. According to ArtsMemphis and the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6, in 2022, the local arts and culture industry brought in an impressive $192.2 million in economic activity. This significant contribution shows the value of investing in creative programs and encouraging
young artists to explore and pursue their crafts.

Not only is creativity a marketable skill, but it also plays a crucial role in cognitive development. When children practice art, they build cognitive skills such as recognizing patterns, planning, and understanding cause and effect. For younger children, learning how to hold a paintbrush or craft with clay can even improve fine motor skills. Not to mention, kids of all ages enhance their language skills and media literacy by discussing their own and others' art!

Another significant benefit of practicing creative arts is the social and emotional development that comes with it. In traditional school settings, kids are typically grouped by age. In a more relaxed environment, such as an art summer camp or art classes, kids often interact with peers of different ages, learning to communicate and collaborate with both younger and older individuals. Creative programs also bring together children from diverse backgrounds, providing an opportunity to form new friendships and understand different perspectives, which fosters diverse relationships and helps kids feel a sense of belonging within a larger community. 

Art-making opportunities abound at Arrow Creative, a non-profit art collective in Midtown Memphis, which offers summer camps taught by professional, working artists in a variety of mediums from ceramics to digital illustration as well as “Mini Maker” classes throughout the year. With adult programming also available throughout the year, whether you’re looking to pick up a new hobby or hone your existing artistic skills, exploring the arts is a wonderful journey for all ages!