Arts Awareness Monthly E-Newsletter | November 2014
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Welcome to the November 2014 edition of Arts Awareness E-Newsletter delivered to your desktop each month. If you know someone who may be interested in receiving this newsletter, please let them know how to sign up through


Images, movement, and sounds in works of art can be understood in more than one way. In fact, most artists know that appreciation and interpretation from multiple perspectives is an important characteristic of their work. Artists set the scene, so to speak, but don’t stipulate what another person must see or hear. Participating in the artistic process is incredibly powerful. It’s also powerful for the artist along with other viewers or listeners to step back and seek inherently personal and satisfying meaning from a work. Artworks thrive on this sort of ambiguity that, without distracting, multiplies potential meanings and invites interpretations and various perspectives.

Take advantage of the ambiguity in the world.
 Look at something and think what else it might be.

~ Roger von Oech
Ambiguities in successful works of art emerge from the intuitive and often playful eye or ear of the observer. That experimentation with meaning adds richness to the work as a whole. We can do the same with the complexities in life. It’s obvious that the world is changing at an ever-increasing pace today. Change is a certainty and ambiguity is a part of our everyday experience.
A sculpture is three-dimensional and invites you to view it from multiple sides and angles. The famous David sculpture by Michelangelo has been viewed as a religious symbol, a political ideal, and a representation of strength. Appreciated today for its aesthetic beauty, the eyes, facial expression, bulging veins in the neck and hands, and position of the body can show multiple layers of meaning.

What do you see in these cropped images of the sculpture?
  • Strength?
  • Intensity and readiness?
  • A moment between conscious choice and action?
  • A feeling of motion?
  • A sense of worthiness, beauty, and achievement—a Renaissance sense of life?
  • Thinking, firm, unyielding—or concerned and troubled?
  • A commitment or coldness?
  • Beauty of the human body?
Ambiguity is something I really respond to. I like the complexity of it.
~ Robert Redford
Successful artists are often intrigued by the various interpretations of their work. How can we all deal with ambiguity like an artist, embrace the uncertainty we face, and view our complex experiences with fascination and interest?
  • Let go of trying to control everything.
  • Be willing to change course.
  • Learn to move forward without “all of the information.”
  • Understand there is not a specific “defined plan” to follow.
  • Have confidence in your ability to respond to things that aren’t in your control.
  • Use your intuition—listen to your subconscious voice.
Just as in creating or viewing a work of art, we have much to gain and owe it to ourselves to go beyond a position of simply “liking” or disliking” something. Ambiguity can be exciting. We can all continue to learn, to engage in positive meaning making, and to create interpretations of our own that contribute in a positive way to the whole of our experience. We can all practice and learn to manage the complexity of what we experience in our lives. Artists move forward amidst the uncertainty. They expect the uncertainty. It’s part of the allure. 
Listen to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings in in the following versions.
What Did You Discover?
You have likely heard this work performed live in a concert setting, at memorial events, or in TV shows and movies. But stop for a moment and consider what it means for you. What do you hear right now? Can you separate yourself from any images of previous experiences? List as many meanings as you can for each version.  Avoid likes and dislikes, but rather truly feel and note the meaning at that moment for you.
  • Was the experience different for each?
  • Were you able to let go of any previous experiences of the piece and open to new images and perceptions?
  • Did you discover something that advanced or expanded your understanding of the work? 

Interesting-check it out
I left the ending ambiguous, because that is the way life is.
~ Bernardo Bertolucci
Contact Dr. Patricia Hoy for media appearances, to book her to speak at your event, or to engage her workshop or consulting services—

Guest Speaking—Corporate, Education, or Arts Events—that provides motivation for launching the beginning a project, keynote theme inspiration, or setting the foundation for a goal to be achieved.
Customized Consulting; In-Service Workshops; On-Site Training Institutes; Seminars; Conference Sessions; Seminars; and Round Tables—all specially designed for Businesses, Companies, Educational Institutions, Organizations, or Arts Groups.

About the Arts Awareness Newsletter:

This newsletter is meant to spark ideas and develop a deeper understanding of artistic processes and their use in leadership, everyday life, and work. Content, which comes from personal experiences and a variety of sources, is based on the Arts Awareness concepts developed by Patricia Hoy. Questions? Comments? Contact Patricia at or 901-229-1955, N. 93rd Way, Scottsdale, AZ.

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