First Day Reflections: What Is Art?

On their first day of class, students in several of Jim Daniels’ upper level studio courses were asked to share their personal reflections on three questions: What is the definition of art? Who is an artist? and, What qualities does an artist possess? 

“In the spirit of starting a new school year, I decided to try something on the first day of class that I haven’t done in quite some time,” said Mr. Daniels. “I asked my students to do a little bit of self-reflection as artists, including thinking about their strengths and areas for growth. I was floored by the depth of their responses!”

Daniels was especially struck by how many students used the ‘Habits’ language in their answers. “In sharing their reflections, especially to the question “What is art,” students used words like grit, perseverance, appreciation of beauty and excellence, and dedication—language straight from our Habits of Mind & Heart curriculum. It was very resounding that they are getting it—the whole character development piece. I asked them a few questions about art and their responses are rooted in character education. As a teacher, that’s pretty cool to read.”

Student Reflections
“Art is everything! And something that people can see that expresses anything!”

“Art is a form of self expression. You forget who you are and you can be who you actually are. You are a photo with no identity.”

“My weakness is not having enough patience.” 

“I tend to judge myself and compare myself to others.”

“My strengths as an artist are my imagination and being able to visualize what I want to draw.” 

“My impulsivity can sometimes be a strength but also a weakness.”

“Creativity is my strength. I am a visual thinker, I am creative and free.”

“My strengths as an artist are perseverance and creativity.”

“I think my strength as an artist is making statements with my work and having a very original style.”

“My strength is drawing dragons.”