Ironically, loneliness has long been seen as a personal problem (“Goodbye, loneliness; hello, happiness,” Opinion, May 8).
But it is a public health issue, and art and creative expression should be a part of the cure. We have long known that one of the unintended benefits enjoyed by communities that invest in public art and creativity is that they become more connected. Friday night “gallery walks,” drawing classes at the senior center, and high school orchestra performances for the public bring people together, providing serendipitous opportunities for meeting old friends and making new ones. Dance and drama groups for disaffected youth, art therapy for those in recovery from addiction, and opportunities to just get out of the house and see a show can help those who are lonely feel much less so.
As efforts are made to marshal a community response to the epidemic of loneliness, we should keep the health benefits of art and creativity in mind.