Arts and the Creation of Mind

Here are some favorite passages from Elliot W. Eisner’s Arts and the Creation of Mind.

“Aside from promoting our awareness of aspects of the world we had not experienced consciously before, the arts provide permission to engage the imagination as a means for exploring new possibilities.  The arts liberate us from the literal; they enable us to step into the shoes of others and to experience vicariously what we have not experienced directly.  Cultural development depends upon such capacities, and the arts play an extraordinarily important role in the contribution to such an aim.

Work in the arts also invites the development of a disposition to tolerate ambiguity, to explore what is uncertain, to exercise judgment free from prescriptive rules and procedures.  In the arts, the locus of evaluation is internal, and the so-called subjective side of ourselves has an opportunity to be utilized.  In a sense, work in the arts enables us to stop looking over our shoulder and to direct or attention inward to what we believe or feel.  Such a disposition is at the root of the development of individual autonomy”

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