Pantheon: a journal of spiritual art

by Joan Forest Mage

Note: This essay was published as a chapter in the edited book Healing With Art and Soul: Engaging Ones Self Through Art Modalities

Introduction

Expressive Arts Therapists are led to several questions regarding the relation of aesthetics to our work. “What is art? What is the purpose of art? What is beautiful? What is beautiful art?” Is art to be produced only for its own sake, its inherent “beauty”? Or, if art’s purpose is to produce a beneficial social result, do we define that art that produces such a “good” result as beautiful?

Should Expressive Arts Therapists even be concerned with aesthetics? Some would define Expressive Arts Therapy in terms of its purpose: it is a form of healing which may include related purposes such as teaching, community-building, personal growth, spiritual expression, etc. Why don’t we simply define Expressive Arts Therapy in terms of producing good…

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