Creating Exhilarating Arts Experiences: Arguing for a Holistic Approach to Engagement


Author/Creator ORCID



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MA in Arts Administration

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By discovering the physiological, psychological, and experiential factors of inspirational moments, performing arts organizations can recreate the conditions, leading to more informed decisions and the ability to articulate a blueprint for creating meaningful arts experiences. To create and recreate meaningful arts experiences, one must first understand and articulate the internal and external elements that coincide to create an aha-moment. By doing this, arts organizations can create an environment that encourages a journey from being inspired by a performance to being inspired to action. The presentation of foundational scientific knowledge of inspirational moments, while necessary, is used to focus the argument on implications and applications for arts organizations. Arts experiences engage the whole person by creating a sense of purpose, belonging, and connection, both to ideas and to others. Arts experiences can: provide moments that expand a person’s worldview, build empathy and enhance our humanity, foster vulnerability and safety, and create opportunities for connection and a sense of belonging. To encourage the journey from inspired by to inspired to, an arts experience must engage all aspects of a person—mind, body, and soul. This can be achieved by implementing a holistic approach to engagement, defined as an organizational ethos, policy and practice that creates connection and expands the artistic experience. For arts organizations, it represents long-term strategic thinking with a myriad of practical benefits. If more inspirational moments lead to increased, meaningful engagement, then it stands to reason that it will also raise awareness for why the arts matter, building public will and galvanizing political and financial support.