Artistic Expression in Your Workplace Environment: Art

Getting Started

In this learning activity, you’ll continue to explore the idea of aesthetics as informed by the bible and learning science.  You will expand your understanding of our God-given aesthetic capacity and its relationship to all of life, including your work.

Upon successful completion of the course material, you will be able to:

  • Discover how Christianity aesthetically expresses thoughts and feelings through music and art.
  • Analyze self-selectedexamples of workplace art and music using the language of Western aesthetics.
  • Criticize the use of music or art in your workplace.

Resources

Background Information

Definitions Review:

Imago Dei: Humans are made in the likeness of God both in physical and spiritual form.

Biblical Dimensions of Human Experience: heart (feelings), soul (will), strength (physical) and mind (thoughts)

Bloom’s Domains of Human Experience: affective (feelings), psychomotor (physical), cognitive (thoughts)

Worship:  Expressing love for God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, often through creative forms of musical and artistic expression.

Aesthetic Encounter: Simultaneously interacting with music or art with all our heart (affective), mind (cognitive), soul (will) and strength (psychomotor).

Aesthetics: Fully accessing, then discussing a work’s inspirations, messages and meanings, and potential as a memorable and valuable experience in life.

God-given aesthetic capacity: The meansby which we can know and relate to God plus enjoy the fullness of life as God meant for us to live it.

Emotionalistic Aesthetic Scanning: Inspiration and value are discovered in a work of art or music through its vivid communication of moods, feelings, and sentiments.

Functionalistic Aesthetic Scanning: Meaning and value are discovered in a work of art or music by fully understanding the history and original purpose for which it was created – a commemorative portrait, an object of house décor, a cathedral for worship, a song or hymn of “praise,” a national anthem, or an overture to a musical, ballet or opera.

Formalistic Aesthetic Scanning: Meaning and value are discovered in a work of art or music by thoughtful consideration of the creative and skillful arrangement and presentation of its essential elements.

Biblical Dimensions and Bloom’s Domains of Human Experience:

Leveraging Your God-given Aesthetic Capacity in the Workplace

In Workshop 3, we considered how Jesus wants us to live life leveraging all we are – our maximum personal potential – to live well or in His words “to the full.”  Here again are Jesus’ words from the gospel of John.

(Jesus speaks) “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10b (NIV)

In addition, we also discussed how your God-given aesthetic capacity is the means by which you can know and relate to God plus enjoy the fullness of life as God meant for you to live it.  It is God’s desire for you to develop and leverage each dimension personally.  This was described in last workshop’s scripture as well as those preceding it.  Here is a visual organizer of how the bible speaks to our discussion.

John 10:10 Living life to the full  Luke 10:27a Loving God with all your…John 4:23-24 Interacting with God in…
 Satisfying physical InteractionsStrengthWorship
Transforming thoughtful InteractionsMindTruth
Powerful emotional InteractionsHeartSpirit

The apostle Paul understood the interdependent relationship of thoughts and feelings in both worship and all of life as well. In the following scripture, he suggests to the early church at Corinth how they should use artistic expression both thoughtfully and passionately.

15 I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. 1 Corinthians 14:15b (NIV)

Paul suggests that music can promote a deeper understanding of the essential messages and ideas in life as he describes singing with “my understanding.”  He also supports the notion that we can passionately express how we feel about these same ideas as he describes singing with “my spirit.” 

The music and art that surrounds us in life is a means by which we can communicate specific ideas and how earnestly we feel about them. This extends into our everyday workplace, as well it should. Music and art help us communicate, even converse about, the ideas that surround our work and how deeply we feel about it.  Encountering music and art in the workplace engages our cognitive understanding about the nature of our work and well as cultivates the interests and passions related to our professional activities.

The following conversation is admittedly utilitarian in nature.  We will consider how music and art can engage our human aesthetic capacity as a means toward an end.  This is not to be misunderstood as perhaps the higher, nobler uses of art and music in life.  These would involve both the worship of God and celebrating our historic legacy of artistic and creative expression among the world’s great cultures and civilizations. This conversation is framed practically, to help you understand that it is God’s desire that these worlds not live as fractured, disparate parts of your life.  You can use and enjoy your aesthetic capacity every single day of your life, particularly when at work.  This is one God’s higher-order gifts to you.

The gift of your aesthetic capacity brings certain benefits you can fully understand then leverage in your workplace and in the work that you do.  Consider the following aspects of artistic expression in your workplace.  Where can you help make an “artistic” difference on behalf of your organization’s vision and intentions?

Artistic Expression in Your Workplace Environment:  Art

Interior design and décor is a multi-million dollar service industry.  When an interior design firm helps your organization decorate your working space, they seek to appeal to human aesthetic instincts in the following ways.

The goal of interior design and décor is to artistically illustrate your corporate brand and its values. This is accomplished metaphorically. This metaphor is in the artistic rendering of the colors chosen for the walls, flooring and furniture, for example.  What kind of associations does it create among employees?  What perceptions are created among existing and prospective clients?

It is often proposed that a well-designed interior décor scheme helps motivate employees to be more creative and productive. In health care, it is suggested that an effective décor scheme predisposes patients to healing and recovery.  As an employee or manager, how will you know whether your interior design and décor is effective or not?  Even your dress code makes an artistic statement.  Why not start by asking some of the same questions you’ve used in studying the artwork of this course?

