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What is Art?: Word Cloud Excercise

September 6, 2012

Today during Learning Lab, juniors at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts  explored Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s—Present. But before we dove into the artwork on the walls and our responses to it, we considered our preconceived ideas about the definitions, classifications, and limitations associated with the term art.

In small groups, the students defined art in five words. I used Wordle to create a word cloud with their definitions. (Wordle is a wonderful classroom resource for visually presenting textual content.) The larger, bolder words were words that multiple groups used to define art.

Composition, technique, perception, and concept stand out. Other words like value, design, and aesthetics relate to an artwork’s composition or visual elements. I loved that the students included words that reference an artist’s conceptual process, such as idea, foresight, thought, and motive. 

How do you define art?

Andrea V. Severin
Coordinator of Teaching Programs

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