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"Free and critical minds can emerge only by a return to the source-the primary sources. A free and critical mind takes nothing for granted and is not intimidated by "authorities" who frequently may be more confused than the general public. Free and critical minds seek truth without chauvinism or shame." - Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III (1)

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Understanding Art

Art is not merely skill or technical ability. Show me someone whose talent is technique and I'll show you clinical creativity, but not art. All creativity is not art. Art emerges from gifts and personal passions. Art is mainly the agility of thought and feeling that remains vibrant through ages despite the art form.

In order to understand art we must become involved beyond looking, hearing or reading. Being open to experience the thoughts and feelings at the heart of art awards us the privilege to receive greater appreciation and awareness. (By the way, open-mindedness is an active state of existence that requires seeking, weighing and trying to understand, not passively waiting and saying, “I'm open-minded. I listen when someone wants to tell me what they believe.”)

The involvement of our mental, spiritual and emotional selves with art leaves room for each individual to have a different experience, thus making art personally relevant and rewarding. This is the agility of art. It causes us to reach, tiptoe or get a stool if we have to. Likewise, it causes us to bend, uncover and discover its nuances.

Understanding is a beautiful thing. To him who engages art and does not wait to be entertained or always expect instantaneous or effortless understanding comes greater treasures, pleasures and insights. This reaffirms the necessity for art to remain individualized in its creation, appreciation and understanding.

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