10 W Preston St
Baltimore, MD 21201

Why Artwork?

The Illuminations Program continues to build upon J’s signature artwork for a variety of critical reasons:

Of central importance is the fact that J found art to be a powerful and deeply effective way to give expression to some the most profound thoughts and feelings which life experience had stirred in his mind and heart. Things he could not fully address or speak to in words. He also believed that his art, bearing his spirit, had the capacity to be a force of meaning and change for others as well. A symphony of change, if you will. Illuminations chooses to honor J’s belief in his art and what it could accomplish.

There are additional important reasons which speak to why the Illuminations Program believes using art can be an unusually effective way to accomplish important goals.

The use of a visual medium enhances the engagement of the viewer and increases the potential for gaining new or expanded knowledge of the subject matter.

Art has the capacity to trigger the imagination of the viewer leading to the development of additional perspectives and vantage points for engaging the matter at hand. These new or enhanced perspectives can then translate into new or enhanced responses.

There is a vibrant and growing discussion regarding art’s unique ability to touch the viewer in such a way that it can be a source of personal change and professional growth.

There are two equally powerful ways learning takes place. One tends to think of learning primarily as a cognitive process. The other equally valid form of learning is experiential. When these two learning forms are combined, as they are in the Illuminations Program, the learning can be particularly powerful at multiple levels.

Certain works of art have the ability to elicit powerful experiences of empathy. Empathy creates a certain form of understanding which then has the capacity to call forth some type of active response on the part of the viewer.

Art establishes a relationship between itself and the viewer causing a dialogue to take place between the artist and the viewer. For the individual viewer it takes place in the interplay between personal thoughts and feelings and the artwork. In workshop groups this dialogue is expanded and enriched by the dialogue of other professionals participating in the workshop. In this context J creates a meta-dialogue which is profoundly meaningful and professionally enriching.

Powerful art can create mental images which remain beyond the viewing of the artwork allowing a person to come back to the images to continue and deepen the conversation, the learning. In this sense the images can become a mental repertoire which can be referred to at will.

Encountering J’s artwork in one of the Illuminations programs provides an opportunity to experience this enhanced learning.

10 W Preston St • Baltimore, MD 21201 • 410-837-6082 • illuminations@ubalt.edu

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