What starts as practical creativity often moves into something beyond function. Whether it’s a quilt from Gee’s Bend, pottery by Charles Smith or furniture from Noguchi, Saarinen and Eames, at what point does craft become art?

What defines fine art from other forms, and where is the role of utility? Is there a higher aim in decoration?

On Thursday, Aug. 3, at 6 p.m. a panel of local artists and academics will discuss these criteria and whether boundaries exist at all in a special program at the Mobile Museum of Art (4850 Museum Drive).

Entrance is free. For more information, call Elizabet Elliott at 251-208-5200 or go to mobilemuseumofart.com.

Eclectic month for MAC

The Mobile Arts Council (318 Dauphin St.) has a trio of exhibitions to welcome the last complete month of summer, running the gamut from young ideas to new art forms to new ideas with old crafts.

In the Danielle Juzan Gallery, the James T. Strickland Youth Center projects “Brush Up” and “Speak Up” will be featured. One program — a product of initiatives from Judge Edmond Naman, Riley Brenes and Devin Ford among other community leaders and the subject of this week’s Lagniappe cover story — opted to let Strickland youth complete public art to beautify blighted structures. The kids also tackled another project wherein they “bared their souls for film.”

The graffiti art and fashion-inspired exhibit “An Infamous Tag” will occupy the Small Room. The work is the product of designers Jordan Atchison, Tony Davis and Justin Tulle.

The Skinny Gallery will feature Under the Sea from the Azalea City Quilters Guild. The group made nontraditional patterns, then employed innovative techniques such as ice-dying before utilizing unique materials in tailoring their singular designs of aquatic worlds.

There will be an opening reception from 6-9 p.m. during the Sept. 8 LoDa Artwalk.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance is free.

For more information, call 251-432-9796 or go to mobilearts.org.

Compiled by Kevin Lee.