Art is being defined in the dictionary as an application or expression of human creativity and imagination. It usually pertains to an expression that is conveyed in visual form. Some examples include sculptures, paintings, drawings, sketches, literature, dance, and music that are primarily appreciated for their beauty and the emotions they convey.

Art is an important aspect of daily life. It has a variety of functions, making it difficult to measure as a single concept.  Below are some of the commonly known functions or purposes of art.

Propaganda and Commercialism

Art is widely used in disseminating information or as propaganda that has the purpose of influencing the public’s opinion. The information can be a set of facts, lies, rumors, half-truths, or arguments. Art is also widely used in commerce to manipulate people’s decisions to buy certain products or services.

For instance, a company selling magnetic car signs can use artistic designs to attract customers and convince them to buy.  The magnetic paraphernalia can contain the company’s logo, slogan, range of services, business address, and any other information to guide or convince customers to make a purchase.

Entertainment

Art has the ability to affect the mood and the emotions of people. It can entertain and relax the viewers, such as when it is used in motion pictures, movies, paintings, sculptures, and video games. Art is enjoyable and is meant to be appreciated by people of all ages and all walks of life.

Communication

Art is a form of communication. Since ancient times, people have used art in the form of images to communicate with one another or to convey their experiences. This is evident in Egyptian hieroglyphics or the early cave art. In modern times, art is being used by many to promote their political beliefs, support causes, challenge assumptions, and explore deep personal questions. Throughout history, it has also been used to reinforce religious doctrines or link political power to religious beliefs.

Therapeutic Healing

Art is a stimulating and exhilarating activity. Its relaxing attributes have helped several people win in their fight against anxiety, depression, post-traumatic disorder, and certain types of phobias. Its ability to allow people to express their deep emotions without the need for words has helped many individuals process their complex feelings and find relief for their most sorrowful moments. The mental health benefits of art as a therapeutic healing process are vast. Hence, it has been used by many licensed therapists to help patients heal from depression and other mental health problems.

Social Causes

Today’s society uses art to raise awareness for a variety of causes. It has been used by groups and even the government to raise awareness about AIDS, human trafficking, cancer, autism, earth conservation, human rights, and many other issues that plague humanity and the world.

Symbolic and Ritualistic Functions

Many cultures around the world use art as a status symbol or as a bodily decoration. It is also used as part of many rituals. This practice can be traced back to ancient times when people marked themselves with tattoos to signify their status in society. Tattoos back then were also used to signify a person’s religious beliefs. In some cultures, tattoos were also used as amulets or as declarations of love. Many also marked their bodies with tattoos to signify the form of punishment they received or to merely adorn their bodies.

Political Change

Twentieth-century art has been used to bring about political change in society. This is perhaps the most defining function of art in the 1900s. Many art movements, including Surrealism, Dadaism, and Futurism, had political change as their primary goal during this period. Known collectively as avant-garde art, this type of art aims to expose the corrupt practices of the elite and the ruling classes. Avant-garde art continues to exist even in this modern day.

Expression

Art provides people a way to express their imaginations and whatever they envision for themselves or others. It provides them a way to articulate their thoughts or the things they have imagined without words. With art, individuals can convey what goes into their minds by creating visual imagery of fictional places, fictitious characters, mythical animals, religious concepts, and many other imaginary things created through their minds.

Apart from all these, art can still be categorized into many other functions. Each function might even overlap with the other. For instance, art used as entertainment can also be used for commercial purposes and many other reasons.

Art has a long-standing relationship with businesses. When used in business, it can significantly enhance the image of a company or organization. It can even create a stimulating environment for all company staff and employees.

Meta title: The Many Uses of Art in Society
meta desc: We have always known art as a form of entertainment. But do you know that it serves many other functions? This article discusses the different purposes of art in society.

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