The Business of Art Education: A Fairytale Adventure
Buda, Sharon, Fedorenko, Jan, Sheridan, Mary A., Art Education
Packaging Your Art Education Program
School reform initiatives designed to improve school quality require strong leadership, strategic planning, data analysis, and systemized performance accountability. Utilizing school reforms includes rethinking curriculum and instruction to improve quality and promote equality, restructuring school operations with a focus on both the students and the faculty, collaborating through partnerships with community agencies, and inviting school community involvement to gain a competitive edge in today's educational climate (Lieberman & Miller, 1999). Additionally, advocacy for the arts often relies on many of the same practices of successful business including visibility, competition, presentation, creative financing, partnerships, and flexibility. Thus, the business of art education is multifaceted and complex.
First and foremost, art educators who are highly skilled in ahgning resources need to package or brand individual art education programs to guide students throughout the learning process. Several contemporary theories in art education are put into practice in the examples provided by the authors of this article. Each is heavily steeped in integrated curriculum practices at a transdisciplinary level (Crawford Burns, 1995), In these post-modern approaches, curriculum is co-constructed with students, parents, and community members to serve overlapping needs and interests among participating groups. Students are engaged in servicelearning pedagogy centered on authentic problem solving of community-based issues of importance to both the school and the community served. Students are guided through a series of linked inquiry-based learning experiences, reaching their own conclusions as they develop necessary skills to work cooperatively while navigating the multiple perspectives of diverse groups. Through the following fairy tale adventure, the authors creatively share the impact each has had on the arts and student learning within their communities and will further articulate how contemporary theories and pedagogies are interwoven to place the visual arts at the core of curriculum. They share how they have positioned the arts in a place of power within their community while uncovering various aspects of how they have flexibly adapted to address the ever-changing demands of dealing with the business of art education.
I'll Huff and I'll Puff
Once upon a time there were three little pigs and the time came for them to leave home and seek their fortunes. Before they left, their mother told them, "Whatever you do, do it the best that you can because that's the way to get along in the world." The first little pig built his house out of straw because it was the easiest thing to do.
My early experiences as an art educator were much like those of the first little pig. My art education training and beliefs were grounded in teaching art techniques and media through a formalist curriculum that emphasized the elements of art and principals of design, just as the pedagogy of the art teachers who had instructed courses I took in school did. Of course as mother pig had advised, "to do my best," every lesson plan was almost scripted in advance, and teacher examples established preconceived outcomes. I provided training to dozens of parent volunteers to ensure standardized mounting of students' artwork throughout the year. The annual art show, hosted by myself and the PTO Art Resource Committee, boasted two to four pieces of work from all 500+ students, and was well attended. The artwork I selected from student portfolios represented my evaluation of each student's best work. Student "Artists in Action" from each grade level conducted "hands-on" demonstrations throughout the evening, while inviting participants to become involved, thus shaping the "packaging" or "branding" of my art program.
The first little pig thought her house made out of straw was strong enough to withstand the big bad wolf. Little pig told the wolf her students very much enjoyed art; they could confidently use a wide variety of media and techniques to solve artistic problems using the elements of art and principles of design to guide their work. The wolf implied her curriculum had the potential to become more integrated and multi-disciplinary and it lacked the necessary depth to meanmgfully impact student learning. So the wolf huffed and puffed and her house was blown to the ground.
The first little pig went to the house of the second little pig for shelter and to learn how to build a stronger house. The second little pig's house was made of sticks, which were much stronger than straw.
The second little pig had been trained to implement Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE) curriculum. So the first little pig set off to learn to build a house made of sticks. Attending training over the summer with her principal, and eight classroom teachers from her school, she learned to build a strong DBAE curriculum. Many large multidisciplinary and multicultural school-wide projects were implemented. They followed the golden rule of beginning with works of art from the "masters," promoting art history and exemplars in art. The art curriculum expanded from a technique-based formalist curriculum to a comprehensive art education curriculum integrated with classroom curriculum and the skillful Unking of aesthetics, art history, criticism, and artmaking. Students, parents, and administrators admired the finished products, and the fact that at least in the short term, students could name artists' styles and in most cases one or two associated historical connections. Additionally, the annual art show attendance remained a well -attended event. The packaging of this visual arts curriculum to the school community positioned it in high esteem due to its increased depth, representation of diverse historical periods, and connections to what the community perceived as important, wellknown styles of art.