  1. Does the color scheme create a consonant sense of visual unity?  Does the color scheme create a sense of visual excitement through contrast?  How does the color scheme used impact your promotional materials or product packaging?
  2. Think about the aesthetic impact of line in your workspace décor.  Are you using wallpaper or carpet?  Describe the impact of line in the artistic designs and patterns in your wallpaper and carpet.  Does the use of line in the room create unity or contrast between the walls, the floor, and furnishings?  Does the presence of line in your workspace illustrate a certain emotional undertone? Think of the impact of geometrically angular lines versus rounded and curved lines. How about soft, diffused lines as opposed to clear and sharp lines?  How does the use of line appeal to the aesthetic perception of your employees or customers?
  3. Think of the use of literal textures.  Are your wallpapers textured?  What is the texture of the seating furniture, particularly those your customers will use. What is the intended aesthetic association created by each of these? 
  4. Is there wall art or sculptures used in the décor of your workspace?  Is it representational or non-representational?  What kind of representational subjects are used?  How does the form of each work impact your clients and associates?  How does the use of non-representational art help your brand?  What does your wall art say to your customers about your corporate values?  Would a representational wall mural would make a positive brand association?  How does the use of wall art or sculptures appeal to the imagination of your employees or customers?
  5. How is the space in each room being used?  Is there an aesthetic balance between décor furnishings and the square footage available?  Does the room seem stark and empty with wasted space?  Does the space feel cluttered by the presence of too many furnishings?
  6. What is the aesthetic impact of your corporate logo and its color scheme?  How is it favorably leveraged in your organization’s promotional materials?  What are its artistic strengths and weaknesses? 

Here is where your experience interacting with and analyzing visual art will help you in a very practical way.  In your workplace, you may have the opportunity to participate in interior décor decisions.  When you can offer an informed personal response, based on how you apply what you’ve learned in this course, you’re making an important, value-adding contribution. This may be a significant opportunity for you.  In addition, a course like this helps prepare you to ask these kinds of artistic workplace questions as both a prospective owner/manager and as an employee.

Artistic Expression in Your Workplace Environment:  Music

How is your organization leveraging music to aesthetically engage both employees and customers?  There are essentially two places to look.  The first has to do with marketing and promotion.  There is no question that well-presented music creates a positive association with your brand.  The second has to do with the use of music in the workplace.  Many would suggest that permitting employees to use music as they work creates positive morale and actually enhances creativity and productivity.  Others propose that playing music throughout a building’s sound system creates certain aesthetic associations as well.  What does your further research tell you on the subject? 

Consider the “music bed” or “music underscore” played in commercials describing your products and services to prospective customers. What kind of style is it?  Is it based on a contemporary popular style?   Does the use of that style appeal to a particular demographic or target market?  What kinds of musical styles do you think might best represent your organization’s brand and corporate values?  Does your organization have a musical theme or theme-based “jingle” they use consistently?  Think of the musical statements you hear and see in radio, TV and internet advertising. How do they appeal to your aesthetic capacity?  Do they create positive associations – or negative?

  1. Think about the use of melody.  Is there a melodic theme present that is memorable?  Commercial composers call this “catchy” and refer to the “hook” within the music.  This has to do with favorably engaging a listener’s aesthetic attention with something interesting or valuable.  They use the same techniques you’ve studied.  A tune is “catchy” because aesthetic interest is created by the use of contrast.  It has a “hook” because a recurring motif creates familiarity when repeated.  Now, you know this as well.
  2. Think of the harmony and tonality of the music.  Is the harmonic framework in a major or minor tonality?  How does dissonance or tension lead to a sense of consonance or repose?  Is it interesting?  Is it trite and overly simplistic?  Is simplicity part of its creative impact?
  3. Consider how the arranger uses rhythm.  Is the rhythm driving and accented?  Does that connote action and energy?   Is the rhythm more steady or even blurred and obscured?  How does the use of rhythm aesthetically illustrate the goals and intentions of the commercial?
  4. What about the use of sound sources?  Does it use singing human voices?  Does this create a more accessible, relational appeal to the aesthetic capacity of your clients?  Or, is the voice-over or displayed text more important, prompting arrangers to use instrument-based tone sources?
  5. Think about how the use of dynamics adds to a commercial or a jingle.  How did the audio mixer create variety by boosting levels at some points while reducing them in other sections?  How does that create or direct aesthetic interest?  

Your ability to recognize and describe the creative arrangement of music’s essential elements and their aesthetic impact can bring a value-adding contribution to your team’s music usage conversations.  This is a valuable and practical skill.

This is what makes the study of music and art unique as academic disciplines.

No other subjects of study can help you know more about how music and art impact your working world through your amazing, God-given aesthetic capacity.

Instructions

  1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
  2. Reread the Background Information provided here. Note: information in this portion will be included in your 4.2 Workshop Quiz.
  3. Navigate to the Discussion page. 
    1. Create a new thread. Name it “Music or Art in My Workplace – “Student Name.”
  4. Using Video Note (required), create a three-minute oral summary of the use of art OR music in your workplace. If you are not presently employed, describe how either is used in the space in which you complete your studies and assignments. 
    1. If you choose to describe the use of music, post a video frame or hyperlinked example of how music is used by your organization either in its promotional materials or in the building space in which you work.
    1. Next, using Video Note (required), comment on the following:
      1. Use of melody
      1. Use of harmony
      1. Use of Rhythm
      1. Use of Tone Sources
      1. Use of Dynamics
      1. Overall: Is it effective or could it be improved?
    1. If you choose to describe the use of visual art, post a photo or an example of how artistic design is used by your organization either in its products or packaging or in its interior design and decor.
    1. Next, using Video Note (required), comment on the following:
      1. Use of line
      1. Use of color
      1. Use of texture
      1. Use of space
      1. Use of form(s)
      1. Overall: Is it effective or could it be improved?
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