University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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What Is Art?

Have each student draw two pictures. One drawing must be a drawing they would call art, and the other one they would not call art.

Share them. What makes one art and the other not? Does the intention of the artist matter? The effort? What other people think?

The Case of the Purple Picture: One day your teacher says that she wants to draw a picture of you. You are excited. She takes a sheet of paper and covers the whole thing in purple and then she tacks it up on the board. Under it she writes, “This is a picture of _____.” Would you be mad? Why or why not? Would it be a good picture of you? What is a picture? How do we know what a good picture is? How do we know what the person who drew the picture meant?