Penn State

Charles W. Gibbons III - professor of art, Penn State New Kensington

Book Title: The Arts and the Creation of Mind

Author: Elliot W. Eisner

Book Description:

“Art has been, and still is the essential instrument in the development of human consciousness.” Herbert Read, 1955, following Conrad Fiedler, 1876

Eisner seems to explore Read’s and Fiedler’s insight, an idea I discovered for myself when considering how and when humans might have first encountered art. Art is, I believe, instrumental in the development of human consciousness, intelligence, and community through a dynamic of metaphor. I also believe that the visual arts reflect and represent the values and beliefs of the people who make them. By examining art forms critically, we can reach an understanding of past and present cultures as well as the contributions of different ethnic and cultural groups in today’s pluralistic society. Art shared in popular culture can also define future developments in science and technology, art offers a holistic method of problem-solving, including a method of inquiry and a path to connecting all of us to real world situations.

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