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  • Randall Jason Irvin

Can You Define Art?


I just recently went to a lecture at the CMCA "Art for Us,” a four-part discussion series led by Museum Educator Roger Dell.The first lecture was “What is contemporary art?” Of course, there was no definitive answer but it was a great discussion. It is, however, interesting to come back to this question “what is art?” after many years out of art school and try to answer it. I have made art for years. When it comes to my art I know what I want and I know how to make it. I love doing it. I love seeing it, but as soon as I try to say what it is, I have to stop and think of the right combination of words with out rambling on. After spending a week thinking about it though, I come up with this definition:

“Art is a human act as far as we know. It is a concept that allows an individual or group to convey something (idea, thought, emotion, spiritual awareness, etc.) with an unlimited choice of resources to manipulate to do so.”

Obviously, I think art affect us all on very deep levels, but this is my clinical dictionary definition. In a sentence or two, I invited you artists, art lovers, or anyone to take a stab at defining “What is Art?” I am very interested in hearing what other people’s definitions are.

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