Pathway from Art to Human Flourishing: Exploring the Roles of Immersion and Interest in Engaging with Visual Art?
In recent years, the impact of arts and humanities on human well-being has been extensively studied. The present paper focuses on virtual gallery experiences, which have gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. It explores the relationship between viewing virtual artworks and well-being outcomes by examining such mechanisms as immersion in art viewing and interest in artworks. Participants were recruited from a USA representative sample on Prolific, resulting in a final sample of 767 participants. During a 5-week study, participants engaged in a virtual gallery session once a week. In the first week, they were asked about their level of interest in art, and in the following weeks, they reported measures related to their virtual gallery experiences. The findings reveal significant relationships between art immersion and well-being, as well as art interest and well-being. Interestingly, the interaction between art immersion and interest does not significantly influence their impact on well-being. Additionally, higher visit satisfaction is positively associated with well-being. Both art immersion and interest are positively associated with visit satisfaction, but their interaction may have a diminishing effect when both levels are high. Implications for existing knowledge and avenues for future research and practice are discussed.