Visual arts education

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

  (Redirected from Art education)
Jump to: navigation, search
1881 painting by Marie Bashkirtseff, In the Studio, depicts an art school life drawing session, Dnipropetrovsk State Art Museum, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine

Visual arts education is the area of learning that is based upon the tangible, visual artsdrawing, painting, sculpture, and design in jewelry, pottery, weaving, fabrics, etc. and design applied to more practical fields such as commercial graphics and home furnishings. Contemporary topics include photography, video, film, design, computer art, etc.


The first recorded art schools were established in 400 BC Greece, as mentioned by Plato. The Greeks created beautiful free standing statues of their gods and goddesses. They also created exquisite pottery covered with pictures of great mythological battles. Creating such monuments to the Greek gods became an important part of their culture.

In Roman culture, art was similar to the style of the Greeks, though the Romans preferred to create sculptures of real people and events and fewer of their gods. Their inspiration was said to have come from, “The various emperors throughout Rome's history who were often an inspiration for art. Real-life events such as great battles and catalysts for change also were represented in art”.[citation needed] Though their styles in sculptures were the same, it is said that, “the Greeks focused on durability and the beauty of the images, the Romans focused on the details and accuracy.”[citation needed]


The Drawing Class, by Michiel Sweerts, c. 1656

Historically art was taught in Europe via the atelier method system[1] where artists took on apprentices who learned their trade in much the same way as that of guilds such as the stonemasons or goldsmiths. During the Renaissance formal training took place in art workshops. It was in these ateliers that artists learned the craft through apprenticeship to masters, a relationship that was controlled by guild statutes. Florentine contracts dating from the late 1200s state that the master was expected to clothe and feed the apprentice, who was called upon to be a faithful servant in return. An apprentice often paid the master during the early years of his education; assuming the apprenticeship was productive, the student would be compensated later in his training. Northern European workshops featured similar terms.[2]

Initially, learning to draw was a priority in this system. Cennino Cennini recommended that a young painter spend a year on drawing alone, then six years grinding colors, preparing panels and using gold leaf, during which time the study of drawing would continue. Another six years would be required to master fresco and tempera painting.[3]

Historically, design has had some precedence over the fine arts with schools of design being established all over Europe in the 18th century. These examples of skill and values from the early European art inspired later generations, including the Colonists of early America.

Children, youth, and adults learn about art in community based institutions and organizations such as museums, local arts agencies, recreation centers, places of worship, social service agencies, and prisons, among many other possible venues. The visual arts education encompasses all the visual and performing arts delivered in a standards-based, sequential approach by a qualified instructor as part of the core curriculum.


Art model posing in a French painting school

There are thousands of arts education curricular models or arts-based professional development for teachers that schools and community organizations use. Some assert that the core discipline of Western art education is the practice of drawing, a model which has existed since the Renaissance. This is an empirical activity which involves seeing, interpreting and discovering appropriate marks to reproduce an observed phenomena. It can be asserted that other art activities involve imaginative interpretation.[citation needed] Others would assert though, that issue based approaches, such as a visual culture approach to art education, define K-12 art learning today.

Prominent models include:

In most systems, “criticism” is understood to be criteria-based analysis established on acknowledged elements of composition and principles of design which often vary in their verbal articulation, between the different art discipline forms (applied, fine, performing, & etc.) and their many schools. Other art educational systems include the study of Aesthetics, ontology, semantics, studio praxis (empirical investigation) and phenomenology. There is no set art education curriculum content – it is a process of continual often acrimonious cultural negotiation.

Some studies show that strong art education programs have demonstrated increased student performance in other academic areas, due to art activities' exercising their brains' right hemispheres and delateralizing their thinking.[4] Also see Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Support for art education, however, varies greatly between communities and between schools in various cultures.

Art education is not limited to formal educational institutions. Some professional artists specialize in private or semi-private instruction in their own studios. One form of this teaching style is the Atelier Method as exemplified by Gustave Moreau who taught Picasso, Braque and many other artists. Another is an artist apprenticeship in which the student learns from a professional artist while assisting the artist with their work.

United Kingdom[edit]

Prince Albert was particularly influential in the creation of schools of Art in the UK. Prince Charles has created The Prince's Drawing School in Hoxton to preserve the teaching of academic drawing. Current UK's curriculum is focus on interdisciplinary approach.

The Netherlands[edit]

Art education in schools in Netherlands strongly improved by the founding of the Dutch Art Teachers Association in 1880 and their Magazine (in 1881). In the seventies of last century were national examinations common in almost all secondary schools. Over the years struggles and problems, discussions about the right way and fights for equal qualification supposedly coloured the history of art education in the Netherlands as in other countries. The details however are of great interest for who will compare these developments with those in his own country. The painter Maarten Krabbé (1908–2005) changed the whole approach towards children drawing and painting. With his books on how to educate children in their free expression (Hidden possibilities | Verborgen Mogelijkheden (8 volumes | delen), uitbeeldingsmogelijkheden voor jonge handen (Sijthoff, Leiden 1961)) he changed the entire educational landscape. He showed how to handle the very delicate talents of children and how to treasure these.

