Most of us accept art as a form of personal expression without really understanding the influence personal expression has on our wellbeing. Yes, we understand that “drawing is important to intellectual and emotional maturity,” (Bob Steele 1997), but the skills linked to personal expression are paramount to our success.

Society is beginning to realize the importance of emotional maturity, but (unfortunately) it takes time for current research findings to infiltrate the general public and make its way into our education system. It’s still “all too easy to overlook or downgrade an activity associated with emotions and feelings when the main thrust of education is said to be intellectual” (Bob Steele 1997). “When it comes to success, it’s easy to think that people blessed with brains are inevitably going to leave the rest of us in the dust” Dr. Travis Bradberry (Coauthor Emotional Intelligence 2.0 & President at TalentSmart).

In 1997, Bob Steele wrote, “In a social climate where emotional pressures are increasing for young people, we should not fail to recognize the significance of drawing to emotional health,“ and since then, research is proving that emotional health and EQ (emotional intelligence) is a greater predictor of success than IQ (intelligence quotient). “Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. It’s a powerful way to focus your energy in one direction with a tremendous result” Dr. Travis Bradberry (Sept 2015). Advocacy in the arts is slowly paving the way for new and improved art programs in the community and the education system. Art advocates everywhere are claiming that art education, not only improves students ability to perform in “academic” subjects, but that using art as a form of personal expression is responsible for creating a “well-rounded” individual.

The arts nurture creativity, communication skills, self-expression, and confidence. Art enables us to cope with the unexpected. “Learning in the arts requires an ability to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds. In the arts, one looks for surprises that redefine goals. The aim is not impressing into a material what you already know rather discovering what you don’t” (Eisner 2003). “People with an empowered, growth-oriented mindset embrace adversity as a means for improvement, as opposed to something that holds them back. When an unexpected situation challenges an empowered person, they flex until they get results” Dr. Travis Bradberry (Oct 2015).

Art education contributes to many skills, but “the arts ought to be prized for what they uniquely contribute to human experience” Eisner, Elliot W. (2003). Using art as a tool for personal expression helps develop emotional intelligence and is the road to personal success.



Eisner, Elliot W. (2003)

Bob Steele (1997) Draw me a Story: An illustrated exploration of drawing-as-language. Peguis Publishers, Manitoba, Canada

Bradberry, Dr. Travis (Oct 4, 2015) Emotional Intelligence Can Boost Your Career And Save Your Life

Bradberry, Dr. Travis (Sep 13, 2015) Why Attitude Is More Important Than IQ