The word “art” comes from the Latin word ars and means “technique or skill”. That is why it is possible to state: art is a communicative manifestation of the human species that comes from many years ago.

If we were to define art or fine art, we could say that it has an aesthetic character and is closely related to the sensations and emotions of people in general. Starting with the seven classical arts we know: architecture, sculpture, painting, music, literature, dance and cinema. Within each classic art there is a universe of possibilities.

However, art goes far beyond definitions in words. Throughout history, art has suffered so many inferences that it must be said that its definition may vary according to a certain time.

With that said, the question that remains: what would  be of society without art? Its role is so important in the formation of the human being, that it is practically impossible to talk about the human history without mentioning art. There is no precision as to when the human being felt the need to express itself through art, because it is inherent to the species.

There is a large number of theories that seek to explain the appearence of art. But, after all, what is the role of art in our community? The answer to this question is given when we find ourselves in the scenario imposed by social isolation, for example. Faced with the new coronavirus, a scenario in wihich is unimaginable we could not listen to music, watch movies, play instruments, paint, draw or read is unimaginable.

The transformation brought about by art in our community can happen through several means: music, theater, dance, visual arts or any other form of artistic expression. In the following text, we will understand the concept of classical art and popular art, with its respective examples. Let’s go?

Classical art and popular art: understanding the concepts

Popular and classical art: do you know what is the difference?Classical art, classic style create works of universal values. It is the result of the work of great artists who have technical and formal knowledge. The classical works are milestones of certain times and bring reflections on the ways of plastic expression and conceptual innovations.

Popular art is where the artist is self-taught in his practices: modeling, structure or even in music. Without the need for an art school, these artists create works that also have their recognized aesthetic and artistic value. Another important factor tabout popular art: it is intuitive and addresses values ​​geared to the locality. It also represents beliefs, legends and mores of a certain culture. The popular artist synthesizes his own universe, the one in which he lives — in other words, his routine.

You have probably heard about the term “music”, right? Classical music and popular music. Here is a good example for us to begin understanding the main difference between these two strands of art.

Popular music is one that is available to the great masses in its most different genres, such as those songs from your favorite band that you routinely listen to. Classical music is composed by a musical elite that brings together a select group of great composers who have eternalized their works over the centuries.

With that, it is possible to understand that popular art is made by the artist considered to be one of the masses, who learned to make his art as sculptures, modeling and other things without having necessarily attended art school. Even so, they manage to create works that have a great aesthetic and artistic recognition all over the world. Generally, popular art is more focused on local values. It also represents beliefs, legends and mores of a certain culture. The popular artist translates the universe of things pertinent to his experience.

Classical art is also aimed at an elite of artists where their works represent universal values. It results from a great knowledge of techniques that justify his great reputation. As an example, we have Leonardo Da Vinci who immortalized his name with great works that nowadays belong to the Louvre Museum collection, in France.

Lixo Extraordinário

A great example of popular art that is worth mentioning is the Anglo-Brazilian documentary “Lixo Extraordinário (Waste Land)” launched in 2010. The documentary depicts the work of the plastic artist Vik Muniz and the recyclable material collectors, in one of the largest controlled landfills in the world, Jardim Gramacho — which is a peripheral neighborhood in the municipality of Duque de Caxias.

Lixo Extraordinário shows the creation of works of art with material collected at the landfill. During these productions, between the years 2007 and 2008, transformations happened in the lives and perspectives of the seven waste pickers who participated in the project. The documentary portrays exactly the power of art in the transformation of a community.

Crescendo! The Power of Music

A movie that portrays the concept of erudite art. Another one for the list that proofs that art is a tool for transformation is the documentary “Crescendo! The Power of Music”, by Jamie Bernstein. The documentary follows three children, one in Harlem and two in Philadelphia, who study in schools where the Venezuelan music program “El sistema” was adopted as a teaching methodology that aims to bring music, discipline and a positive trajectory to children living in low-income locations. It is worth checking out the incredible and surprising result that moves every and each one who watches.

Wanna know which one is best? There is no way to define it. As we said, art moves emotion and feelings and there is no way to say which one moves people the most because all the emotion that art creates is something very individual and will depend solely and exclusively on the person who captures this art.

It is worth mentioning that, over the years, classical art was very elite, something that resonates to the present day, causing many to dislike classical art precisely because they have never had contact and did not create an interest for it.

Discover communities transformed by art around the world

There is no doubt art has a transformative power. This is undeniable. Understanding this is essential to know that art goes beyond the limits of museums and galleries and is on the streets. In fact, art surpasses any barrier that can be imposed.

It may be possible that it will not be immortalized in books or perpetuates through history and become part of the collective imagination, but its power of transformation in the lives of people and cities is real.

Graffiti is a beautiful example of this. Considered a popular art, this artistic expression is quite common in public spaces. Its appearance took place in the United States of America, more precisely in New York. There are reports that some young people started to leave marks on the city walls and, with the passage of time, these marks have evolved, undergoing a transformation that took the practice to another level.

Because it is an artistic movement that appeared on the streets, there is still a strong prejudice about this artistic expression. But even so, graffiti gathers beautiful works with the most different names that have become a reference and inspiration for many. In addition, graffiti is highly associated hip hop, making it very attractive to young audiences and revealing many new art talents that undergo a real transformation in life.

Now you will see some cities that have been transformed by art. One in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Pachuca in Mexico and Detroit

Rio de Janeiro

The “Favela Painting” project is the result of the union of Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn. They came to Brazil to record a documentary that portrays the daily lives of people who inhabit the favelas of the city of Rio de Janeiro and got extremely impressed with the way that communities were formed.

Through art, the duo managed to transform places that were previously very marginalized and considered symbols of the country's social inequality into large ones with incredible works. A first beautiful example of how art has a great power of transformation.


Our second city that is an example of how art is able to transform is Pachuca, which is in Mexico, more precisely in Palmitas. There, there was a project similar to Favela Painting where the curatorship was of the group German Crew. This project involved more than 200 buildings, 452 families and 20 thousand square meters of walls.

The initiative generated a great integration of the community and, consequently, the violence in the region was eradicated, besides transforming the space in an excellent tourist point that moved the local economy. Second example that it is more than certain to say that art has a transformative power.


Our third example is in Detroit, Michigan, USA. A city that, after a severe crisis, went from having 1.8 million inhabitants to having 700 thousand. Something that left the place with an air of a post-apocalyptic movie.

Thanks to the artistic movement, the city gained a new direction. In the hands of those who make art, the crisis became a fuel to develop creativity and transform empty walls into real paintings. In addition, the low cost of real estate provided the creation of art spaces.

Write A House is a clear example of this. In addition to renovating homes in Detroit, the organization makes space available for new writers. With this example, no one has any doubt that art has a huge power of transformation.


Was it possible to better understand the transformative power of art not only in the community but also in creating a whole lifestyle? Through art is possible to create new perspectives, expand horizons and promote social inclusion.

The transformative power of art is very broad. It goes from individual transformation to the level of creating new spheres of thoughts and movements that are manifested through dance, painting and music, as in the case of hip hop.