What is art? An Art Activity

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Area: Art
Grade Level: Preschool, Primary/Elementary School
Topics: Aesthetics, Beauty, Philosophy of art
Estimated Time Necessary: 30 minutes to an hour, depending on ages of the students

Lesson Plan

Objectives:
To encourage children to consider what makes something art
To examine the issue of intentionality in art

Have each student draw two pictures. One drawing must be a drawing they would call art, and the other one they would not call art.

Once the students have finished drawing, ask them to share their pieces and explain what makes one art and the other not. Ask the students listening to the sharing student: Do you think this [intended not to be art] piece could be art? Why or why not?

This lesson plan, created by Jana Mohr Lone, is part of a series of lesson plans in Philosophy in Education: Questioning and Dialogue in Schools, by Jana Mohr Lone and Michael D. Burroughs (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).

 

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Discussion Questions

  • Are both of these images art? If not, which one is?
  • How do we define what art is?
  • Does the intention of the artist matter? The effort? What other people think?
  • Who decides what is art and what is not?
  • Can anything be art?
This lesson plan was contributed by: Jana Mohr Lone.