Discover the Arts, vol.1: Intro, Visual Art, Music and Dance

The drive to create is a distinctively human characteristic. All living beings “create" in some way, usually as a means of survival – by reproducing, building shelters, or creating social structures. Human beings also create for basic survival, but unlike their animal kingdom counterparts, humans keep on creating well after “survival” has been checked off the list. People create to communicate, and as a means of sharing ideas, thoughts and feelings. They create for the sake of aesthetic appeal (decorating, making a space “pretty” or “our own”). Humans create as a means of social interaction, fun, or as part of physical activities, and often, people create for the very sake of creating… curiosity constantly drives humans to wonder what new or different things can be discovered or learned.  
Because of this incredible drive and curiosity, the world of the arts surrounds people in all aspects of their lives, whether they are consciously aware of it, or not. Almost all societies have some form of arts within their communities that often serve a vital purpose.  
Whether it is how to decorate a home, the music listened to at any given moment, or the activities enjoyed with family and friends, people’s lives always involve the arts.  
Artists are driven to create for a number of different reasons, some may use art purely for pleasure or entertainment, or some may work in the arts as a means of educating, advocating, or  putting forth a specific belief, value, or position on an issue. Art can be personal or political, light-hearted, or heavy-hitting, and it can be any or all of those things at one time, or to different people. 
This course casts a broad net across the Fine and Performing Arts and works to provide a definition for what the arts are, their purpose, production and appreciation. This course will examine how the arts can be many different things to different people at one time, and how best to observe, analyze, use and understand the role of the arts in our lives.  
This course will examine the purposes of art, such a providing a historical record, or fostering communication, education, social or political action, to the ways in which the arts help convey emotions, feelings, and experiences that are often difficult to understand or articulate. Arts serve to entertain, to inspire, to foster community and enjoyment, and to make life more colorful, beautiful, or playful. Arts help humans understand their relationship to the world around them and to the world “of the unknown.” The arts have been with people and used by people since the beginning of history, and will always be vital to the human experience.  
To contextualize the vast presence of the arts in our lives, this course will explore how to appreciate, compare, and critique works of art thought the study of representative works in each art form, and by attending live performances and art exhibits. Students will be introduced to the basic elements, principles, processes, materials, and inherent artistic qualities of the visual arts, music, dance, theatre and film.  
The materials here will help guide the course through the exploration and discovery of the arts; enjoy! 

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