Edwin Ziegfeld

Article excerpt

It does not seem that long ago, but it was around 1950 that my phone rang. My wife announced: "Jerry, it's for you! It's a man named Edwin Ziegfeld."

"Edwin Ziegfeld!" I stammered. "He's a famous art educator!"

Thus, my first conversation with one of our nation's leading art educators was initiated. His reason for calling was to extend an invitation to write an article for Art Education Today, 1951-52: The Secondary School Program. This was to be my first major published article. What a thrill! The Board of Editors included Manuel Barkan, Marion Quin Dix, Mildred Fairchild and Edwin Ziegfeld--all leaders in our field.

It was three or four years later that I learned of Ziegfeld's earlier involvement with the Owatonna Art Education Project, an attempt to develop new materials and methods for art education.

The Project was conceived by Dean Melvin E. Haggerty of the College of Education at the University of Minnesota, and begun in 1933. It was predicated upon certain assumptions about life, about art and about education, and sought to test these assumptions in an actual school situation. In short, the effort was to demonstrate "art as a way of life."

Ziegfeld's initial college study was in the field of landscape architecture at Ohio State University. Later, he was awarded a master's of landscape architecture from Harvard University. Failing to find employment in a period of economic depression, he returned to Ohio State and earned a degree in art education (1932-33).

He then applied and received a staff position in the Owatonna Project. After his first year in that position, he was named resident director. In accounts of the history of art education in our nation, Owatonna serves as a key starting point for ideas connecting the arts and community life.

It should also be noted that Ziegfeld was involved in planning and editing the 40th yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education: The Arts in American Life and Education (1941). Earlier, in the summer of 1939, he accepted a position at Columbia's Teachers College. Around this time, he and Ray Faulkner submitted their manuscript for Art Today. This was to become a major textbook with five editions that brings together materials initially developed in the Owatonna Project.

In 1943, Ziegfeld joined the U.S. Navy, first entering the officer training school at Fort Schyler in the Bronx. Later, he was assigned to the educational services section in the Navy's Bureau of Personnel. …