United Kingdom #5: Art and It’s Impact on Society

Allison Kostiuk ’25 and Charlotte Steffensen ’25, reflect on the meaning of art and how it impacts society while having a lesson in watercolor painting and learning about street art.

The question that today led off with was, “What is the relationship between art and society?” We thought of ways that society has been moved by art either politically or in general. We also thought about how art could bring society together in certain ways that could result in positive outcomes.

Mrs. Taylor gave us a brief helpful lesson on watercolor painting as we sat upon a deck overlooking the London skyline. We then moved off to find places to practice those learned skills. We sat for about an hour and a half taking in our surroundings and the view trying to produce watercolor art.

After taking the bus to Shoreditch, we met up with our street art tour guide David. Upon being introduced to David, it was inspiring to see how interested he was in street art based on the unique way that he spoke about the artwork. On the tour, we saw art by well-known artists like Banksy and other street artists like Pablo Fiasco. David discussed the differences between street art and graffiti, how to identify which pieces were created by which artists, and the different spray painting techniques.

We then walked to Spitalfields Market to explore the clothing and jewelry vendor booths that were set up around the market. Outside of Spitalfields Market, we met as a group to have a discussion about how our question of the day connected and could be applied to our street art tour. Students talked in groups about how street art represents society because of how anyone can modify or disagree with it. We also discussed the impacts of street art on neighboring buildings and on the community.

To finish the day, we ate a delicious barbecue dinner at Smokestack before taking the bus back to our hotel.