Little pig did her best implementing this curriculum and selling it to parents and administrators. Yet when the big bad wolf arrived several years later to ask Utile pig how the curriculum related to students' needs and interests and if it was preparing students for success in the future, she replied that the students really enjoyed art. They could name many artists and artistic styles, and identify historical periods. This emphasized how the students could effectively talk and write about art as well as use elements of art and design principles when prompted. Yet the big bad wolf huffed and puffed, commanding that this house of sticks needed major renovations (windows replaced, furnace updated), suggesting that this curriculum presented limited views of cultures, perpetuated stereotypes, and even promoted feelings of otherness at a time when communities were becoming increasingly diverse. Nor did the wolf feel the curriculum engaged students in a capacity to help them better understand their world or their place in it, or to develop into lifelong learners (Anderson & Milbrandt, 2005) . The big bad wolf gasped for enough air to blow the houses of sticks to ground, challenging the little pigs to reflect on how their visual arts curriculum could help prepare students to meet the needs of the 21st century by becoming student centered and inquiry-based, and by allowing students to connect to their local and global communities while developing life-long learning capacities.
The two little pigs with houses blown to the ground approached the house of the third pig. It was an incredible, awe-inspiring house built of brick In this house, the Utile pigs learned how to co-construct curriculum with students. Students explored interests in their own community and identified problems of importance with personal relevance. They explored issues that required integrated solutions and collaboration across grade levels and boundaries of disciplines, and worked beyond their immediate school community. Teachers were skilled in faciUtating learning communities that made significant contributions to student learning and allowed students to transition from novice to expert as their construction of knowledge grew out of active participation within interest- based groups. Parents and experts in the community became active in learning communities that helped students investigate identified problems, better understand diverse points of view, and reflect upon their newly constructed knowledge through their inspirational works of art. Working collaboratively with artists, teachers, administrators, community partners and funders, they arrived at multiple solutions, initiating the democratic process. They developed skills in negotiating and compromising while respecting diverse representation. Students connected with their community and understood that they had the voice and the power to initiate change in the community through their art. Elements of art and principles of design were applied in the process of solving authentic artistic problems, which arose naturaUy through the inquiry-based investigations of the students. Exploring how historical and contemporary artists have solved similar visual problems, the students helped to inform the community as they worked together to make decisions.
The works of art produced by these broad-based learning communities define the packaging of this art curriculum. The curriculum no longer has to be "sold" to the community because it was created by the community, through the community, and for the community. Participants are vested in the process and finished works of art represent the construction of knowledge by the collaborative group. The photos of the stained glass windows in the school Ubrary, the redesigned community park outside the school, and the pedestrian runnel transformation behind this park demonstrate the Wyandot Elementary visual arts curriculum's power of packaging the art program within the community, thus highlighting the importance of attending to the business of art education.
Recent changes in the teacher evaluation process will require quantitative data representing the individual growth of ,all 500 students taught by this art teacher, as well as the accountabiUty of adequate yearly progress clearly documented in a standardized format to measure student performance. What type of house will the little pigs need to seek out next in. preparing, to weather the wrath of the big bad wolf once again?
Wonderland: Rising out of the Rabbit Hole
A girl named Alice lived on the other side of the fence behind the little pigs' brick house in ahorne that had also been built strong over time. The fence line that separated their properties created a boundary between their two towns and Alice's community was called Wonderland.
It was a fast growing suburban area, a Changing Place that had shifted from farmland to urban fringe with a swiftness that required the: attention of the community so that the history of the place wouldn't be forgotten. The townspeople embraced the idea that places change people and people change places. AU ce and her family (teachers in her school), the locals (families of the students), and neighbors from the surrounding area (resource organizations, artists, authors, and volunteers), facilitated innovative, arts-inspired learning experiences to focus the children on the treasures that existed in their own backyard and beyond.
They researched the history of the use of the land and restored some of the habitats that had begun to disappear. Their ultimate goal was for people in the community to understand that their inevitable attachment to regions and cultures can, and should, inspire a sense of interconnectedness between all life systems that exist there. They believed that this was a valuable condition of existence, inspiring action and life-long participation.
In this town, all of the residents' roles were redefined. The adults shared decisionmaking with the young, focusing more on the issues they were facing rather than the scope and sequence of content guides. Alice and her peers often took on questions to which they didn?t know the answers and learned along with their students. They took seriously meaning constructed by the children and advocated for their right to have this kind of curriculum (Beane, 1997).
