The Therapeutic Benefits of Engaging with Contemporary Art

Finding moments of calm and self-reflection can be difficult in today’s fast-paced world. While traditional forms of therapy and relaxation techniques are valuable, contemporary art offers a unique avenue for promoting healing, stress reduction, and self-expression. Let’s explore the therapeutic benefits of engaging with contemporary art, drawing on research from medical and university studies to shed light on the transformative power of artistic expression.

SERENE SYMPHONY by Jacob Souferzadeh on display in an office
SERENE SYMPHONY by Jacob Souferzadeh, Oil on canvas, 51″ x 76″

Art and the Mind

For centuries, people have looked to art for beauty and inspiration, usually without too much thought about how art impacts their emotional wellbeing. Artists have long processed their thoughts and emotions through their works, but simply viewing art can likewise produce powerful effects in the the psyche of the viewer. Through the act of experiencing and interpreting art, individuals can explore and process complex emotions, gain insight into their thoughts and feelings, and develop coping strategies for managing stress and adversity.

Engaging with contemporary art can also foster mindfulness, the practice of being fully present and attentive to the present moment without judgment. Mindfulness-based approaches to art appreciation encourage viewers to observe artwork with a curious and open-minded attitude, allowing them to experience each moment with heightened awareness and appreciation. By immersing themselves in the aesthetic qualities of art, individuals can cultivate a sense of calm, focus, and inner peace.

Promoting Stress Reduction and Relaxation

Studies have shown that viewing art can have physiological effects on the body, including reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation. Research conducted at the University of Westminster found that participants who visited an art gallery experienced a significant decrease in cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress, after just 35 minutes.1 By providing a sensory-rich environment and opportunities for contemplation, contemporary art galleries offer a sanctuary for individuals seeking respite from the demands of daily life.

For many individuals, engaging with contemporary art serves as a form of self-expression and emotional release. Simply looking at art, consciously or unconsciously, can help individuals to communicate thoughts, feelings, and experiences that may be difficult to articulate verbally. By externalizing inner turmoil and exploring creative outlets, individuals can gain a sense of empowerment, catharsis, and self-discovery.

TUTU TALES by Haleh Mashian, Acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 36″

Embracing Art for Wellness

The therapeutic benefits of engaging with contemporary art are supported by a growing body of research from medical and university studies. A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health found that art-based interventions, including viewing and creating art, were associated with improvements in mental health outcomes, such as reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.2 These findings underscore the potential of art as a complementary therapeutic tool for promoting psychological well-being.

As contemporary art galleries, such as Mash Gallery, continue to emerge as spaces for reflection, inspiration, and self-care, it’s clear that art plays a vital role in promoting mental health and wellness. Whether through art therapy, mindfulness practices, or simply appreciating the beauty of creative expression, individuals can harness the transformative power of art to nurture their minds, bodies, and spirits. At Mash Gallery, we invite you to explore our exhibitions, engage with our artists, and discover the therapeutic benefits of contemporary art for yourself.


  1. University of Westminster. (2011). Art reduces stress levels.
  2. Bucciarelli, M., et al. (2018). Art-based interventions and stress reduction in healthcare workers: A meta-analysis of their effectiveness. American Journal of Public Health, 108(9), e1-e8.


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