The Power of a Post-it

Comparison of how teachers (left) and visitors to our Creative Aging Reception (right) descibe art. Photos: Rachel Goldberg

What is art? An expression of human creativity…a window on the soul…a means to communicate an ideal?

My colleague Rachel Goldberg recently asked some of the teachers from the museum’s partner schools to write the answer this question on a post-it note as seen in the illustration above left. They described art as “anything you want it to be,” “expression,” “creativity,” “communication,” “thinking,” and “untrained magicians weaving tapestries of emotions.”

Inspired by Rachel’s project, we asked visitors to the Creative Aging reception to describe how they understand art (above right). While some of the answers like “expression,” and “creativity,” aligned with the teachers, I found it fascinating how many of these individuals connect art with well-being. They defined art as “hope,” “healing,” “to cure illness,” “happiness,” and “a simple gift.”

This project reminded me a lot of one I saw this summer in Barcelona. Then and now I am astounded by the power a simple post-it note can have to collect our thoughts and feelings.

What is art to you? If you’re feeling inspired, use the comments below to share your thoughts (sorry we can’t use post-it notes)!



Have you had an art star moment?

Micah with his art (Photo by Jake Muirhead)

“I feel happy that my art is at The Phillips Collection because it is a famous artwork.”
–Micah, age 9

Micah was one of about 100 kids at the Phillips recently for the opening of their art-and-writing projects inspired by Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series (1940-41). He is a student at Tyler Elementary, a D.C. Public School, where we’ve been partnering to implement the Teach with Jacob Lawrence: Nationwide Curriculum. (Link leads to the complete curriculum. Please allow a few minutes to load.)