Why Art?

So, this blog will be slightly different than any blog post up to this point, just a forewarning.

Last Thursday I gave a lecture at a luncheon. It was a normal lecture about the foundation/museum that I work for and our educational programs. Nothing too out of the ordinary... Well I had one guy tell me that he was impressed I was not an "uppity bitch", which is definitely not standard of a question and answer session, but I'll take as a compliment. Apparently there is a stereotype of museum people being snobby. Who would have thunk? I was posed an interesting question after the room had dispersed. That question has been "sitting strangely" with me ever since. 

The gentleman, about my grandparents age, applauded my passion for the work I do (which I totally appreciate) but then asked me why I chose art? Of everything important to teach students about, why art? 

I was left dumbfounded. Simply dumbfounded. I don't know exactly how to explain why I believe in art and it's power in teaching. It's kind of like a religion to me, that may be a bad analogy, but it's the best I've got. I believe in the stories that art holds. The history, the human element, the true and natural emotion art evokes. All of it can be used in powerful ways to teach students about the world around them and most importantly, themselves. 

You can technically justify the use of art by matching them with standards required by the individual states or the national government. Things like the geometry of perspective, the chemical makeup of paints by the old masters, the creative writing portion of being inspired, and the patterns in paintings and mosaics. I mean all this can be justified, but teaching using any type of art is much bigger than meeting a standard. 

Art is the culmination of everything we are and the legacy we want to leave. If it wasn't important,  no one would bother painting or sculpting it. It is meant to carry a message and, most importantly, we are meant to recognize that message. 

So I guess my answer to "Why art?"

Because art carries everything forward

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