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Sunday, August 22, 2010

What does art mean?

This is usually the very first assignment in my classes.  I ask students to write down a gut reaction answer to the question.  I want them to tell me the first thing that comes to their minds.  Answers range from "things that are pretty" to "expressing ones self" to "everything is art."  It is the starting point.  Throughout the semester I sincerely hope the answer becomes more and more complex.  It should be a continually evolving idea throughout life.  What is art?

The thought that I had the other day was that there is an academic side and a creative side to art.  The academic side always asks, "Why is it this way?"  The creative side always asks, "How can it be changed?"  The definition of art, perhaps, is a balance of those two things.

In the first couple of weeks of class we will discuss much about art, craft, and design.  How are these categories similar and different?  Should there be categories at all?