How does art help us make sense of experience?

Dewey saw how mental life and the physical were mutually constituted. This goes beyond “a sound mind in a sound body”, to say that the aspects of the world that are meaningful to us are those which we construct, while at the same time we are products of the physical and social worlds we inhabit. A word such as “inhabit” is too weak; for Dewey, we are part and parcel of a situation. This descriptive account of human life leads to a conception of learning as a search for meaning; action in the world merges with thought as a process of art:

To feel the meaning of what one is doing, and to rejoice in that meaning; to unite in one concurrent fact the unfolding of the inner life and the ordered development of material conditions-that is art (Dewey, 1906, p. 292).


Bruce, Bertram C. (2001, May). Constructing a once and future history of learning technologies. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 44(8), 730-736. Also in Bertram Bruce (Ed.), Literacy in the Information Age: Inquiries into meaning making with new technologies, pp. 20-28. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Burnaford, G, Aprill, A., & Weiss, C. (2001). Renaissance in the classroom: Arts integration and meaningful learning. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Corrin, L. (Ed.). (1994). Mining the museum: An installation by Fred Wilson. Baltimore: The Contemporary.

Dewey, John (1977). Essays on the new empiricism 1903-1906. In Jo Ann Boydston (ed.), The Middle Works of John Dewey, Volume 3. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press.

Lester, Paul Martin. Urban screens: The beginning of a universal visual culture. FirstMonday.

Langer, Suzanne (1953). Feeling and form. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Vallance, E. (2004). The adventures of Artemus and the llama: A case for imaginary histories in art education. Art Education, 7-12.

Visual Thinking Strategies (intro).  Visual Thinking Strategies discussion in Amagansett (in six parts).

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