Arts and Entertainment

Discover what art means to you at local gallery | Enumclaw Arts Alive

Art can be serious or playful, literal or abstract, activist or ignorant. Art can address and undress social issues and can lead us to beauty and truth. Art can perform utilitarian purposes. Art can focus on tuning the artist and the audience into specific senses such as hearing music, tasting food, feeling the texture and fit of clothing, seeing a photograph.  How do I explain what art is? By considering what art does. By considering what art does for the artist who forms it and the audience who sees it.

In her book “What Is Art For?,” Ellen Dissanayake wrote, “Perhaps if we examine what the arts do for people (rather than what they appear to be in their various manifestations), we might find a satisfactory starting point from which to understand and describe art…”  More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle may have considered a similar approach when he wrote, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance” (as cited by Fujimura, 2009, p. 109).

While a particular pretty picture may well resemble a particular mountain, tree, flower or loved one, we are still left to consider if this expression on canvas rings true with our inward experience. Does the mountain painting shout out for you the pure joy you felt after an extensive climb to the top? Does the pen-and-ink drawing of a tree capture the texture of bark so well you can nearly feel its rough beauty with your eyes? Does it beckon your heart to believe that even beauty is not always smooth and polished? Does the vibrancy of color in the gentle blending of a pastel drawing almost release the aroma of the flowers you held on your wedding day? Has the true character of a loved one whom you’ve come to know over the span of 40 years been captured in the millisecond moment of a photograph?

Art provides a form and means for making statements, asking questions and telling stories. Art performs as a vehicle for communication and expression. Art offers a language that often defies verbalization. What is art? It is an expression of inward significance made visible and it is always doing something.

One place you can enter into a conversation with art is the Arts Alive! gallery. To discover more ways to encounter local art, visit our website or stop by A Lot of Art from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot behind the gallery.

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