United States[edit]

Adult art education class at the Brooklyn Museum in 1935.

The study of art appreciation in America began with the Picture Study Movement in the late 19th century and began to fade at the end of the 1920s. Picture study was an important part of the art education curriculum. Attention to the aesthetics in classrooms led to public interest in beautifying the school, home, and community, which was known as “Art in Daily Living”. The idea was to bring culture to the child to change the parents.[5] The picture study movement died out at the end of the 1920s as a result of new ideas regarding learning art appreciation through studio work became more popular in the United States.[citation needed]

American educational philosopher and school reformer John Dewey was influential in broadening access to art education in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century.[citation needed]

Since World War II, artist training has moved to colleges and universities, and contemporary art has become an increasingly academic and intellectual field. Prior to World War II an artist did not usually need a college degree. Since that time the Bachelor of Fine Arts and then the Master of Fine Arts became recommended degrees to be a professional artist, facilitated by "the passage of the G.I. Bill in 1944, which sent a wave of World War II veterans off to school, art school included. University art departments quickly expanded. American artists who might once have studied at bohemian, craft-intensive schools like the Art Students League, Black Mountain College, or the Hans Hofmann School of Art in Greenwich Village; began enrolling at universities instead. By the 60s, The School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, and Cooper Union in New York City and other art schools across the country like the Kansas City Art Institute, the San Francisco Art Institute, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Princeton and Yale had emerged as the leading American art academies.[6] This trend spread from the United States around the world.[citation needed]

Enrollment in art classes at the high school level peaked in the late 1960s—early 1970s.[citation needed] With No Child Left Behind (NCLB)[when?] (which retains the arts as part of the "core curriculum", but does not require reporting or assessment data on this area) there has been additional decline of arts education in American public schools.[citation needed] The United States Department of Education now awards Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination grants to support organizations with art expertise in their development of artistic curricula. After 2010, an estimate of 25% of the nation's public high schools will end all art programs.[citation needed]

National organizations promoting arts education include Americans for the Arts[7] including Art. Ask For More.,[8] its national arts education public awareness campaign; Association for the Advancement of Arts Education; Arts Education Partnership.;[9]

Professional organizations for art educators include the National Art Education Association,[10] which publishes the practitioner-friendly journal Art Education and the research journal Studies in Art Education; USSEA (the United States Society for Education through Art) and InSEA (the International Society for Education through Art[11]).

Education through the visual arts is an important and effective influence in allowing students, from an early age, to comprehend and implement the foundational democratic process emphasized within the United States societal structure.[12]

Olivia Gude, the 2009 recipient of the National Art Education Association’s Lowenfeld Lecture Scholarship, spoke about the numerous ways in which art education is instrumental in forming an informed self- and world-aware citizen. She asserts that:

Through art education, students develop enhanced skills for understanding the meaning making of others. Through quality art education, youth develop the capacity to attend to nuances of meaning. Most significantly, engagement with the arts teaches youth to perceive complexity as pleasure and possibility, not as irritating uncertainty. Heightened self-awareness is extended to heightened awareness of others . . .[12]

Special education[edit]

Art education was combined with special education even before there were reforms to create special accommodations for children with special needs in typical classrooms. When it comes to art, art therapists are often used to connect with students with special needs. However, some art therapists pull students out of the classroom, causing them to be restricted in their social learning. Because of this, art therapy is reserved for students who do not have much chance for long-term improvements, but rather short-term developmental skills.[13]

Special educator Jean Lokerson and art educator Amelia Jones wrote that “the art room is a place where learning disabilities can turn into learning assets.” Special needs students often come out of their shells and get enthusiastic about creating. Art is also a way that special educators teach their students fundamentals that they may not even realize.[14]

There are ongoing studies that continue to prove that art and special education go hand in hand. Testing continues to prove that art in any classroom, but especially special education classrooms causes students to be motivated, enthusiastic, and in some cases, even promote learning in other subject areas.[15]

Technology in the classroom[edit]

Technology facilitates and promotes learning. There are school districts that are lagging behind in using technology for Arts Education. It's been proposed that the visual arts curriculum (K-12), be extended beyond just using technology (such as computers, tablets, digital photography, and video) to teaching skills (such as animation, graphic design, game design, fashion & advertising design). There is also a need to continue to integrate the arts curriculum into core subjects.[citation needed]

Technology effect on salaries in careers in the arts[edit]

