The Value of an Art Education

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If you ask people to define art, most will have a very difficult time doing so. A common response from the general public, and even from some artists is, “I’ll know it when I see it.” However, being artists we do tend to be slightly more philosophical about the subject. Maybe, in an effort to figure out what it is we do and what we’re trying to achieve, we kinda need to have the goal defined. It’s a big question; here are a few artists that have attempted to answer it. I think their thoughts are worth noting.


David Gray: In it’s purest form I believe art is the sincere and artfully refined expression of an idea, thought, emotion, or narrative which attempts to effectively reach an audience.

Marc Hanson: Art is the expression humans use that incorporates a skill other than communicative speech, to show others what they feel about the world around them.  Music, Dance, Visual Art, Poetry, Prose… these are all ways that we humans use to talk about the world around us, in an intelligent way, based on our emotional reaction to our world, that is unique to our species.

Leah Lopez: There is a definition for Art and mine is both very simple and vast in scope and incredibly beautiful.  Literary geniuses have come close to describing it but, once put into words it evades and morphs, like vapor.  Perhaps it is we ourselves who change and change how we perceive art, in order to push it just outside our grasp and back into mystery once more.  It is a part of what we consider “divine”.  It is the way we survive and the way we grow.  It first exists outside of us then, enters a mind like a seed and dwells until it’s time for it to be re-released anew, onto a canvas or in some other rebirth.  It may be a collective wisdom, that in our turn, we each express our perspective, adding our distinct experiences back into the mix, enabling us to learn from each other and stretch the ways we dream.  And yet, I don’t feel that neither art’s presence, nor my own definition of it, allow me to define art for another, just as it isn’t my place to limit another person’s dreams or ambitions.  Art is something that I redefine or reaffirm, for myself, constantly, as my dreams and experiences redefine the person and artist that I am.

Denise LaRue Mahlke:  An expression of beauty and truth communicated through the skillful and thoughtful mastery of the artist’s chosen medium.

John Pototschnik: Art is the production or expression of that which is beautiful, appealing, and of more than ordinary significance. It’s the skillful and imaginative creation of objects, or expression, that interprets the human experience and produces an aesthetic response.

Matt Smith: I’d say a balance of subject or idea, a finely tuned craft, and an individual’s sensitivity to the two.

Creativity is a gift to humanity from our Creator. Being created in God’s image, we are naturally creative beings with a desire to create. A person that has not discovered their creative gifts, or if they have, failed to use them, is a person that has missed out on one of the greatest treasures of being human. They have also deprived their fellow humans of what could be a beautiful and marvelous contribution to society. For these reasons, I believe a solid education in the arts from a young age is important to one’s overall development as a unique person.

Viewing our current public education system from a distance, it seems that one’s art education these days is minimal at best. I think the value of an art education should be reassessed and given more importance in our schools for the following reasons:

1 – It can encourage students to seek and discover their creative gifts and direct them to sources/avenues of development.


2 – Through study, experimentation and practice, students can develop and learn to express the creative gift God has given them, whatever form that might take.

3 – An arts education will help students appreciate and enjoy God’s creation and the amazing abilities He has given man.

4 – It can encourage exploration.

5 – It can provide exposure to other creatives.

6 -It can promote greater appreciation for the creativity of others, in all fields.


7 – It can elevate one’s level of taste and increase discernment of beauty and excellence.

5 – It encourages study and understanding of the world in which we live.


6 – It can be a safe place to discover interests and talent.

7 – It can encourage creative thinking.

8 – It opens our eyes to see beyond what is normally perceived, enriching one’s quality of life.

9 – Aids in the study of history and gives insight into current cultural trends/beliefs.


10 – It trains students to communicate visually.

11 – It provides an outlet for expression.


12 – Improves one’s ability to focus intently for extended periods.

13 – Helps develop hand/eye coordination, especially in certain disciplines.

14 – Enables students to bring forth into reality that which began in their imagination.

15 – It’s a building block to a well-rounded education.

16 – It can inspire people to strive for an ideal.

17 – Creating something tangible not only brings great satisfaction but can also bring joy to others and beauty to our world. (Just imagine what our world would be like without any art.)

18 – With proper training, art enables us to help others to see what is not obvious. It can educate, cause one to reflect on things of importance, and it can affect others emotionally in a way words cannot.

19- An art education can help us to look more intensely, see more thoroughly, apprehend more completely. The result will be that we create more convincingly, touch people’s lives more deeply, and appreciate more fully the amazing complexity and beauty of God’s creation.

20 – Could inspire hope, that with proper training, one’s creative gift could lead to a life’s work. Short of that, it’s a very necessary addition to any child’s education.


Next week: Amanda Lovett interview

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I’m pleased to announce the release of my latest teaching video and book. The video and accompanying book, shown here, along with my first video, “Limited Palette Landscape”, include everything I’ve taught in my workshops. You can now take my oil painting workshop right in the comfort of your home, and for a lot less money than physically being present. (Click image to learn more)

For those that have purchased the book, I invite you to join our new Facebook Group – “Limited Palette Unlimited Color”. If you qualify, I hope you’ll join us. Check us out on Facebook. HERE is the link.


John Pototschnik is an Art Renewal Center Living Master. To view his art and bio, please click HERE.


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