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Thread: Why is art especially important nowadays? Opinions please.

  1. #1
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    Post Why is art especially important nowadays? Opinions please.

    Give me some compelling reasons why art (not just AR) is especially important in today's world. In the USA, the fine arts are just about dead in our educational system. If there are no art literate or creative people in the educational loop . . . what's going to happen to humanity?
    Last edited by Victor Osaka; 06-24-2016 at 07:06 PM.

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  2. #2
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    Well, for one thing, we all need something to do on our devices while commuting to the factory once the robot uprising occurs and they banish news media and the written word.
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  3. #3
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    We'll just have to choose who we give stem cell technology to.

    I think anyone looking at the world today through the internet and marketplace can see there's no shortages of Art and Humanities types a result of not having it in the schools. As much as I hate to sound negative about streamlining education to the "essentials", the fact around my part of the world, and I suspect most places, is that teachers are given lots of room to engage kids in art, drama, writing certainly, and music gets funded by parents to whatever degree they want their kids to have it. Hopefully the teachers have an interest in engaging students, and sweetening what they're teaching via various disciplines is a good thing.

    I personally don't think it's important to be able to draw like Peter Paul Rubens for example. For that they would need to be educated.

    But look at the world. It's filled to the gills with art and artists of all kinds. I think that's in part because people love to do it.

    I think as far as which secondary types of programs that got sacrificed, a bigger loss by far are the Shop classes where kids had learned how to build and maintain things in our world. There are the practical skills not being addressed in part because the critics have been scapegoating education as the source of all society's ills. And so budgets get shuffled to accommodate testing scores to show these voters that Education itself is not letting kids down. So the tail wags the dog. And Education keeps shifting programs to be a moving target that can't be so easily attacked.

    Art doesn't need to be taught for people to get what it's about. It isn't missing in the least for anyone with a simple pencil and a desire to express themselves. The world speaks Art fluently. It reflects each person who tries their hand at it, and what they hold as important for themselves, whether for their own personal expression or to connect with others. This is still the information age and on that level it's a golden age that anyone can participate in just by looking around or going to the movies. IMHO of course.

    It's a fair question though. So what do you think having taken up the art instructor gauntlet? What is your observation on it?
    Last edited by D Akey; 06-25-2016 at 01:48 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the reply. One of the reasons I did not give my direct opinion was that I am indeed an educator and former professor. So, I am biased - just a bit. Your thoughts on the subject are interesting to me.

    It's true, one CAN find a lot of art on the web. Does one have to know how to create art to appreciate art? Is appreciation enough? Must one be intellectual about art? About the creative process? Or have a practical knowledge of the creative process?

    Is the ability to express one's creativity (in a deep way) essential to the human experience? I think so. I can't quite remember what it is like to not know how to create art. The mechanics of putting to form a concept.

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  5. #5
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    "Is the ability to express one's creativity (in a deep way) essential to the human experience? I think so."

    I think I have to disagree here, Victor. The world is full of people who do not express creativity on any level. At least any artistic level. Not only do they not express it, they don't even think about expressing it. And some who think such expression is a waste of time and energy. Does that mean they live a less human existence? Maybe. But who decides that?

  6. #6
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    Fair enough jmac, and I can see that. But perhaps one of the sterling qualities of Art is that it is one of the vehicles that can take us to places that the mundane tends not to.

    The way I see it is that intention has a whole lot to do with it. And as you suggest there are those who do not work with Art that way. . . nor do they want to, and maybe because they personally don't see it, they find it something to eliminate as a waste of school resources.

    In keeping with the topic for a moment about schooling and Art, the way I have looked at Life is that it's like a classroom for all of us, like one of those one room schoolhouse from Little House on the Prairie or something. We're all in the same room, but we're learning and experiencing completely different things based on our ability levels or what is important to them at their point in development, and what the teacher believes to be important. A first grader would be learning those young things while a fifth grader would be learning things they can grasp. For each person it's a custom curriculum.

    Art like language is a vehicle. Where people go with it and what they use it for is based on them whether driving into the mountains or lugging groceries or even getting from one bar to the next.

