Ars Gratia Artificum
Look familiar? Sort of?
I first came across its sister phrase “Ars Gratia Artis” when I watched MGM movies as a kid and saw those words arcing over a roaring Leo the Lion as that movie company’s motto. The translation, “Art for Art’s Sake,” I was told it meant that creating the best art possible could be for pleasure as well as for profit. Later I discovered it could also mean a larger scope of things, from “anything goes,” to “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Over the years I’ve preferred that initial information about appreciating good art, and I wanted to also appreciate good artists.
Hence the subject of this column, which translates to “Art for the Sake of Artists.” Many thanks to Rita Carr, who gave me the correct phrase for the translation. Rita taught Latin for years at both Summerville and Fort Dorchester High Schools. She now teaches evening school classes for students working towards graduation and agrees that appreciating student efforts in whatever fields can only bring good results.
Summerville is well endowed with cultural art talent, including drama, music and writing and we have ample opportunities to appreciate these abilities. One of the best opportunities is available right now at Town Hall where the second annual Student Art Show has just been hung.
Meg Skow, visual art teacher at Rollings Middle School of the Arts and a prize winning photographer, has led the way for these shows and explains that this work represents Dorchester District 2’s District Boardroom exhibits from the past several years. This work is among pieces submitted by each school. From that submitted, one piece was selected to represent each school.
“This work has been displayed for one year in the board room” says Meg, and the collection is special. “From the unveiling of the exhibit in the board room to the installation of the work in each school's permanent collection, this work represents excellence being created through our district's visual art programs. This work celebrates the accomplishments of each student as well as the success of our art programs.”
As an art teacher she says “It’s valuable to recognize these young artists while informing the public of the work being produced through the implementation of our art curriculum. This advocacy is exciting and informative.”
Meg knows of what she speaks. She has three decades of experience in DD2 and is an award winning art educator on both regional and national levels. She is also nationally certified and this school year has taken a major part in planning the South Carolina Art Education Association state conference.
You can appreciate how unique this opportunity is for student artists as well as the public. The Town Hall show will hang all summer and be available for viewing during weekday business hours. Make it a point to take the time to come by and see the best work of our youth, which includes drawings, photos, printmaking and paintings. I promise, you’ll be amazed and inspired Bring your children – and grandchildren – so our youth can also learn to appreciate the art of their contemporaries. I’m bringing my grands, especially two pre-teens who are already studying and producing art. They’ll be inspired too.
The artists themselves can share in and be encouraged by our attendance. Remember: “Ars Gratia Artificum” can be the spark that ignites lifelong appreciation and even lifelong work.