Back to the Future: [Re][De]fining Art Education

By Villeneuve, Pat | Art Education, May 2002 | Go to article overview

Back to the Future: [Re][De]fining Art Education


Villeneuve, Pat, Art Education


ANOTHER SCHOOL YEAR IS ABOUT TO END, and it has been a time none of us could have imagined nine months ago. Dramatic events have rocked our world, and ideas about art education, presented in this journal and elsewhere, have challenged us to think about what we do. One of the topics that has attracted our attention is visual culture art education.

The September 2001 issue ofArt Education began with an article in which Eisner (2001) considered whether visual culture fit within our current aims for art education. In this issue, Paul Duncum refines our understanding of visual culture art education by responding to common misperceptions about theory and practice. In a double article, mentors who worked with the Ohio TETAC project (Transforming Education Through the Arts Challenge) describe integrated curriculum possibilities in art and visual culture. These articles, along with others that preceded them, signal a possible paradigmatic shift, a redefinition of content and practice in art education.

Such times can be bumpy for any field. Proponents of new ideas advance their views, while others comfortable with established practices may balk at the proposed changes. "What's wrong with those people?" proponents wonder. "Our ideas are fight for the time. It's so obvious. Why don't they see it? Why don't they just do it our way?" And practitioners counter, "What's wrong with what we've been doing all along? We like it. It works. Why do we have to do something else now?"

The rest of the articles in this issue offer nontraditional options for practice. You may embrace some of the material or question it Tom Anderson considers mandalas in light of the World Trade Center tragedy, Edie Pistolesi examines the status of Elvis as an icon, and George Szekely suggests how art homework can prepare children to become students of art. What do you think? Should art be instrumentalist? Where is the line between art education and therapy? Is Elvis Presley an appropriate topic for art education? Should we send students home to rearrange their refrigerators? If not this, then what? What should art education comprise?

In the 1980s, I was doing my graduate work at the University of Arizona with Dwaine Greer, Jean Rush, and Harry Broudy. …

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Back to the Future: [Re][De]fining Art Education
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