Artful Living

Examining the Relationship between Artistic Practice and Subjective Wellbeing Across Three National Surveys

Steven J. Tepper

33 pages, Feburary 2014. The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy, 1801 Edgehill Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212, (615) 322.2872,


   Artful Living (756 Kb)

People with more art in their lives are more happy and satisfied. In a study funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and released by the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy, Steven Tepper and a team of researchers at Vanderbilt University found that people with strong artistic practices report higher levels of life satisfaction, a more positive self-image, less anxiety about change, and a more tolerant approach toward social diversity. The report analyzes three national surveys:

  • The DDB Needham Life Style Survey (DDB): the nation’s largest and longest-running
    annual survey of consumer attitudes
  • The Double Major Student Survey, supported by the Teagle Foundation, assesses the link
    between creativity, interdisciplinarity, and the liberal arts by focusing on undergraduates who
    have two majors
  • The Strategic National Arts Alumni project, or SNAAP, is an online survey targeted at
    graduates of arts institutions, which asks questions about their experiences both during and after
    their arts schooling

The findings of Artful Living are robust and exist across a range of artistic practices (e.g., music, theatre, crafts, creative writing). The study’s results provide a strong rationale for supporting creative practice as a component of public wellbeing.