How History and Culture Come Together as Art

By Bolin, Paul E. | Art Education, March 2000 | Go to article overview

How History and Culture Come Together as Art


Bolin, Paul E., Art Education


This issue of Art Education is a unique undertaking. All issues of the journal are manifestations of a collaborative effort between many individuals and groups, but this particular issue of the journal demonstrates this cooperative engagement more so than any other I have directed. "How History and Culture Come Together As Art"is the theme and focus for this special issue, and it has been in process for more than 2 years. Now in hand, I trust that you will view this issue of Ad Education as indeed being quite "special."

Two years ago, at the National Art Education Association Conference in Chicago, Dr. Jackie Chanda and Dr. Vesta Daniel, both faculty members in the Art Education Department at The Ohio State University, presented to the Editorial Board and Review Panel of Art Education a proposal to publish a special theme issue of the journal, "How History and Culture Come Together As Art." This proposal was met with thoughtful discussion and eventually received a favorable response.

The topic for this special issue of the journal emerged from a national colloquium of the same name that took place in Columbus, Ohio, atThe Ohio State University, from June 20-24,1997. Participants in this meeting explored contemporary art through underscoring relationships that engage the past with the present. The colloquium focused on the nexus that occurs between historical and cultural content in works of art. The organizers' combined interests in art history and community-based art were a primary impetus for carrying out this exceptional event.

While planning and shaping the colloquium it occurred to the organizers that in order to explore this topic extensively one must revisit or see again-for new and expanded understanding-contemporary works of art through the lenses of history and culture. Chanda and Daniel termed this notion "ReCognizing," the act of getting to know a previously understood thing in a new way, which became a pivotal ingredient in the design of this 5-day exploration of history, culture, and art. A hub of this colloquium was the Kwanzaa Playground (discussed by Chanda, Daniel, and Colman in this issue of the journal). The Kwanzaa Playground was used by the participants as a model for investigating the process of "ReCognizing" art and artifacts.

In the Fall of 1998 a call was given for authors to submit manuscripts that addressed the theme, "How History and Culture Come Together as Art," that would comprise a special issue of Art Education. The response to this "Call for Papers" was tremendous in quantity and quality. A large number of fine manuscripts were submitted to the journal for review and possible publication. The manuscripts published here are a blend of some papers presented at the symposium and others written in response to the question, "How do history and culture come together as art?" These six manuscripts, the Instructional Resource, and a photo essay offer important viewpoints on this topic of critical concern to art, education and to our world.

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