Introduction

Have you ever made a card for someone? If you have, you probably thought about what the person you gave it to liked. You might have thought about the things that made him or her happy. You may have even put pictures of those things on the card. You probably tried to make the card look good. You may even have tried a couple of times before you got the card just right. If you did these things, you were creating art. The card was an art object and you were an artist.

The word art can mean different things. The kind of art discussed in this article refers to creative activities. A painting hanging in a museum is art. A sculpture standing in a park is too. A book you checked out of the library, the last movie you saw, a song you heard on the radio; they are all art. What is it that these things have in common? They are all the product of creative activity. Choices and opinions are more important in art than facts. In art, things are created, changed, or selected to be appealing or express meaning.

Galleries

A gallery is a room or building a bit like a museum that displays artwork done by different individuals like paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures.


Aesthetics

When you draw a picture, you make many choices. You choose whether to use pencils, or crayons, which colors to use, and what to draw. You might choose to draw a blue circle using crayons because you like circles, you like the color blue, and you like the bright colors you can get using crayons. These are all examples of aesthetic choices. You make a choice because it is appealing to you. In fact, whenever a person makes something primarily for aesthetic reasons, he or she is creating a work of art.


Symbolism

If you were to think about being happy, you might remember a time when you were very young and dancing with your friends in a circle. For you, happiness might be represented by young people dancing. You cannot paint a picture of happiness itself, but you can paint a picture that expresses happiness in symbolism. You might paint a picture of young girls dancing together in a circle. Then, when other people looked at the picture, they might feel the happiness you were trying to express. Symbolism is an important way that art conveys meaning.


Visual Arts

We use the term visual arts to describe the art objects we can see. Painting, sculpture, and architecture are the most traditional of the visual arts. Today, we include photography, furniture, pottery, jewelry, and many other arts and crafts among the visual arts.