Was Vincent Van Gogh a successful artist during his lifetime?
He only sold one painting during his lifetime and it was to his friend’s sister.
Does that change your opinion? Why? Why not?
If you don’t sell many paintings, are you a successful artist?
Make a list of “ingredients” that make up great artist. Here are some ideas:
- Expensive artwork
- Respected after death
Look at your list. Do great artists need all of these ingredients? Are there any that aren’t always needed?
Challenge: Can a “bad” person create good art? Is it okay to enjoy art that we know has been created by a “bad” person?
This activity will require you to think about two key questions:
- Can anyone be a professional artist?
- Can anyone access the arts? (go to the theatre, be an actor, attend a concert etc.)
You can choose one question to focus on or consider them both. What is your answer? Can you give reasons for your answer?
You'll find arguments on the "yes" and "no" side below.
Which side of the argument is stronger? Can you give your original answer again but, this time, support it with the evidence you have just read?
Are the answers to these questions straightforward? Why?
“If you don’t see one you can’t be one.”Marian Wright Edelman, American Activist
What do you think this quote means?
ANSWER: If you don’t see people like you doing something, you are unlikely to do it either. For example, if you don't see someone who looks like you being a tennis player and don't have any role models in the tennis world that look like you, you might not become a tennis player either.
Can you come up with ways to make the arts include more people and be accessible to more people?
For example: you could increase the amount of funding that is given to people who want to go to art school so that everyone can afford it.
- Whose responsibility is it to make art more inclusive?
- Do you see enough art from different types of people in school?
Optional challenge activity: Create a piece of art based on the quote, “If you don’t see one you can’t be one”.
Over to you!
Head to the comments section below to share some of your answers and discuss these activities with people from different schools.