I was talking to a friend about a town in a mountain zone we had visited separately. We shared our impressions and mine was that the place was gray. Not that the sky was gray, but that the buildings were painted gray. The trim around the windows were gray. The sidewalks were gray. I saw quite a few gray cars and trucks. The place was bleak and sad. This is what a place looks like when there is no art.
This town wouldn’t be so gray if it had some Victorian buildings rich with architectural design. This town wouldn’t have been so bleak if it had some Art Deco buildings. This town had flat rectangle buildings and was devoid of energy.
This week I saw a TV commercial for the Florida Keys. Of course it had nice colorful beach scenes but there was an emphasis on color in the town. There was art adorning gardens and buildings. It showed impressive statues bursting out of gardens. Colorfully painted bikes attached to fences as decorations. Building walls filled with murals. There were people playing colorfully, painted musical instruments. Everyone was wearing colorful clothing. The narrator of the commercial said “Have you ever seen an island made of art?” I have never seen an island made of art. After the gray town I'd visited, color and art would be my preference.
I looked into whether there was a study on the psychology of color. Prevalent were articles on how color is used in marketing. An article by Gregory Ciotti states,“Colors impact consumers’ impressions on a brand and whether it persuades consumers to consider specific brands or make a purchase.” He continues, “researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone.” This makes sense. I probably wouldn’t buy a bag of cookies in a gray colored bag.
Whether it be an island with bountiful art in the Florida keys, or the colorful boutique and bookstore in Hanford called My Eyes y Corazon, color wakes up the senses and is clinically good for you. For most people, art and color is vital for livability. I know I need it.
Silvia Gonzalez Scherer is the Executive Artistic Director and co-founder of the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company. She is also a playwright and an actress.
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