Decoding & Encoding

Artichoke in a frameDecoding the meaning of a work of art can be likened to the experience of preparing to eat an artichoke.

An artwork as well as this strange vegetable may present some unique challenges when you finally try to prepare or eat one. The process for eating an artichoke seems somewhat unintuitive – its fruit can’t be eaten in its raw form because its sharp leaf tips and tough fibers can wreak havoc on your digestive system. On the other hand, when carefully approached, an artichoke can be a delicious, healthy and unusual addition to almost any meal.

Because a work of art just sits (or hangs) there, the viewer has to actively do the work to decode it.  At first, peeling the sharp tipped, tiny leaves of artichoke seems to provide little reward, but as we continue to pull off the leaves they begin to reveal some flesh that gives us a light taste of the vegetable.  Finally, as we go persist and get deeper, we locate the heart of the artichoke and, once we remove tough fibers, we can taste its soft and unique essence.  When we seek the meaning of a work of art, and take the time to fully explore its formal, thematic and contextual nature, we can see it more fully and gain unique insights about its significance and relevance.  Instead of listening to an expert provide information, when we ourselves go through the active decoding process, we become more fully informed about each work through our process of discovery.


Decoding Meaning in Art

Today’s learners decode meaning through the informative process of critical response of society’s images, ideas, and media   of the past as well as that which permeates our increasingly complex visual world.  FTC provides a a balanced way to decode and thus more fully understand the form, theme, and context of art, museums, and other phenomena as we experience them.

Encoding Meaning in Art

Marking & Mapping Image by Renee SandellArt teachers play a vital role in fostering artistic and visual literacy in all citizens—from cradle-to-  grave. Today’s learners of all ages require 21st century skills that enable them to encode visual concepts through the transformative process of creative expression.  Everyone can engage in creative expression to create images and ideas by exploring the form, theme and context of our  experience.


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