We’re not telling you what to do... but put down your phone and pick up a paintbrush! Art classes, such as life drawing, watercolour and ceramics, can have a range of positive benefits for adults, from boosting creativity and developing greater problem solving and fine motor skills, to broader health benefits. That makes an art class a good – no, a brilliant – idea.

Reason 1: To Meet New People

One of the key benefits of art classes for adults is getting to meet like-minded people

After the lockdowns and isolation of 2020, getting out of the house to meet new people is just the tonic we need. Sure, you can make friends at the pub, or join a sports team, but the ideal location to find your tribe is an art or craft class where like-minded creative people of all ages mix and mingle. “You never know who you will be seated next to, what their creative journey has involved and how much you could potentially learn from them,” says art teacher, graphic designer and all-round craft enthusiast Lee Seaman. “I have tried so many workshops where I’ve walked away with a new skill and a new friendship.” Your local community college might be a good place to start, or Google ‘paint and sip’ in your city or town to access the many businesses who offer art lessons with bonus wine and nibbles. Be friendly and open to connecting with your classmates on social media to make those fledgling friendships really stick.

Reason 2: To Improve Brain Function

Learning a new skill is one of the key benefits of art classes, as it keeps your mind active

Playing games, reading books, doing puzzles, learning languages and taking up new hobbies are thought to help the brain build new cells and strengthen the connections between them. With the government’s HealthDirect website reporting that 1 in 15 people aged 65 and over in Australia are affected by dementia, there’s comfort in knowing there are things you can do to keep your brain active and healthy and reduce your risk of developing the illness. Crafting can be especially stimulating – it requires you to process instructions, access creative thinking, manage hand-eye coordination and solve problems all on the fly. Hoping to boost your brain’s plasticity? Try taking a more challenging craft class, such as knitting, quilting or jewellery making.

Reason 3: For Physical Therapy

Making collages is recommended by art therapists because it’s soothing, allows for self-expression and is approachable, with even beginners able to master it. There’s focus and concentration required, as you flip through old books and magazines to find words and images for collaging, and this means you haven’t got the time or space to think about other stresses. Plus, the repetition of cutting and pasting can produce a relaxed meditative-like state as your brain switches off and your hands take over. For an extra boost to your mental health, try making a gratitude collage, featuring all the things in your life that you’re grateful for, such as friends, family, pets, good health, a beautiful home, a job you love and so on.

SEE ALSO: Feeling stressed? Try These Calming Art Therapy Ideas

Reason 4: To Relieve Stress and Have Fun

Art classes can benefit you by helping you unwind and destress

Need to relax and unwind after a stressful work week? A study from Drexel University in the US found making art can significantly reduce the amount of stress-related hormones, such as cortisol, in your body. For years, people have turned to creative pursuits to improve their mental health and deal with stress and trauma – in fact, this is the very reason why art therapy was invented. “Focusing solely on the craft project at hand can really clear your mind,” says Seaman. “It can change your outlook and can sometimes even help find the solution for the problem at hand.” Not to mention, making art and doing craft is fun and will almost certainly boost your mood.

Reason 5: To Develop Your Creativity

Learning new skills is always a good idea. In an art class, you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone and forcing your brain to think creatively, both of which will set you in good stead for any challenging future work projects you encounter. Think of arts and crafts as adding to your résumé and building up those all-important problem solving skills. “In all jobs you can get creative blocks. What I like to do to combat that is to work on multiple craft projects at once,” says Seaman. “That way, when I am stumped, I move on to the next project and come back when my brain has figured out a solution. Creating allows your brain to switch off from daily life and focus on the fun project in front of you. You can start exploring the materials and enjoy the process of making art.”

What To Try