Somerset Arts

About The Arts

Throughout time from cave dwellers to contemporary video games culture, the term “the arts” is a phrase that is bandied around as a catch all for almost all kinds of creative endeavour that are ultimately designed for human pleasure.

Art in all its forms, expresses mankind’s creative instincts and reflect his cultural surroundings.

Broadly speaking, it embraces 3 different generic forms:



Ever since man began making symbols carved in stone or etched on papyrus, he has used the written word to tell stories, compose songs, craft poetry etc.

The word “literature” is derived from a Latin word called littera or a single character. And literature itself is familiarity with letters and the composition of letters into words, sentences, paragraphs, chapter, books and so on.

Literature is classified in many ways including fiction (made up stories) and non-fiction (factual stories), poetry, prose and drama including film scripts and plays.

Literary forms include books, newspapers, magazines, posters, comics, e-books, screen and live action plays across many genre including story telling, myths, epics, poetry and legends and its value to culture and society cannot be underestimated.

The most famous literary figures include: William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Emily Dickenson, William Wordsworth, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, DH Lawrence, TS Eliot and in more recent times George Orwell, and Ian Fleming.


As the description suggests, performing arts are created by people called performers.

Performers can be singers, comedians, actors, dancers, magicians who will often wear special costumes for their performances, have make up applied to their faces, use props and special effects as part of their act.

Poetry recitals, storytelling, comedy, dancing, acrobatics, juggling, performing magic tricks and theatre are just a few forms of performing art.

A second category of performing art is music. This is a longstanding art form which uses a combination of different sounds played on different musical instruments and instrumental ensembles eg piano, orchestra, bands


Music comprises harmony, melody, rhythm, tempo and pitch. Cultural aspects directly influence musical compositions which can be formal written scores or impromptu performances.

Music has many forms and genres including classical, popular, jazz, folk, operatic and ceremonial.


Theatre is about performers appearing “live” in front of a large number of people called an audience. Different types of production include: plays, musicals, operas, ballet and stand up comedy.

Performers use the spoken word, dance, use gestures, music to entertain by telling stories, jokes, singing and/or dancing as well.


Dancing is a form of what is referred to as non verbal communication based on the moving human form. This movement can comprise, shapes made with parts of the body, locomotion across a performing space using steps, skipping and jumping.

A dance is choreographed or planned and rehearsed in advance in order to deliver a good rendition or performance.

Many different cultural, artistic, social and creative influences impact on the form of dance and among the many forms are : ballet, musical, folk, disco, acrobatic and athletic.


A great many arts programmes rely on funding for their creation and sustainability.


Visual arts as the name suggests, are activities designed to provide a visual stimulus for human appreciation, wonder, intrigue and enjoyment.

Since the beginning of time, human beings have expressed themselves using visual imagery from cave paintings to the very latest internet videos.


Drawing is about creating recognisable shapes letters or images. It involves the use of any number of different tools or implements including fingers, pens, pencils, charcoal, crayons, chalk, spray paint to make the markings.

In the last 15 years, digital version of these tools have also become commonplace. The markings include straight and curved lines, fill colours, shading, highlights, shadows etc. Drawing is used to create illustrations, schematic diagrams, cartoons, pictures, animations and portraits.


Like drawing, painting involves creating shape and form. However painting involves the application of pigments in a liquid solution or paint as it is commonly referred to.

Paint is applied to many different surfaces and substrates including wood, masonry, canvas, paper and metal. Pictorial and portraiture is a common for of creative expression with painting to convey activity, features, emotion and décor.


Photography is similar to painting in some ways in that it captures imagery on celluloid film or as a digital electronic file. Many different forms of photography exist including artistic, journalistic or commercial. Even industrial photography especially the genre tracing our industrial heritage depicting factories through the ages with old lifting equipment inspection, mines, railways, canals and mills.

Expression can capture real life events, staged compositions and geographical panoramic views in still life format.

Film & Videography

One could say that capturing the moving image is very similar to photography but the output is more dynamic involving as it does live action.

The type of inventive video production Manchester artisans are renowned for involves all the creative aspects of photography including, lighting, film work etc, but with an added dimension of post production sound and film or digital video editing. Video productions are commonplace in television, on the internet, in presentations, on news reports and in video games.

BBC Arts Website


Derived from the Greek word arkhitekton which means director of building works, architecture is the classic combination of science and art used to design landscapes, structures and buildings.

Anything structural that impacts on the human living condition is affected by what an architect does whether it is designing an open space like a park, urban town planning or street furniture.

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