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Belief Cards

Belief cards can be presented to students for role-playing in hypothetical situations. Role-playing helps students understand that people have different beliefs about art and that these beliefs often inform the positions they take regarding issues and questions about art.

Belief cards can be cut out and used with individual student, pairs, or small groups. Pose a question or an issue, and then have students respond based on the cards they receive.


You believe that art should show ordinary things in new ways.



You think that art has to be made out of traditional materials (clay, paint, etc.) by an artist who uses his or her hands to create it.


You think that all art should have a message or a story about how to be a better person.


You believe that art is anything you like.


You believe that art should always show or express feelings.


You believe that art has to be unique – different from other artworks.



You believe that art should look realistic.


You believe that art should be something that people like to look at – pleasing to the eye.


You believe that art should make people think.



You believe that art should take a long time to make.


You believe that art should be very well made.



You believe that knowing more about an artwork will help you understand it.

Adapted from Thinking through Aesthetics by Marilyn Stewart, Davis Publications, 1997.

Museum Scenarios for Discussion


A Gift for the Museum

You are a board member of the museum. You must decide if a particular gift that has been offered to the museum should be accepted or rejected. You must present reasons to accept or decline the offer in a letter to the potential donor.


A Hurricane is Coming!

A hurricane is headed toward the museum. If you can only save one work of art in the museum, which one will it be? Give reasons for your choice.


How should a Museum Look?

Some people think a museum should have a simple, clean environment with bare white walls. Others think the setting should show objects as they would look in the real world. Which approach do you prefer? Why?



How Much Information should be Provided?

Some people believe that the main purpose of a museum should be educational and that all objects on display should be accompanied by labels providing substantial information about them. Others believe that objects should be accompanied by a minimum of information, allowing viewers to simply enjoy the object on its own. Which approach do you prefer? Why?


What Artwork Most Represents the Museum?

Choose one artwork in the museum that best represents the museum and its collection. Give reasons for your choice.


Sell or Keep?

Several years ago a painting by Caravaggio was discovered in the living quarters of a Jesuit Seminary in Ireland. It had been donated by a woman on her death and not identified as a Caravaggio. The Jesuits could not afford to properly display and protect it and it was worth an unbelievable amount of money. What do you think happened to the painting?

 Thoughts about Art Worksheet


What is Art?


My definition of art:

Art is:




Today I considered the following ideas and questions about art:




The characteristics of art that I consider to be most important are:




My definition of art, at the end of the day, is:




Questions I would like to think about:

Download this worksheet as a PDF here:

Aesthetic Activities

Download Related Materials (click on the following pdf files to download)
Aesthetic Questions
Questions for Aesthetics Discussion
I’ve Been Wondering Aesthetics Activity
Writing About Aesthetic Issues