The Art and Craft of Beauty
The task of an art educator is about guiding a child or youth, often an adult, too, into discovering skill and alertness. This guidance can be greatly aided by the ideas, emphases and valuations brought along by aesthetics. Each era has produced different insights but the gist has always been the same: the human sensory relationship to the world. To an art educator, aesthetics is to a large extent about viewing skill on the broadest possible scale. A skill cannot simply mean knowing how to do something, mechanical repetition without a sense of context. Skill always entails understanding operational principles, ethics and responsibility. It also involves being able to communicate that skill to others, to guide and to teach. Because the aesthetic sensory experience is our most concrete bond to the world, and through the world to each other, it is obvious that in aesthetics we can realise the place held by skill. The purpose of this book is to shed light on aesthetics from several angles, primarily to indicate certain basic ideas and traits. It includes openly polemic and value-judgemental views intended to, as it were, challenge art educators to disagree and thus form their own opinions. Juha Varto is the Professor of Research in Visual Arts and Education, University of Art and Design Helsinki.