Culture and the arts

The word culture is derived from the Latin root cultura or cultus meaning to “inhabit, cultivate, or honour”. In general, culture refers to human activity; different definitions of culture reflect different theories for understanding, or criteria for valuing human activity. Present day Anthropologists use the term to refer to the universal human capacity to classify experiences and to encode and communicate them symbolically. They regard this capacity as a defining feature of the genus Homo. Since culture is learned, people living in different places have different cultures. There can be different cultures in different countries, and there can also be shared cultures among continents.

The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than “art,” which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompasses visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance, spoken word and film, among others.

Art, in its broadest meaning, is the expression of creativity or imagination. The word art comes from the Latin word ars, which, loosely translated, means “arrangement”. Art is commonly understood as the act of making works (or artworks) which use the human creative impulse and which have meaning beyond simple description. Art is often distinguished from crafts and recreational hobby activities.

The term creative arts denotes a collection of disciplines whose principal purpose is the output of material for the viewer or audience to interpret. As such, art may be taken to include forms as diverse as prose writing, poetry, dance, acting or drama, film, music, sculpture, photography, illustration, architecture, collage, painting, craft and fashion. Art may also be understood as relating to creativity, æsthetics and the generation of emotion.

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