...an expression of one's inner self in images and color.
...whatever you think is beautiful and want the world to see.
...a safe way to explode in any way.
...beauty and life.
...something someone thinks is cool or beautiful.
...an inspired drawing of an image from one's mind.
...a way to free your emotions.
...you in another form.
Today, I started class by asking my 12 high school students to write a succinct definition of art and the above words are some of their responses. Then we discussed the "official" definition of art as per the American Heritage Dictionary. We talked about how to make objective judgments about whether or not an image or object is art. I filled their tables with famous images, from da Vinci's Mona Lisa to Pollock's Lavender Mist. I gave them all sorts of objects to ponder: a decorative birdcage, carved wooden hands, a wind-up robot, a scary sculpted clown my son made in the fourth grade and more. Next week, we begin to build our artistic vocabulary by exploring the elements of design: line, shape, form, space, color and texture. Now at home, still dazed from all the pressure of recent weeks, I feel an ominous scratchiness in my throat, my feet hurt and my busy, busy head is racing ahead to Friday when I meet my middle school kids for the first time. But as I reread the wisdom of my young flock of artists, I am quiet, content. It was a good first day.