BASIC: A Model Partnership for Art Education

Article excerpt

BASIC: a model partnership for art education

MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT THE many reports and studies, critical of American education, that have been published in the past five years. Whatever affects the broad field of education is usually magnified in its impact on art education. As educators began to seek means to improve the educational process, art educators across the nation were already engaged in a search for programs to improve the way art is taught in America's schools.

One of the more successful of these efforts is BASIC (Basic Art Support in the Curriculum), an innovative program initiated in 1983 by the Department of Art Education and Art Theraphy of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). For many years, the SAIC art education faculty and graduate students had participated in staff development and the in-servicing of area art teachers on an informal basis. BASIC formalized these activities.

SAIC's goal was to develop a model professional development program for art teachers which could be emulated in other regions of the country, and to involve local and state art and art education organizations in the design and implementation of the model. The department's objectives were to endorse the importance of art teachers in the curriculum of public and private schools and to provide assistance, resources and a forum for the exchange of ideas and concerns among art teachers.

Recognizing that the key to good art education is the teachers and school administrators who provide the educational experience, SAIC wanted to provide the supporting framework to improve, renew and advance these individuals conceptually in their teaching and leadership skills. The Alliance of Independent Colleges of Art, of which SAIC is a member, adopted BASIC as a national purpose and goal in 1985. Many of the member colleges of the AICA currently offer programs and activities for their regional art teachers.

Funding for the first three years of BASIC was provided by a grant from a local foundation. Additional funding for unique and special offerings was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts through the Alliance of Independent Colleges of Art. At the end of the three year pilot project, financing of the program was undertaken by SAIC and, currently, a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.

Local activities of BASIC include: 1. …