An Aesthetic Experience

“Time spent in leisure and culture is often when our lives are most fulfilling, when we can really be ourselves with friends, family, and people in the community.”

Canadian Index of Wellbeing (University of Waterloo), 2016.

In general terms, experiences with art and objects facilitate experiences for participants no matter their level of subject knowledge, their abilities, or their personal circumstances.  As an art gallery, the AGH examples for Artful Moments are centred on experiences with works of art, but as we will explore in other modules, these kinds of experiences can be facilitated with historical collections, natural settings, and virtual experiences.

An aesthetic experience – that is focusing on something that is experienced through the senses, often with ideas of beauty or appreciation – something that happens without us even trying.  We are constantly bombarded with visual stimuli, and our reactions are almost instant.  If you see something, you can quickly feel that you like it or you don’t, and your feelings evolve from there.  Anyone can have an aesthetic experience, regardless of their abilities.

Art (and objects) can help you to see things in a new way.  They can open you to new experiences, emotions, and interpretations, and even recollections of past experiences.  They can take you out of the everyday.  This is a transformative experience.

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