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What is the difference, if any, between 'art', 'the arts', and 'Art'?

Which is more correct in describing a software developer: art developer or arts developer? If you have additional ideas, please choose one from these two first and then post what you think.

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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Marthaª, aedia λ, kiamlaluno, Mitch Mar 18 '12 at 22:04

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Art refers to a single piece of artwork. Arts (often written as "the arts") refers to artistic fields in general.

They acquired four new pieces of art at the museum.

Please consider supporting the theater, and keeping the arts alive in your community.

So, of the two, "art developer" would be preferred, because the developer works on individual pieces of art.

That said, perhaps graphics developer would be better for the software field.

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As an ex-software developer, I agree with JR - the term "art(s) developer" would probably not be understood in that context. –  DavidR Mar 16 '12 at 10:22
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I can't choose between them, because neither phrase means anything to me in the context of software.

"Art" usually means visual arts (painting, drawing, sculpture, graphic design etc). (I am excluding "the art of ... " which is a different meaning)

"Arts" always means creative activities more general, including things like music and literature.

So (without context) "arts developer" suggests a person whose job is developing the arts (including music etc) in some community; "art developer" (which I find less likely) would mean somebody whose job was to develop visual art in a community.

I repeat that I can find no meaning in either phrase in the context of a software developer.

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The distinction here is that "art" is either a specific work, or a collection of works, whereas "the arts" is a collection of collections. The Free Dictionary has a pretty good breakdown of the difference on their page for "the arts" — http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/the+arts.

A good summary is this definition: "imaginative, creative, and nonscientific branches of knowledge considered collectively, esp. as studied academically." Thus, if your job is not specifically developing the entire study of the fields of art, or, alternately, of a local community of artists and creatives ("the arts community"), I would not use the term "arts developer" in reference to yourself.

Additionally, I'd like to echo the concerns of the other answers. "Arts developer" means nothing to me, and I work in the software development field, in a largely context. What specifically do you do? There is likely a much clearer way of expressing it that skirts this issue entirely.

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Unrelated, but interesting to note: the Free Dictionary article on "the arts" seems to be identical to the Wikipedia one. The language makes me suspect that the TFD article is directly plagiarized from Wikipedia... but in both sites, they reference "the definition from The Free Dictionary". Strange that The Free Dictionary refers to itself in the third person here. Where, then, did this definition originally come from? –  heathenJesus Mar 16 '12 at 14:48
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