What Is Art?

Ask 100 people and you will get 100 different answers.  In today’s world of STEM taking center-stage with importance and financial funding in schools, Art has been booted out, or greatly reduced from most primary and secondary school systems. Why? Because it has been deemed “not necessary”, non-essential, vague, and unable to be quantified. While some attempts have been made to add in Art as STEAM, most decision-makers still regard STEM as the Holy Grail.

That’s the short of it.  The long of it is that STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math can all be tested and “verified”, while ART is subjective and dependent on varying viewpoints. There is no “one way” to draw or paint or play an instrument or sing or dance, or “verify” that a piece of art is “correct”, and it certainly isn’t the same.  As the saying goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, and that pretty much sums up thoughts toward Art!

But wait! Why is it that thousands of corporations and companies are now hiring artists to come in and teach their employees “creativity”?  Why have these STEM whizzes failed at being able to “think-out-of-the-box”? Simple. Art was removed from the basic school curriculums 20 years ago and this is what happened—the right, global, conceptual, holistic part of their brains were not properly or fully developed in the absence of dance, drama, art, and music.

STEM indeed is vital for our forward progression…and so is ART! Do you know one person whose living or work areas are completely devoid of art, not one single morsel of it? Wouldn’t a world completely without art be bleak, boring, and depressing? No color, no creative architecture, no interesting designs, just black, white, and grays. No frills, everything plain. I imagine that you are struggling with this visualization, as most people take the influence of Art for granted.  It is deeply embedded into our lives as it is into our psyche.  It is the carrier frequency for the sciences, technology, engineering, and math, cloaked in the guise of circles and lines of DNA molecules, squares, triangles, and circles of architectural drawings, and in the innovation of new technology speeding into outer space. Art is all around us, on us, and within us. It reminds me of the saying, “Behind a successful man is an influential woman”.  Art is our mistress, our muse, our unsung hero that makes everything fit together like the blocks of the Great Pyramid. Imagine the advances in STEM that could be made with a concerted effort to invest in STEAM?

Have you noticed that I have not focused on what Art “is”?  Instead we have discussed what Art is NOT.  Respected, championed, esteemed, equal to the STEM components.  Literally, STEM is “stuck in the mud”, isn’t it, while STEAM is full-on ahead!  Albert Einstein once said, “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”  Amen.