The Importance of Art

In a world that can be surprisingly short on culture appreciation, art is an important medium for teaching us about diverse lifestyles and history. It also serves as a form of education for those who may not have access to formal schooling. Art inspires new ideas and encourages the creativity that allows humans to evolve beyond mere survival.

There is no one agreed-upon definition for what constitutes art, but many people consider anything that is designed to be beautiful or evoke emotion to be art. This definition can be a bit of a grey area, but it does offer an objective way to determine whether something is indeed art. Generally, if it is made intentionally, is designed to be aesthetically pleasing or evoke emotion and has been created using a wide range of artistic techniques, then it is probably considered to be art.

Art can also be a tool for social change. It can provoke thought and discussion on issues that might otherwise be difficult to broach in a political or religious setting. This is why it has often been a vehicle for subversive messages and can serve as a mirror to the changing values of society. This is why art has been a target of censorship and even violence throughout history – it can challenge established power structures.

The creation of art is a unique process. It requires a high level of creative thinking that enables it to create complex visuals with multiple layers of meaning. The ability to communicate these ideas in ways that transcend language and time is a gift of humanity that has enabled art to be influential in a number of different ways throughout history.

In addition to the emotional and intellectual stimulation that art provides, it is also a source of entertainment. Great music and movies are examples of this. The fact that art can stimulate so many different reactions, from joy and wonder to frustration or anger is why it is a part of our human experience.

Whenever you see art, try to take the time to learn about its context. This doesn’t necessarily mean reading books on the artist, although this can be useful. Rather, try to engage with the artwork itself – don’t look at it from a postcard or a photograph, but directly from its physical location. Make notes about what you notice and why you think this might be the case – for example, did you know that Elizabeth Sirani’s painting “Portia Wounding Her Thigh” signalled a shift from the perception of women as weak or prone to gossip? This type of engagement with an artwork can really help you appreciate it.