Essays by :

Linda Thern-Smith Robyn Johnson-Ross


Definitions collected from November '98 to March, '99


If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate;
the 'Ode to a G recian Urn' is worth any number of old ladies."
- William Faulkner

weekly "famous person quote" courtesy of poet Kim Roberts,
who has been collecting quotes on the nature of art for about 15 years

Art is derived from the Indo-Europeanroot ar-, other
important derivatives being arm, alarm, disarm, harmony,
inert, article, articulate, order, ordinary, ornate,adorn,
rate, ratio, reason, read, hatred, riddle, rite, arithmetic,
rhyme, earnest, orient, origin, original, hormone, born, abort.
- paraphrased from etymological dictionary by painter Warren Criswell

Quotes in chronological order, startingfrom the most recent:

Art is the activity of creating beautiful things.
Treiops Treyfid, visual artist, Washington DC

Art defines us - we do not define art.
-Sheila Rotner, visual artist, Washington DC

Art is ART no longer - art is delay.
-Sheila Rotner, visual artist, Washington DC

Art is a chymical wedding between the sacred and the profane.
-Sheila Rotner, visual artist, Washington DC

Art gives form to the essence of our shared experience as human beings in the universe, creating myths which give meanng to life.
-Sheila Rotner, visual artist, Washington DC

Art is the process of redefining nature through the human soul.
- Prosser Stirling, performance artist, Washington, DC

The artist's role is not unlike a surgeon andjust as important: it is to alert humanity, to subtle but powerful changes in the environment - changes caused by the introduction of new or hybrid technologies and visible only to the artist, the outcast, the schizophrenic, and the child - by rearranging our senses so we can adapt less painfully to change (bend with the punches instead of taking them on the chin); art therefore is emergency surgery on our organs of perception.
- David Lent, video producer, Bethesda,Maryland

Art is the path to peace and conflict resolution.
-Mansoora Hassan, multimedia artist(Washington DC; Lahore, Pakistan)

Through art, we are bound together by a common thread of spirituality.
-Mansoora Hassan, multimedia artist(Washington DC; Lahore, Pakistan)

Art is the means to seek truth.
-Mansoora Hassan, multimedia artist(Washington DC; Lahore, Pakistan)

Since Duchamp's 'Readymades,' visual art is not easily defined and has, in fact, come to be seen as any human-generated creative act (usually pre- meditated but not always so) that causes an observable effect; in turn, a need is created to re-name that which used to be called fine visual art.
- Linda Thern-Smith, writer and visualartist, VA

Art is the string of favorite orange beads that I gave up for Lent when I was five years old.
- Sharon Stanczak, writer, Greenbelt,MD

Art is a mirror of the moving cosmos, cracked, sheared and shattered into a myriad fragments, each one original, each one subject to the laws of light and a preternatural longing for unity.
- Sarah Pleydell, writer, Washington DC

Art is a feeling which arises in the mind and heart and displays on paper as something larger than life.
- Jasmine Mokha, senior at Annandale HighSchool

Art is fundamentally a social act, a conversation with one's culture about what it is, has been, and could be.,,
- Paul Wolman, writer, researcher, Washington,DC

Art is the way we look at ourselves.
- Nancy Norman, video news editor, SilverSpring, MD

Art is the last grain of rice in a small dark bowl.
- David Lee, composer, filmmaker, healthcare worker with the homeless, D.C.

Art is what the rest is not!
-- Bala Chandran, TV producer & visualartist, McLean VA

We truly believe there is some essence in art that is something bigger than us, something nonhuman, and I believe elephants are as brilliant asus in this area.
- Alex Melamid,of Melamid & Komar

Art is because real life just isn't enough.
- Donna Coleman, painter, Washington,DC

Art is an aesthetically constructive act of independent recognition,rememberance, and response.
-Donald Davidson, painter, Washington,DC

The thing is that no one knows what art is.
- Alex Melamid, of Melamid & Komar

Art: the dialect of the senses.
- Chris Sandrolini, diplomat, WashingtonDC

A work of art is a compelling and inspiring gravity within whose field the creator and audience lose themselves to find that which lies between the Beauty and the Dread of life
- Richard Dana, visual artist, Washington,DC

Art is the thing that defines a big portion of who I am and what I think about, but rarely have time to do.
- Deborah Sokolove, visual artist, Washington,DC

Art is: WHAT?
- SuskenRosenthal and Benoit Maubrey, visual artists, Berlin, Germany

Art is an expressed feeling-- behind every work of art is a lovestory.
- Jim Spillane,Photographer, Mt. Jackson, Virginia

Art is a way of approaching the unknowable.
- MadalynMarcus, painter, Washington, DC

Art is a judgement of history.
- AlbertoGaitán, composer, Arlington, VA, USA

Art is any action performed by humans to imitate, alter or counteract the works of nature.
- Warren Criswell,painter, New York, NY

Art is a response to the question, "How do I fit into theworld?"
- BeverlyRess, visual artist, Silver Spring, MD

Art is making an image of one's celestial self.
- ThomasWalton, painter, Washington DC

Art is life.
- Eglon Daley,painter, Washington DC

[Art is] a making or doing of things that display form, beauty,and extraordinary perception.
- AmericanFederation of Arts

Art is what we think about keeping or looking at when we get rid of all the rest.
- Ruth Stenstrom,visual artist, Washington, DC

Art is like having the ability to remove oneself from the reality of life through the act of making it.
- Sheri Bartholow,painter, Arlington, VA

Art is feeling and intellect engaged in a dance of mutual seduction.
- Kathy Keler,painter, Washington DC

Art is anything that two people define as art: The being who creates it and the being who admires it as art.
- F. LennoxCampello, Art critic, Washington, DC

Art is the product of skills given to humans by the gods for the purpose of improving the conditions of life.
- Robert Revere,Photographer, Washington, DC

Art is insight transformed into peak experience
- Susan Burgess-Lent,Bethesda, MD

Art is a strange form of communication that makes a private search for meaning public, and uses formal techniques to create order out of the chaos of the world around us.
- Kim Roberts,poet, Washington DC