Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Arts Education Connection #5: Unity and Variety

Third Installment in my series on Arts Elements and Principles

The complementary arts principles of variety and unity are this week's topic—building on last week's post on contrast. The principles of unity and variety are important in all four arts disciplines. Whether composing music or a dance, writing a play, or creating a painting or graphic design, the artist must strive for wholeness and cohesiveness—unity—while introducing enough variety to prevent a work that is monotonous.

Exploring these principles in an arts class could set the stage for other investigations. Consider: In science, children marvel at the vast variety of species while seeking to impose unity through classifying them. In math, they create a whole shape from a variety of shapes. In reading, they look for a common theme that unifies a novel or poem and for the variety of ways the author or poet uses to present that theme. In writing or speaking, they work on making sure they use variety to keep the audience's interest while building on a thesis. In social studies, they consider the many cultures and ethnic groups that make one United States or the many nations that make one world.

Photo Credits: Stefano Corso, AgĂȘncia Brasil, Justin, Peter Halasz, Mark Harden's Artchive

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