Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ART MATTERS — Reflections on Growing up with Janet Cornacchio

Art Matters
Reflections on Growing up with Artists

Art Matters.  

What does that mean to you?  To me, it has a multitude of meanings.  It could mean that art is important.  That is art matters in our lives, in our development and growth and education as human beings.  It could mean that it matters in our communities and our cultures, in world culture.  It could mean that art has a language of its own, like every other discipline, philosophy, craft or skill—and any or all of these concepts can be applied to art.  Art has its own argot used among its practitioners.  It has its own specialized language that those who are “in-group” use.

And, to add to the fun, with the arts, there are many specific languages across all the disciplines of the arts. To name a few—there is a language for art history, art criticism and of Art, itself.  Each of the Arts has its own unique terminology, practitioners, etc.  It is also interesting to note that the Scituate Arts Association began in the 1950’s with multiple guilds (an appropriate medieval term for different arts and artisans groups who used an apprentice, journey-man and master system to initiate its membership) which included a drama guild, woodcarvers guild, gourmet decorators guild and the art or painters guild.

Oh, and for the purpose of my column, I’m referring to Art as the “Visual Arts”, including but not limited to, painting whose mediums can include watercolor, oil, acrylic and pastel; photography; drawing; printmaking or sculpture. The Arts can also refer to literature, music, drama, to almost any discipline that’s dependent on craft and skill to create an experience, an experience that stretches the mind, that touches the spirit or that makes ones heart sing.  Indeed, Art matters.

For me, me personally, art has been an integral part of my life from birth.  Both of my parents were professionally trained artists. Growing up with two artist parents can be both inspiring and frustrating:  art supplies were plentiful, as were books on art   instruction and art history; not to mention continuous exposure to contemporary artists in local galleries and frequent visits to the fine art museums in the Boston and New York area.  And then there was always someone willing to show you how to do it right and better than you could.  Having now worked with artists for over 10 years as a member and president of the Scituate Arts Association Board of Directors and as a member of our Front Street Art Gallery and having consciously worked on developing that side of my brain for the past 20, I’ve realized how different that perspective that can be.  One thing I’ve learned about myself is I’m that rare bird, “mid-brained” I believe is the term.  In other words, I can function in both the creative world of the artist or those who work with their hands, but I also have the ability to intellectualize what I’m doing and express it in words.  An ability which I’ve learned is lacking in many creative people.  They can do, but it’s hard for them to explain the process.  But more about developing both sides of the brain another day.

And that’s exactly why I eventually landed on the name “Art Matters” as the name for this column.  I have been mulling over this introductory column for several weeks, looking for how to set a tone and define its intent which no doubt will evolve over time.  Since, like the famous tree in the forest, art needs viewers and responses to be heard and for the artist to evolve.  So please share your thoughts and dialogue with me.  

Janet Cornacchio is an artist member of Front Street Gallery, President of
Scituate Arts Association &  a Realtor

You can contact her at

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