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What art should and can be
Gayle Sandell

“Art (noun): The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” -The Oxford Dictionary

Many of you may have read articles over the summer about the commotion that arose due to the temporary move of the Mona Lisa painting from one wing in the Louvre to another due to renovations...

“Art (noun): The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” -The Oxford Dictionary


Many of you may have read articles over the summer about the commotion that arose due to the temporary move of the Mona Lisa painting from one wing in the Louvre to another due to renovations. Currently the painting is on display in a protective case up three flights of escalators and through a single doorway. The lines of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the demure lady are herded through aisles and then allowed one minute for viewing. Given this scenario, it is difficult for me to imagine the type of engagement viewers have with this illustrious painting.


I do love visiting museums and I appreciate many different mediums. Part of my joy comes from being able to engage with the art and experience an emotional response to it. This summer I experienced a unique art installation in Paso Robles called "Field of Light" at Sensorio with my family. Artist Bruce Munro created his new piece across a multi-acre walkway with hillsides set with 58,000 stemmed spheres lit by fiber optics. The gently rolling landscape is covered in subtle blooms that change color before you can even notice they are changing. The exhibit didn’t open until 7:30 p.m. (summer hours) and, as the sun went down, the blooms began to come alive. It is a truly spectacular display that captivates you as you slowly roam the paths or quietly sit and watch.


This experience was in direct contrast to the one described at the Louvre. We walked, paused, retraced steps, sought a new vantage point for over an hour. With each step the installation took on a new life. We even made a game of watching the same light to see who would notice the color change first. Another lovely and unexpected aspect of the experience was the quiet. There was a reverence about viewing the ethereal setting. Viewers spoke in hushed tones and respected the natural setting, letting the lights and crickets provide the sights and sounds.


The experience of Sensario was affirmation of all that art should and can be. We appreciated it for the human creative skill and imagination, the stunning beauty, and the emotional response we felt in the magical setting.


Gayle Sandell
Head of Lower School

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