It was a magical place, this town called Wonderland! There were gardens and ponds, murals and songs, and even a whale- yes, a humpback in Ohio! Between 1996 and 2004, the Ohio EPA's Environmental Education Fund's independent evaluators awarded the Wonderland school district four Outstanding Projects of Distinction titles for quality artsinspired environmental education. These were given for the Wandering Through Wetlands project at one elementary school and the Changing Places project at another elementary school. Of the 25 studentproduced films created there, one was accepted for screening at Sundance Film Festival 2000 and another was named one of the Outstanding Short Documentaries of 2000 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
The students kept exploring, the backyard boundaries kept broadening, and Alice lived happily ever after...
But we aU know that fairytales are fiction. And reality isn't always gentle. And so, on a beautiful spring day, Alice strolled through the garden outside the sturdy house that she had built over time and quite unexpectedly fell into a deep, dark rabbit hole. Without much notice, Alice was faced with the "tragic and inevitable loss of childhood innocence" (SparkNotes Editors, 2005).
Like many current communities, Wonderland was facing economic difficulty. In Alices community, restructuring led to the loss of school programs and, in one circumstance, the elimination of 44 art, music, physical education, and media specialists' positions. The freefall quickly became a nightmare when the walls of Alice's much loved home came tumbUng down on top of her. And, worst of all, there seemed no way to climb out of the hole.
In an effort to support schools in 2009, well-intentioned federal politicians provided stimulus money that saved an estimated 325,000 school jobs, but that only postponed the inevitable. Nationwide, drastic cuts were made in an "off with their heads" movement affecting mostly art, music, and physical education programs (over 200,000 nationwide, according to a CBS news report on September 6, 2011).
As Alice traveled through the tunnel, she met lots of characters who posed a series of puzzles with no clear solutions - aU curious, nonsensical and confusing. It was finally the Mad Hatter (the superintendent) who challenged her intelligence with unfamiliar logic, Alice discovered that, throughout all of the restructuring, the leadership had assembled a committee of faculty and other stakeholders to develop a plan to move from a vision of how education should look to the reality of an entirely new approach to learning. A Global Integration Team would be organized, based on research that indicates that students need integrated learning environments to help them develop 21st-century skills of collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, creativity, and innovation. Integration Teams (consisting of art, music, physical education, media, and technology specialists- a total of 20 rehired teachers), in partnership with school faculty, would collaborate, plan, deUver, and facilitate learning through the creation of dynamic and interactive lesson plans. Students would be challenged with real work situations, placing emphasis on the child's development and the importance of exploration rather than discovery.
Alice was asked to help organize this new initiative. During her climb out of the rabbit hole, she posed a question to the Cheshire Cat: "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" The Cheshire Cat replied, "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to" (Carroll, 1993). The goals of the program are to increase literacy and academic success, prepare an inventive and skilled workforce, improve health and wellbeing, enhance social and academic development, and promote cultural understanding (Ohio Arts Council, 2011).
Alice is safe, but has a whole new mindset with grownup sensibilities (budget cuts are real and education is in a paradigm shift). She understands that her new situation will require a whole new kind of branding. School systems are setting higher standards to create programs based on "the principles of personalized learning for every child and schools customizing their cultures to meet local circumstances" (Robinson, 2010).
Alice is currently traveling with her family (The Global Integration Team) as the journey to develop this new 21st-century learning community evolves. She is finding her way home, where she can begin again to build a strong, sturdy house.
On one part of her journey down a yellow brick road, Alice met another art teacher named Dorothy, who was also looking for home. As they set off in slightly different directions, Dorothy headed toward the Emerald City. She was looking for an ideal place where theory, practice and passion could be infused with the reality of a changing paradigm, a place where the Wizard had surely made the changes needed to keep the arts in the core of the curriculum.
We're off to see the Wizard!
Dorothy set off, along the winding road, to see the Wizard: a teacher, researcher, and leader; one who has spent endless years researching methodologies and observing current practices; one who had been appointed as principal at an arts integrated school named OZ; one who would surely make a difference with the munchkins and stakeholders, principally speaking. After all, OZ was an arts integrated school with an empty canvas waiting to be splashed with images of arts integration through teacher collaboration, a perfect world.
But the Wizard, too, is only human. In her head, she had the image of the perfect school. She had developed her own philosophical beliefs in arts integration. Surely the teachers there would embrace, develop, support, and implement that image? And, what parent wouldn't want their children to be a part of this unique learning environment, where arts teachers and classroom teachers worked side by side to revise traditional teaching methods and change the curriculum? She believed that the art teacher could redefine the role of "teacher of arts" to "teacher of children through the arts."
