Academic journal article Studies in Art Education

Editorial: The Same but Different

Academic journal article Studies in Art Education

Editorial: The Same but Different

Article excerpt

I am penning this editorial in an airplane, somewhere high above the Pacific. It's a long flight from Auckland to Vancouver. I've just finished some preparatory reading for a policy-oriented meeting that I will attend at the NAEA conference in Chicago, as well as a Canadian student's doctoral dissertation. Reading about initiatives taken by the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the Kennedy Center Education Department, the College Board, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council on Basic Education, and the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities make me feel a little disconnected. I am not an American.

By the time that this summer issue appears I expect to be spending some "quality" time with my immediate and my extended Canadian family at a cottage in Muskoka. In this world of loons, gently paddled canoes, fishing with kids from the dock, and the first signs of Fall, I feel especially "Canadian." Time at the cottage provides time for reflection. Despite annual cottage and dock maintenance, few summer activities seem to be as quintessentially "Canadian." Family roots and bonds are deep. Brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, come and go. Birthdays are celebrated. Picnics, hikes, and canoe trips are taken to the same predictable places. There are corn, wiener, and marshmallow roasts, wild blueberries, fresh field tomatoes, peaches, stories, and memories. I married into this special summer world and, like American art education, it has become more and more "mine.

Although neither of us were born in Canada, this is the second time that Studies has been edited by a non-American. I wonder if that was an issue for the NAEA Board of Directors who approved our appointments? What is it like to be a Canadian art educator? Is there anything that makes us different from our American cousins? Some of us chose to study in the United States. In myriad ways, through what we read and watch, as much as in person, many of us cross the border freely and frequently.

When Walter Smith was dismissed by the Boston School Committee and the Massachusetts Board of Education, and when he failed in his bid to become director of London's South Kensington National Art Training School, he looked for a new position in Canada. …

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