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 I find the question, “what is art?” to be one of the most challenging questions asked in the creative world. Yes, we can look it up in the dictionary and hear some bland and dry definition of how art is ‘the application of human creative skill and imagination’, which is true. But, isn’t it more than that?

Artists have battled with this question for ages, still unsure and unable to agree on one definite meaning for such a loaded three-letter word. Art in itself is very subjective, which is why defining this term spurs debate across the globe.

Now we have grasped the difficulty of defining art, let me give you some quick examples of how great artists defined such a vastly diverse world of creativity.

According to Twuyla Tharp, choreographer, “Art is the only way to run without leaving home”. Now, this definition is fairly vague in essence, which complements the sheer magnitude of the word art. 

Another famous artist and composer, Jean Sibelius famously stated, “Art is the signature of civilizations”.

I strongly appreciate this definition because it brings to light the fact that art is a representation (although not always directly) of our past, our culture, environment, belief system, personality, location or any other characteristic. However, I would argue that art is the signature of both civilizations and the individual.

Now, for my final act, I give to you, n a silver platter the ultimate definition that my art teacher in grade school told me when confronted with the same question. He simply stated, “A work of art is art, because I say it’s art.”

 I strongly feel this definition encompasses the grand world of art since it is highly subjective and encompasses all other definitions, while ironically sparking a whole slew of new debates regarding the interpretation of art. Nonetheless, my purpose was to hopefully show you that the art world is in your hands. So, how would you define art?

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About the author


Brooklyn-based Margaret Skowronska is a St. Francis College Communications and Business graduate with an intense curiosity that fuels her drive. She strongly follows the inspirational words of Norman V. Peale, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

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