However, the yellow brick road is filled with cracks and questions: What is this new vision, a philosophy in which the arts are infused with reading, math, science, and social studies content? What does it look like in practice? How can it be implemented? For a new school, new teachers, and new way of thinking to develop, the Wizard needed to study how to administer innovative ideas and to describe a vision and mission that could be embraced by all of citizens of OZ.
From above the Emerald City, the Wizard watched a rocky and stumbling journey of many art teachers play out along the road and felt helpless. Aside from Dorothy, the first characters the Wizard saw were the Scarecrows, who didn't feel they had "brains" or knowledge to transition to an integrated curriculum through the arts. They knew they would have to do what the Wizard said, but they didn't really understand what the Wizard was talking about. They wanted to see what it looked like and to do it like someone else had done it before.
As Dorothy and the scarecrows wandered toward their destination, a rusty, cranking sound could be heard up ahead. They met the Tin Men, who didn't really wanted to embrace the change. They were immersed in tradition and believed that their job was to teach students about art for arts sake. The Tin Men felt the arts helped them provide the munchkins with the wood that would fuel learning, but they subliminally were entrenched in the fear of meeting all the traditional requirements, as weU as those required for state testing. They couldn't reaUy build a healthy "heart" to support the shift of thinking.
When the Lions stepped forward as leaders of the new movement, other teachers of other disciplines demanded that the Lions share accountabiUty for academic achievement. A hesitancy to take that risk replaced any confidence that had previously existed. The Lions grabbed their tails and jumped over the cracks in the yeUow brick road to avoid barriers like this and others they discovered as they navigated this changing landscape. They were hesitant to become risk takers and redefine their roles in the schools. They lacked the "Courage" to demand a voice, to roar about what they had to oifer.
And, when The Wild Monkeys showed up, the road became nearly impassable for Dorothy, the Scarecrows, the Tin Men, and the Lions. Screeching about accountability for student achievement, funding for frivolous educational initiatives, and the need to get back to the core, the monkeys blocked their progress, making it harder for them to stay the course. How could they get to the Wizard for the answers? They would have work together to build a strong unit. They would have to find ways creative ways around pitfalls and continue to move forward. They would have to get down to the business of quality arts education.
From her vantage point, the Wizard was frustrated by her inability to speed up their journey. She intuitively knew that administrators can't make a program function or demand that others adopt certain philosophical views. She also knew she did not have all of the answers. The Wizard realized that the obstacles encountered are products of the time and, understanding that will help to shape a new definition of the business of arts education. Building the Emerald City of Art Education is dependent on rethinking the role that arts educators can play in designing the overall curriculum.
When Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion finally arrived, the Wizard asked them for help. Through a compassion for teaching art, they became the heart of the arts and the Wizard's apprentices as their role in Oz was redefined.
What Role Will You Play in the Next Chapter?
Art education specialists need to examine their role in the business of art education. They should develop the ability to talk about what art education does for students (Eisner, 2002). They should acquire the ability to publicly make the case for inclusion of the arts in schools to all stakeholders- parents, students, teachers, and administrators. Teachers of the arts should broaden their roles in education as curriculum integration specialists. Art programs can no longer focus simply on the art standards and need to embrace the core standards across the curriculum. They need to be consumers of education reform by staying up to date on standards revisions, statewide assessment processes, and data-driven legislation shaping those reforms. Art teachers can and should be compassionate and understanding of the accountability factor of the educational climate and the stress that it places on all teachers, especially those in the classrooms.
Teachers in the arts cannot force their way in. Partnering in the process requires a gentle but determined approach built on a global view of today's issues and the challenges and changes that need to occur for the creation of a 21st century school system. The question is: What will that system look like and how can we, as arts educators, shape the vision and be essential characters in the story? Art education is big business; what business is it of yours?
Stained glass window 1 in the school library reflects the biodiversity of the species students discovered through a 2-year scientific investigation of the pond behind the school. Students in grades 3-5 cut and ground glass, foiled edges, and soldered windows with guidance from an artist in residence, along with parents and teachers.
Students submitted plans to the city council and gained approval to redesign the park behind their school. Through ecology and diversity based curriculum projects, they created stepping stones with leftover glass, making the pond handicapped accessible. They also restored the pond riparian to its natural habitat, and placed hand-painted bird feeders throughout the park.
