THE MEANING OF ART
The function of the arts is always questioned, which is a sad truth that most artists must face at some point in their creative lives. Some people dispute whether the arts are necessary or justified, especially if they subsidize arts education. Others believe that the arts have never been more important to our society and that they should be fully integrated into our lives, communities, and educational institutions in general.
Art serves primarily as a gauge of cultural sophistication. We have learned of artistic achievements through the cultural artifacts left behind throughout human history. Many of these items have left indelible marks on the earth. Consider Stonehenge, the Parthenon in Greece, the Roman Colosseum, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Gothic cathedrals, St. Peter’s Basilica, Mesoamerican pyramids, the Taj Mahal, and even the Statue of Liberty. Each of these iconic structures is also a work of art that conveys important information about the time, place and environment in which it was built.
Art makes life more bearable, tolerable and beautiful and provides commentary on greater culture. More practical products and environments may not be considered “art,” but they contribute to the aesthetic experience. Consider the iPhone, Fort Worth Water Gardens, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Gucci’s Spring line, Versace furniture, Ducati motorcycles, Land Rover, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, Calvin Klein, Calatrava bridges, sunglasses, military uniforms, Star Wars, Rolling Stone magazine covers, and the Transformers. Now take away any part based on creativity, art or design and you’re left with a lot of stuff that requires human imagination and visual thinking.
Art encourages people to think beyond the necessities of survival and create for the sake of expression and meaning.
The Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum are world-renowned museums in Fort Worth. The city’s nickname, “Cowboys and Culture,” is apt – it connects Fort Worth’s rich Western past, which was shaped equally by cowboys, vast ranches, the Chisolm Trail and important art institutions. Our city’s cultural arts propel it onto the international stage.
Art can convey information, impact our daily lives, make a social statement, and be appreciated for its aesthetic value. Tarrant County College contributes to Fort Worth’s rich culture. Students from all majors can participate in and be inspired by a variety of arts events at each campus. Options include theater events, music concerts, dance performances, and visual arts gallery exhibits. The Trinity River campus even has a huge collection of technocentric art. These free tools expand the classroom that the entire community can use and appreciate.
Several Design I students engaged in an informal discussion with Scott Robinson, dean of humanities at the Trinity River Campus, about the relevance of art and why it is so important in an academic atmosphere. The group concluded that the arts need to make things meaningful after much debate and some argument. The sciences provide the facts and knowledge that order our world and are at the forefront of human success and invention. For example, science can tell us about the life cycles of living things. It explains why organisms age and offers the potential to extend life through medicine and provide insight into how death and decay work.
Art, however, can give meaning to the concept of death. Egyptians mummified people and buried them in exquisite tombs, but modern people bury loved ones in the ground (or in mausoleums) and adorn them with plaques, memorabilia, and flowers. El Dia de Los Muertos honors and remembers loved ones who have passed away through visitation, offerings, and the idea that their souls are still present. Coupled with scientific knowledge, these cultural practices allow us to experience life and death more fully.