Artistic expression is about more than paints and pastels. It invigorates us, challenges us, and inspires our curiosity – and, researchers say, it plays a big role in a healthy lifestyle.

“Anything that engages your creative mind – the ability to make connections between unrelated things and imagine new ways to communicate – is good for you,” explains leading art therapy research Girija Kaimal in an interview with NPR.

That’s a view borne out by scientific evidence: Whether you’re painting, throwing pottery, or piecing together a scrapbook, exercising your creative muscles can reinforce neural connections associated with skills like planning, perception, focus and imagination. Over time, that may create a greater “cognitive reserve” to keep your mind sharp in the years to come.

Here at The Mayflower, our resident artists have experienced the benefits of art firsthand. And whether you’re just getting started (or just a bit out of practice), they have some tips to help you along the way:

  • Don’t hesitate to try new things. For lifelong artist Steph Nagelson, seeing beginners build their skill and confidence at The Mayflower’s painting classes is always a special delight. While many aspiring artists are initially nervous, she says, taking that first step is the most important part.

“Plenty of folks come to our classes having never picked up a brush in their lives. Then they get started and realize, ‘Oh! I had this ability all along,’” she says. “So, to anyone who thinks they’d like to make art – give it a try.”

  • Experiment to find your own style. As a former art teacher, Rae Delfosse knows all about helping others lean into their creative side. For those struggling to find their artistic niche, she suggests starting with what you know.

    “Painting is just like cooking,” she says. “You don’t have to start out by inventing your own recipes. Just take something you know and add a little spin on it – and then build from there.”

  • Stick with it – and keep trying. Like any hobby, painting can be immensely rewarding – but it also takes a lot of time and effort, Rae says: “Art is hard work, but you have to keep trying to perfect your skills. Once you gain confidence, you can be a creator of whatever you want – writing, music, art … anything.”

It’s no surprise The Mayflower is home to so much artistic talent, because we’ve always taken a “big picture” approach to creative well-being. Here, you can pursue your passions and discover new ones …  expand your horizons through hands-on classes, seminars, clubs, and more … and follow inspiration wherever it leads.

Whether they’re working at the easel or advocating for the arts in Central Florida, our resident creatives are proud to call The Mayflower home. You can read their stories in the inaugural arts issue of our Navigator magazine!

See for yourself what sets our community apart. Send us a message or give us a call at 407.672.1620 to schedule your personal appointment and tour. We look forward to hearing from you!