You don’t need to make art or study it to appreciate it. Art appreciation is not a specialized skill set and can be done by anyone. To me, there’s no set rules – not expectations, and certainly no one way to start.
If you’ve been thinking about expanding your interests or simply learning more about art, then this post is for you.
Why Art Appreciation?
Art is one of the ways the human species has expressed their emotions and their agency since the beginning of time – even before spoken language. Humans have always used art as a way to remember and share their circumstances and environment.
So why art appreciation?
It’s just one of the many hobbies and intellectually stimulating things you can do in your free time. I often encourage those who don’t know what hobbies or interests to pick up, to consider art history. Here’s why:
- There’s many art techniques, time periods, and concepts to choose from or focus on
- Many art appreciation or art history resources to learn from
- Dedicated art appreciation clubs and organizations to join
- Major cities have art centers and museums to visit
Art appreciation and art history is easy to start with and if you have any interest in art or art history at all, then it’s a great hobby to take up.
How to Start Appreciating Art
So remember how I said there’s no perfect way to start? Well, that is true. But there are certain steps you can take to start your art appreciation journey. I recommend picking one of the following categories and starting your art appreciation journey by picking one:
- Art Style
- Time Period
By sticking to these four categories, you can narrow down a focus to start with. Personally, my art appreciation journey started with random art history classes to finish up those credit hours in college! Art history combined my love for history with my new interest in art. Starting with time periods helped me.
But maybe starting with exploring one artist may work for you. Perhaps you’d like to start with a certain art style instead. Maybe impressionism or modern art?
Lean into what naturally interests you.
Ways to Appreciate Art
So now you’ve picked a category to focus on. Here’s some ways to start your art appreciation journey within these categories:
- Visit an art museum and take a guided tour – either group, private, or audio
- Go to the library and borrow books related to the category of your choice
- Watch art shows like Art Detectives (my favorite!!) or documentaries on a specific artist.
- Take an art history, art appreciation, or an art class
- Attend a gallery opening or event
- Try your hand at drawing, painting, or sculpting
- Attend a seminar at an art foundation
- Listen to art related podcasts or audiobooks
- Interview and artists or art historian
Those are just some of the many ways you can start your art appreciation journey. I highly advocate in finding free to public resources to start such as free museum days in your local city, public libraries, and even free to attend seminars at community colleges. Start by subscribing to museum and organizational newsletters for announcements and weekly resources
The most important thing to remember is that there is no competition in art appreciation. You don’t have to know it all to enjoy it all. And you certainly don’t have to enjoy it all either.
I personally lose concentration at most modern art galleries. I have zero interest in art after the turn of the 20th century (aside from some gilded age portraiture). But I OWN that. And I freely admit I know nothing about certain artists or time periods.
The point is – it’s ok to like and dislike certain things in the art world. I however gladly support artists fo all kinds! Just because I don’t like a certain art style doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it.
And that’s a journey you’ll go on once you start. And I hope you do, because art appreciation can be so much fun – certainly much better for our mental health than just sitting on the couch watching the tv every week.
Get out there and explore art! Make sure to shoot me a direct message on Instagram or leave a comment on here when you find your new favorite artists, time period, or art style! Would love to hear from you.