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Visual art serves a vital purpose in the Beaverton community

October is National Arts and Humanities Month and Beaverton Mayor Rob Drake signed a proclamation Oct. 2 making it National Arts and Humanity Month in Beaverton. Beaverton Arts Commission board member and art instructor Ano Anahid Youssefian wrote the fo

Visual art is one branch of the humanities concerning subjects which study and celebrate the human condition. I feel that this often-overlooked subject carries those in our community through their lives, enriching and nourishing them.

As an art educator I have seen firsthand how art can heal hurts by teaching students that there is a way to express themselves where there is no right or wrong answer. A red pen descending on a page is not to say, 'incorrect answer,' but to celebrate the tone of the art. It helps the children to grasp that there are many ways to see and experience the world, leading them to more diverse thinking. It allows them to explore their own culture's way of expression as well as the cultures of others - ultimately teaching them to honor our collective humanity.

I find this increasingly important as the world grows more accessible through technology. We need to be able to see each other as a community, and this can begin where we are - Beaverton.

I am so excited our city, through the Beaverton Arts Commission, has taken the time to address this valuable way of enriching life.

Art has been proven to enhance students in all aspects of their lives, including getting better marks in traditional subjects. Art teaches children to make judgments and explore their emotions in a safe space. Everyone can benefit from art, whether in creating it or viewing it.

Studies show that viewing a piece of art that is pleasing to you can reduce stress levels. As we all know, reducing stress is crucial to our long-term success as individuals. With that, I invite you to view artwork - whether it is a kitten, an abstract, or a sailboat taking you to a far off place - let your imagination build your path for a few moments. You will be better able to concentrate on your work afterwards.

It is my hope to continue to build a positive, stimulating community with quality educational opportunities in the arts which will help create more integrated, whole children - children who will grow up to be whole adults, ultimately benefiting our community.

I cannot imagine a life with no art and our society seems to be trying to undermine its importance. We all need to work together to say, 'Yes, this is important to us.'

We all want to continue to create, because this is how we will have more scientists, more doctors, more mathematicians, more teachers, more philosophers, and more artists who inspire us all to be greater human beings than we were before.

Not only that, we need these special people to help solve our collective problems. It is vital to our growth as a community, and a nation and a world.

(To contact the Beaverton Arts Commission go to www.beavertonoregon.gov/departments/arts or call 503-526-2288.)