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Spiritual Fuel: Appreciating Various Forms of Art

Linda Mann, Shoshana Milgram, Michael Paxton, Sandra Shaw, Thomas Shoebotham, Aaron Smith

Presented at: OCON 2016

Date: Jul 01, 2016

Ayn Rand viewed art as indispensable to human life—as a form of spiritual fuel that offers a vision of what life “might be and ought to be.” But different artistic forms provide that fuel in different ways, and it takes a special effort to learn how to appreciate the value in, say, a piece of music versus a work of literature.

This course will help you find value in art—offering guidance on how to savor a variety of artistic media. The course begins with an overview of Rand’s theory of art and its role in human life, and then each session will focus on a particular artistic form and be taught by speakers with professional expertise in that form.

What Is Art and Why Does It Matter?
What is art? What explains the deeply personal reaction we have to art? Why does Rand think that art is so important to human life? In this session Aaron Smith will provide an overview of Rand’s view of the nature of art and its role in human life.

The value of the visual arts: How to Appreciate Sculpture and Still Life Painting
Sculpture chiefly dramatizes the human figure in three-dimensional form for us to contemplate. As with all art, what we look for in sculpture affects what we gain from it. This talk will explain how sculpture embodies ideas that enhance our lives. Key aspects of sculpture will be highlighted in a vivid slide presentation. The nature of sculpture, and the esthetic value that is unique to it, will be demonstrated with sample artworks from the past and present.

What is the value of still life painting? A good still life presents us with an intimate, intentional, largely man-made world to contemplate. Free of the randomness of nature seen in landscape painting and the emphasis on man’s character in figurative painting, the viewer can focus on composition and how objects are portrayed. Linda Mann will demonstrate how these aspects of still life can emphasize the crucial ideas that the external world exists, is beautiful and that man is capable of the delight of seeing it.

Listening to Music: An Ear Training Approach (Part 1 and 2)
Music is a subject that many people are very passionate about, yet also a subject that many people find very difficult to describe. These two courses will present the basic principles of music and examine the various elements that make it up. With the help of many live and recorded examples, attendees will gain a better appreciation of how musical materials are integrated and will also be given strategies for further studies that will deepen their understanding of this most elusive of art forms.

Finding Fuel in Short Fiction: Giving Full Conscious Value to the Writer’s Choices

A man, after reflecting on his life and career, resolves to change course. How can his aspiration become our inspiration? As readers of a short story, published in 1912 by a writer who went on to win a Pulitzer Prize (and to defend The Fountainhead), we will explore how an artist chose to portray moral self-awakening. 

Cinema as Art—It’s Not Just Entertainment: How to Analyze, Judge and Discuss Movies

From formulating a movie’s theme to isolating the various cinematic elements that make up a film, this session will present an objective template for analyzing and discussing movies. A quick conceptual and practical guide for lovers of the most complex art form, the session will also define the role of the director, cinematographer, screenwriter, editor and other key roles. This will help those who want to be able to discuss movies intelligently and objectively, and with the proper terminology.


Parts: 6

Handout: none


  • e-Store, 2017 (En) - Finding Fuel in Short Fiction: Giving Full Conscious Value to the Writer’s Choices, by Shoshana Milgram