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Re: Why do we have to take art?


From: Larry Seiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Oct 24 2002 - 05:21:44 PDT

A unit on this is not such a crazy or bad idea! Its not just students that
need to learn this either. I appreciate the long list provided today from

As some know...I spend a good deal of time critiquing, dialoguing and
encouraging artists on an international scene/community...and it amazes me
that artists so frequently and for much of their lives if not all of it get
into that mode where the purpose of art is to sell. The purpose of getting
better at their art is to increase the chances of selling.

What I observe so often happening is that people do not learn to enjoy the
making of art when it is apparent how far they have to go to develop before
their work sells. I happen to be in a position where I've had agents and
reps, been involved with publishers, and was and am in galleries. Going
back into the classroom and always being involved somehow in art education
fortunately brings balance as well as not shying away from being a spiritual
person either. Looking for balance.

Artists can't afford to forget how art touches the need for people to
investigate meaning and purpose. Something benign academics of convergent
learning does not do. That such rote prepare-for-testing learning does not
touch the core of what it means to be human is all that much more the
obvious when tragedy strikes a high school during that tragic moment of
student deaths. The silence, the long faces, the sickening feelings are a
result of not knowing what to say...not knowing how to deal with one's own
emotions. This is a result of being cut off from one's necessary and
inevitable need to explore meaning and purpose. It is so strange when you
encounter many many artists that have cut themselves off from deeper
understanding of it, so caught up in the 'get good and sell' thing!

The irony is, if artists learned to appreciate life, and that art is a form
or vehicle for the celebration of it.....they would be happier, more
productive, experience less states of frustration and depression, more
balanced and clear headed with decision making, find their own visual
voice/style, and produce enough body of work that excellence would find them
rather than their empty pursuits of it! So, I find myself constantly trying
to encourage artists. To see the blessing of possessing eyes that see in a
world filled with awe, and so many walking dead blind to it all! I try and
give them a sense of mission, for one revealing beauty even in the mundane
and ordinary for which the average Joe might for the very first time "see!"

I'm I hit my kids with so many "why make art" thoughts that I am happy to
have something to print out showing so many wonderful why's of others.
Thanks for sharing!

Larry S.