    There are some programs in Los Angeles that take kids from the inner city to the beach -- something they've never experienced. What is the effects? Any and all. Is it life changing? Could be. Maybe not.

    So I don't disagree with either points on the topic of going deeper with Art (or anything that gets the ball rolling). If one has never had a way to go deeper and Art gives that to them, by all means it instantly has value in that area. And for those on that ride, those impelled in that way, it's sort of hard to not see it being used for that. And for teachers who have gotten there personally, not offering that possibility to get there through Art means that while in the role of Teacher, they're failing their calling to educate.

    Unfortunately, if the school board is focused elsewhere, it's not going to include it in favor of something that is perhaps a more universal sell. Because you're right.
    Last edited by D Akey; 06-25-2016 at 07:13 PM.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

  7. #7
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    Art is important for me because it takes me away from my real world which at times can be very tiring. I can escape into another place where only my creativity exists and I am at peace.

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    Personally, I believe the process of creating art helps center me, at times. When there's a lot going on around me, taking some time to just sit down and let out the stress with whatever happens on the canvas can be cathartic. It's also a means of focus. Learning to calm oneself when one can't get just the right outcome, is a life lesson I think that many people are lacking in today's world. Many fail to see the benefit of compromise, which art can instill with its "Happy little accidents", as Boss Ross would say.

    I always hate it when I hear someone say "I can't draw", as some sort excuse to not try it. In my opinion, if you're "trying" to draw, you're doing art all wrong. It's should start as an expression, first. Technique comes later.
    Nothing is easy to the unwilling.

  9. #9
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    I agree D Akey. I didn't mean my comment to suggest art wasn't important in life or, particularly in education. It's difficult in the constraints of internet posts to comment on such a huge topic without writing a novella. Victor's comment just struck me as a "one size fits all" kind of thing which he probably did not mean. I just think sometimes academic discussions can overlook the very pragmatic and often restricted lives lived by much of the worlds population. Personally I believe art does enhance the human experience and the fact that it exists, even in those restricted populations, in all it's forms, and with the proliferation you point out, is evidence of it's importance to the human experience as a whole and especially so for some of us individually, as Someonesane expresses.

    The relatively new explosion of music as entertainment and expression due in large part to ever advancing technology may help to keep that a topic of educational budget discussions. And maybe the improving possibilities for digital painting will do the same for that form of expression. I hope so. I believe it was Albert Einstein who said "Imagination is more important than intelligence." Imagination is the life force of artistic expression. Humanity without imagination probably would have gone the way of the dinosaur a long time ago. But the advancements born of imagination and the enhancement of the human experience thru imaginative expression in art, will always be provided by the few, for the many, as not everyone is built that way.

    Someonesane, I feel as you do when I hear "I can't draw". But I don't think it is an excuse not to try, though there may be a lack of interest in learning. I think most people who say that think drawing specifically and art generally, is like magic. Requiring skills and spells and potions they do not possess. The truth is, if you can sign your name legibly, you have the requisite skill necessary to draw. I helped teach a class for police artists , a term I dislike, and a handful in the class said they "could not draw a stick figure." By the end of the week long class they could all go back to their agencies and function in that role. They were not Rubens, or Da Vinci or Michaelangelo. Drawing is a technical skill. It is teachable and learnable by almost everyone. Technical skills come from the head. Drawing a composite sketch from a witness description is not art. It is the application of a technical skill. Using that skill in combination with imagination and personal expression to produce art is a whole different thing. Art comes from the heart. Teachable and learnable to a degree. Not magic. But, in the hands of some, definitely magical.

    Like D Akey points out, you can never underestimate what may be sparked in a child by the exposure to art or ideas or a new, seemingly simple experience. I may have inappropriately restricted Victors comment because over all I agree with him and though artistic expression may not be a part of every human, it is certainly part of humanity and in that sense, essential in the development the kind of world we could be proud of.
    Last edited by jmac; 06-26-2016 at 03:28 AM.

  10. #10
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    Also, less philosophically, there's increasing scientific evidence that creating art helps the human brain in measurable ways (e.g. improving cognitive function into old age).
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