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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Column: A world without art is just “eh.”

    “Imagine for a moment a world without art and culture, without music, without cinema, without dance, opera, literature, poetry. That world would be a very, very dull place devoid of imagination—the one thing that distinguishes us as human beings from other species. Without art, the banality of reality would be intolerable.”

    Greek art historian, curator and writer Katerina Gregos said the above in a TED Talk titled “Why art is important,” and she couldn’t be any more correct.

    Living and attending school in Tucson means that we are surrounded and influenced by the city’s rich art culture every day.

    We need to be aware of the importance of art in school and in life. No longer should art be regarded as a specialized field of study.

    “Regarding the value of art, I believe that the intrinsic value is in its transformative potential for both the artist and those with whom the art connects or communicates,” said James Cook, a UA associate professor at the School of Art .

    Art offers profound knowledge that can be utilized on a daily basis. Three main factors of this knowledge needs to be emphasized.

    The first factor is the arts teach more than one solution can solve a problem. Creativity is a skill that becomes crucial to have because it helps us realize multiple solutions.

    “Art has the power to express or voice ideas that can be heard because of its ability to creatively present ordinary experiences by utilizing unexpected and skillful means,” Cook said.

    Similarly, the second benefit to consider is that the arts celebrate multiple perspectives. It is one thing to take a binary stance on a divided political issue, but it is another to view that issue from and artistic perspective which can pave the way for a more heightened sense of awareness and a broader sphere of thought.

    “The creative merging of knowledge and experience, when not sourced from the same stream, has the potential to enhance awareness and to create unexpected new understanding,” Cook said.

    Third and most importantly, the arts provide a means for every student to learn.

    Studying art is not just about techniques or the traditional setting. Anybody can experience art and have it become a meaningful experience.

    “I feel quite passionate about my responsibilities as an artist and educator, and as one who finds in service the opportunity to amplify the potential for learning amongst student, colleagues and community,” Cook said. “I appreciate the unique possibilities that I am afforded as an arts instructor in the university setting to cultivate in our students a keen sense of investigative and critical analysis conducive to discovery, clarity of thought and recognition of self in the other.”

    Understanding the values of art can help coming to grips with the vast and untapped knowledge that Tucson’s art culture offers. For students who attend the university, the exposure to art can be found throughout campus.

    There are many galleries to visit, for example, the Joseph Gross Gallery, Lionel Rombach Gallery and Todd Walker exhibit, and there are always artist lectures to attend, artists to meet and work to see firsthand.

    Artistic values can be applied to any discipline in the world around us and may even enhance them. 

    “I’m convinced that if more people engage with [art], the world would be a much better place,” Gregos said. “In that sense, art should also have a much more important place in school curriculums and education. … They are integral to the human spirit and to human aspirations, an essential part of what makes us human. Art thinks about the world in its current state and it can re-imagine the world as it should be.”

    Follow Justice Amarillas on Twitter.

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