“We look out to learn our culture; We look in to learn our humanity. Art  activates both experiences instantly and simultaneously providing extraordinary power for resilience and survival.”–Phillip Romero

The Art Imperative Quest began with writing the book, The Art Imperative: The Secret Power of Art, (1982-2010) by Phillip Romero, MD. Art is reframed as critical to human survival and essential for cultural resilience to advserstiy. To explore these hypotheses Dr. Romero’s documentary, Art = Survival, films conversations with artists, scientists, curators, collectors, and others with a passion for art to offer a diverse understanding of the imperative role that art plays in our individual lives and our collective survival. 


Art: A Great Leap Forward. Human beings began painting cave walls over 35,000 years ago. Cro-Magnon produced the exquisite cave paintings of Chauvet and Lascaux. By 25,000BCE, after thousands of years of competing for survival, Ice Age man’s chief rival, Neanderthal,went extinct perhaps because Cro-Magnon’s new found ability for abstraction empowered him with greater survival skill.


Art at the Tipping Point: 
Today our creative resilience faces adversities far graver than the Ice Age. Global warming and toxic waste threaten the biosphere; species extinction is increasing; world economic systems are undergoing transformations that threaten everyone; global terrorism and personal violence are escalating; individual chronic stress is intoxicating young minds. Never before has the family of humankind had a greater need for the power of art to generate calming connections across world systems.


The smART PEACE PRIZE: Art Against Human Destructivenss. Art and Artists are agents of cultural resilience. The  smART Peace Prize  contest is a global social-media movement aimed to kindle our capacity to calm-connect-create in the face of grave stressors. Dr. Phillip Romero created The smART Peace Prize contest as a ‘global family-therapy intervention’ to focus the power of art through social media and empower global human awareness against the destructive behaviors that threaten our species and our planet. Art helps us regulate our freeze-fight-flee stress reaction that contributes to patterns of self-sabotageArt works against human destructiveness. The smART Peace Prize contest empowers amateur and professional artists to create images for meaningful connections, mindful reflection, and compassion across all cultures and ages–Global Spring. The smART Peace Prize is a ‘translational social neuroscience’ experiment that activates  our collective resilience to the man-made adversities that threaten the sustainability of the emerging global culture and the biosphere. ART = SURVIVAL



Banner Artists: African Masks, Joseph Beuys, Chauvet Cave Paintings of Horses and Bull, Marcel Duchamp, Egyptian Arab-Spring Graffiti Artists, Ancient Egyptian Tomb Painting of Anubis, Audrey Flack, Paul Fryer, Giotto, Kamakura Daibutsu Statue, Mayan Pottery Painting, Michelangelo, Claude Monet, Piet Mondrian, Jose Clemente Orozco, Photographs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atom Bomb, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Matthew Ritchie, Hiroshi Senju, Andy Warhol, Venus of Willendorf, fMRI of the Brain, .

Website design: Phillip Romero