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, basing their information on the 2010 Census Data, shows commercial art and graphic design as #21 in their popularity list, with an income between $45,000 (50% earnings) and $69,000 (75% earnings). Other art and technology based careers were film video and photographic arts, ranking 54th in popularity, with an income between $45,000 (50% earnings) and $71,000 (75% earnings).[16]

A report presented by PayScale Human Capital examined salary figures for 1,106 colleges and universities nationwide and created a list titled 2014 Jobs for Art and Design Majors by Salary Potential, published September 13, 2013. In this list they mentioned 34 jobs and among them, #1, 2, 4, 9, 18, and 29 were related to Fashion Design, #7, 10, 12, 13, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 27, 31 and 34 were related to art and technology-based jobs such as Illustration, Graphic Design, Product Design (advertising design), and Commercial Photography. More than seventy percent of these jobs required an advanced technological knowledge (mostly of different design software such Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Flash, Premier, Painter, etc.).[17]

Current trends in theory and scholarship[edit]

The domain of art education is broadening to include a wider range of visual and popular culture. Current trends in scholarship employ postmodern and visual culture approaches to art education,[18][19] consider effects of globalism on the production and interpretation of images[20] and focus renewed interest on issues of creativity.[21] Within the NAEA, research and publications are being geared toward issues of learning, community, advocacy, research and knowledge.[22]

International Trends[edit]

Australian Universities which have Visual / Fine Art departments or courses within their institutions have moved from Studio Based teaching models, associated with Art Schools, to more integrated theoretical / practical emphasis. University of Western Australia has moved from a Bachelor of Art degree with theoretical emphasis to a theoretical BA Art degree.

Studio based teaching initiatives integrating contextual and media elements have been implemented as part of a national Studio Teaching Project supported by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) since 2007

  1. Studio Teaching Project [1]

Cultural appropriation within the classroom[edit]

Individuals who employ cultural appropriation have the ability to produce works of considerable aesthetic merit.[23] Using properties of art from different cultures such as decoration or emulation of creative process can foster a greater understanding and appreciation of crafts from different cultures. This technique can be appreciated in the production of African or Native-American mask making projects, where students emulate technique and explore new material use and construction methods which esteem those practices of different cultures.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Atelier instruction
  2. ^ Dunkerton, Jill, et al. Giotto to Durer: Early Renaissance Painting in the National Gallery, 136. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1991. ISBN 0-300-05070-4
  3. ^ Dunkerton, Jill, et al. 136
  4. ^ Jensen, Eric (2001). Arts with the Brain in Mind. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. pp. 57–58, 81. ISBN 0-87120-514-9. 
  5. ^ Smith, Peter (1986,Sept.) The Ecology of Picture Study, Art Education[48–54].
  6. ^ "How to Succeed in Art" by Deborah Solomon, New York Times Magazine. June 27, 1999
  7. ^ Americans for the Arts
  8. ^ Art. Ask For More.
  9. ^ Arts Education Partnership
  10. ^ the National Art Education Association
  11. ^ "International Society for Education through Art". 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  12. ^ a b Gude, Olivia. "Art Education for Democratic Life". Lowenfeld Lecture 2009. National Art Education Association. Minnesota, Minneapolis. 20 April 2009
  13. ^ Van Meter, M. L. (2010.). "Art therapy and special education" (PDF). Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  14. ^ Gerber, B. (2011). "Art education and special education: A promising partnership" (PDF). Paper presented at 2011 National Art Education Association national convention, Seattle, WA. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  15. ^ Iwai, K. (2002). "The contribution of arts education to children's lives". Prospects, 32(4), 1–15.
  16. ^ College Major to Career. (2013, December). The Wall Street Journal. New York, New York. Retrieved December 4th, 2013.
  17. ^ Furger, R. (2013, December 4), How to end the dropout crisis. Retrieved December 6th, 2013.
  18. ^ Freedman, K. (2003). Teaching visual culture. New York: Teachers College Press.
  19. ^ Duncum, P. (2006). (Ed.). Visual culture in the art class: Case studies. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.
  20. ^ Delacruz, E., Arnold, A., Kuo, A., & Parson, M. (2009). Globalism, art, and education. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.
  21. ^ Zimmerman, E. (Ed.) (2010). Reconsidering the role of creativity in art education [Special Issue]. Art Education, 63 (2).
  22. ^ (2008). Creating a visual arts education research agenda for the 21st century: Encouraging individual and collaborative research. Reston: National Art Education Association.
  23. ^ James O. Young, “Art, Authenticity and Appropriation” Front. Philos. China (2006) 3:455–476 (2006): 456, accessed October 2011, DOI 10.1007/s11466-006-0019-2
  24. ^ Elizabeth Manley Delacruz, “Approaches to Multiculturalism in Art Education Curriculum Products: Business as Usual” Journal of Aesthetic Education(1996): 85 Accessed November 26, 2011

External links[edit]