What is Art?

I love the range of approaches to inquiry learning and the variety of voices at Inquire Within. It’s wonderful to constantly have new educators wanting to add their voices to this community. It’s especially pleasing to have contributors posting here who don’t have their own blogs. But we have not yet heard a student voice. In this post, I’d like to share a reflection by an 8-year-old, as a result of her inquiry into art. 

The Year 3 children (and teachers) explored the ways in which artists express their creativity as well as their own responses to and interpretations of art. The key concepts which guided the inquiry were form, function and perspective.

I’m told the unit was a great success for the entire learning community, as teachers inquired alongside their students and deepened their own understandings about art. Rochelle, one of the teachers, shared the piece below and I asked permission to publish it here.

Rochelle replied that Poppy, although sometimes quiet and shy to speak publicly, is beautifully creative and expresses herself freely in writing. She is thrilled to have her learning shared on Inquire Within, where it will be viewed by teachers from all over the world. Her reflection expresses her thoughts before and after the inquiry…

What is Art? by Poppy

I used to think art was only a pencil on paper, a painted picture. I didn’t know creativity and art wasn’t only drawing and paintings. When someone asked me what art was, I said what you draw on paper with pencil or paint, those kinds of things.   

Now I understand that art can be whatever you believe, imagine, or think it to be. Lots of things are art, you just have to find the creativity in it. You can feel creative, emotional, and imaginative about it. There are lots of forms of art. Also there are different elements of art, and every piece of art needs at least one of the elements in them.  You can express your feelings and emotions through art. You may think art is something different than others think, but still, there are no wrong or rights.

I think some artists get their ideas by looking at other artist’s paintings and get ideas from them. Some artists paintings make me feel happy because they use bright colours, and bright colours obviously represent happy. Some make me feel sad, because they use dark colours and dark colours obviously represent sad.

There are lots of different kinds of art, like abstract, portraits, surrealism, and much more. I think abstract is a kind of art that, when you make it, it makes sense to you, but not much sense to whoever else is looking at it. There are lots of different shapes and colours in abstract it’s very confusing!

Artists are trying to show how they feel without using words. It is quite interesting, too! They use their creativity and imagination to create it. Sometimes you don’t understand what artists are trying to tell you. That’s because other people see different things you see in art. People may not like what you like, because other people have different tastes than you do, just like with food.

About whatedsaid

Teaching and Learning Coordinator at an IB PYP school in Melbourne, Australia. I'm a teacher, a learner, an inquirer...
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7 Responses to What is Art?

  1. lanafleiszig says:

    Thanks so much Ed – what a powerful way to make a student’s learning visible – to the whole world! Poppy I loved reading your reflection and it is clear that your understanding about art has deepened so much since the beginning of your unit of inquiry. Even though your inquiry at school has finished, I’m sure that you will continue to find, recognise and appreciate art all around you – in places you never realised before. As you so beautifully wrote, you are limited only by your imagination.


  2. Poppy you found the words that express so clearly and beautifully what art means to you.
    Thank you for sharing your thinking and we all look forward to hearing your voice again


  3. Elena sacks says:

    As an art educator, and also knowing Poppy, I am blown away by her thoughts on What is art? Clearly she has thought about the many different ways art can be presented and expressed and has delved into the deeper meanings of the idea of “ART”.


  4. Jailson Lima says:

    What an insightful reflection about art. Thank you for sharing it!
    I teach chemistry at the college level and have been developing, on my own, The Art & Science Project (www.artandchemistry.ca), in which students use art to explore scientific concepts. The results have surpassed all my expectations.
    I am very interested in finding out about other projects in this area. Please drop me a line if you happen to know of any.


  5. Poppy,
    You should know that I’ve taught Art, Design and Production at the college level. Your lovely insights into Art and what it can mean are equal in understanding to much of what I’ve seen from my college students. I was particularly struck by your observation that ” Lots of things are art, you just have to find the creativity in it”

    Congratulations on your learnings..


  6. Rene Israel says:

    Poppy you have so articulately expressed your understanding of art
    It is clear that through the inquiry you have deepened your understanding
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us .


  7. Cynthia Kaplan says:

    Poppy, your expression of the essence and appreciation of art is quite exceptional.
    Thanks you for your thoughts.


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