Parents and experts in the community became active in learning communities that helped students investigate identified problems, better understand diverse points of view, and reflect upon their newly constructed knowledge through their inspirational works of art.
Pedestrians and cyclists pass through a city-owned pedestrian tunnel while students, parents, and visiting artist in residence prepare for an evening art show.
Students clean grouting from mosaic in tunnel. The tunnel includes 32 4'' x 8' painted mural panels, and over 450 square feet of mosaics and tiles created by students in grades 1-5, families, and community members.
The Tussing Whale "swam" to Pickerington, OH to teach the students the ways of the whale. (Designed by students with assistance from local artist Linda Anspaugh, Fabricated by Spradlin Bros. Welding Company, Springfield, OH).
Pickerington Elementary's Frog Field.
Mother Nature, a 1 2-foot puppet, was the narrator for A Star Story: The Night That Almost Lasted Forever. When March Hares, who dance under the stars at night, wish to keep dancing into the dawn, they disrupt the delicate balance of nature and need to find a way to restore order. (Ohio Arts Council Residency with Mary Forker and Jo McLaughlin).
right and below
Pickerington Pond Mura is a 7' by 10' ceramic mural at Pickerington Ponds, a Columbus Metro Park. The mural depicts the Images children saw and imagined as they wandered the wetland to discover the wonders that exist there. (Created with assistance from ceramic artist Nina Borgia-Aberle and the Ohio Arts Council.)
The art teacher was to redefine the role of "teacher of arts" to "teacher of children through the arts"
Views from both sides of a 4' x 12' freestanding, two-sided quilt. Students created the compositions by comparing wetland and ocean habitats 2007 Ohio Arts Council Residency with Kate Gorman).
Art teachers can and should he compassionate and understanding of the accountability factor of the educational climate and the stress that it places on all teachers, especially those in the classrooms.
Anderson T., & Miibrandt, M. K. (2005). Art for life: Authentic instruction forati. New Yorlc McGraw Hill.
Beane, J. (1997). Curriculum Integration: Designing the core of democratic education. New York and London: Teachers College Press.
Carroll, L. (1993). Alice in wonderland & through the looking glass. New York: Signet Classics.
Crawford Burns, R. (1995). Dissolving the boundaries: Planning for curriculum integration in middle and secondary schools. Charleston, WV: Appalachia Educational Laboratory.
Eisner, Elliot W. (2002) 'What can education learn from the arts about the practice of education?', The encyclopedia of informal education, www.ijea. org/v5n4/v5n4.pdf
Lieberman, A. and Miller, L. (1999). Teachers transforming their world and their work. New York: Teachers College Press.
Ohio Arts Council (20?) Guidelines: arts learning, http:// oac.state.oh.us/grantsprogs/ guidelines/ ArtsLearning.asp
Robinson. K. (2010). Video; Bring on the learning revolution.' TED.com: www.ted.com/talks/ sir_ken_robinson"bring_on_ the_revolution.html
SparkNotes Editors. (2005). SparkNote on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Retrieved December 2, 2011.fromwww. sparknotes.com/lit/alice/
Three Little Pigs; Ricks Bricks. Retrieved September 30, 201 1, from www.shol.com/agita/pigs. htm
Tracy, B. (Producer). (2011, September 6). CiSS evening news [Television Broadcast]. New York, NY : CBS Interactive Inc.
MARY A. SHERIDAN
Sharon Buda, PhD, is an art education teacher at Wyandot Elementary, a K-12 lead visual arts education teacher for the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Dublin City Schools, and an adjunct professor at Ashland University and The Ohio State University. E-mail: buda_ firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan Fedorenko, PhD, is Principal, Hanby Arts Magnet School, Westerville, Arts Curriculum Coordinator for Westerville City Schools, Adjunct faculty Ashland University, Otterbein University, and The Ohio State University. E-mail: Fedoren}@ westerville. kl2.oh.us
Mary A. Sheridan, PhD, is a visual art specialist and a curriculum integration coach for the Pickerington Local School District in Pickerington, OH, and an adjunct professor at Ashland University. E-mail: email@example.com…
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: The Business of Art Education: A Fairytale Adventure. Contributors: Buda, Sharon - Author, Fedorenko, Jan - Author, Sheridan, Mary A. - Author. Magazine title: Art Education. Volume: 65. Issue: 2 Publication date: March 2012. Page number: 6+. © National Art Education Association Mar 2009. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.