Big Questions

I’ve been pondering ways to shift the learning philosophy in my next year’s courses back to “Big Questions.” When it comes to art making, I’m personally very curious about:

  • What was
  • What is
  • What could be

Those entry points allow learners to consider how art reflected/reflects the world of the time. They lead me up to one of my own personal Big Questions:

  • Why do we make art?

My thinking is that some learning sequences could be planned around the spirit of personal inquiry, rather than discreet skill sets. Some initial Big Questions might include:

  • What role does art play in culture?
  • How is art a reflection of contemporary thinking?
  • What can we learn about an era from its art? What does art tell us about a time or place or people?
  • How does art connect to and inform other philosophies and ideas?

We cannot throw out the baby with the bath water: We must still encourage the acquisition of technique and skills – without craft-based skills, all learning is purely academic. Art remains a production-oriented thing. But I am interested in the use of art as a strategy to foment problem solving, critical thinking, communicating, and collaborating through the development of those discreet motor skills.

Other relevant connections include:

  • Ways of looking and seeing translate into the  synthesis of ideas
  • Contrasting: Observing and reacting vs. foresight and planning
  • Innovation: Observing how the world is put together, how it functions, then “building a better mousetrap”
  • Social commentary/critique



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