A visit to an art museum broadens your cultural horizons

When was the last time you made an outing to your local art museums? Unfortunately, in these cyber days, we tend to forget the cultural activities that bring us a little closer to humanity. The net, television, movies and video games have supplanted the cultural attractions right outside our doors.

Although many of us realize that technology has overtaken our lives, perhaps we’re just too busy to take notice. We have our iPods, blackberries and cell phones to fill in every available moment. Family members are occupied with school, work and – technology – to the point of arriving home exhausted, only to continue our mad dash in an anonymous or distant communication vehicle, collapsing on the couch for a hasty dinner and our favorite reality TV show.

If art does indeed imitate life, then we are guilty of ignoring those reflections of ourselves and humanity at large. It looks like a visit to one of our local art museums might be an enriching and different experience.

Set aside a day on the weekend. Check out your newspaper’s entertainment section and see what’s currently being exhibited at the art museums in your home town. Think of what you might be missing! Perhaps there’s an exhibit of Rousseau’s work on loan this month. This 19th century painter’s work is truly awesome when viewed up close. You can lose yourself for hours just examining the brush strokes and colors. You may be surprised to find yourself drawn into the moment depicted in his paintings.

If your kids have never been inside an art museum, please insist on giving them such an opportunity. Any kid who likes to draw or paint may well be enthralled to see masterpieces in the flesh. The original paintings have a life and human element that can never be appreciated in a reproduction or book. Who knows that your child may be so excited by this outing, they may be inspired to take a class and follow a hidden dream? Art museums and exhibits can inspire the heart.

To make the most of a visit to any art museum, look for docent guided tours. You’ll learn incredible details and points of history relative to the art you’re viewing. If docent tours are not available, you can rent audio tours.

It’s high time we all got back in touch with the cultural diversity, emotions and love apparent in art. Your heart and mind will be refreshed and regain a perspective on the real world before us.