Academic journal article The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education (Online)

Artitudes: Mapping Lines of Demarcation in Art Education

Academic journal article The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education (Online)

Artitudes: Mapping Lines of Demarcation in Art Education

Article excerpt

I have always considered myself an artist first and educator second, not unusual given that teaching is my second career. I hold undergraduate and graduate studio art degrees and continue to maintain a studio practice. After years of teaching, these roles have equalized and I consider myself an artist-educator. I first became aware of the divisive attitudes between "makers" and "teachers" as an undergraduate student, falling victim to the same ignorant attitudes of those proclaiming, "those who can, do; those who can't, teach." It did not occur to me at the time that my studio professors were in fact earning their living as teachers.

Unfortunately the field of art education nurtures these attitudes. They develop from within the art profession and spread outward, negatively impacting perceptions of the fields of visual art and art education. This essay maps those lines of demarcation that we as art educators consciously and unconsciously draw around ourselves and within the profession, examining how these metaphorical lines influence the artitudes1 of others and ourselves about what it means to be an art teacher, artist-educator, teaching artist, etc. The profusion of descriptors alone is confusing, yet the need to label ourselves based on how we identify is a self-empowering act in a profession that is often marginalized within both the domains of art and education.

Mapping Lines of Demarcation Labeling

There is ongoing debate and scholarship on how art educators classify themselves (Daichendt, 2009; Zwirn, 2005; Hickman, 2005). Are we artists who teach? Teachers who make art? Both? One or the other? And why do so many of us feel the need to make these distinctions? Typically the term artist-teacher or artist-educator, is used to "describe [their] dual practice or to emphasize the importance of art production in relation to [their] teaching" (Daichendt, 2009, p.33). The label implies a balance between the roles of making art and teaching with, through, and about art. But it also calls into question why the term art educator is insufficient in describing these dual, mutually dependent roles, and suggests that "art education is best when practicing artists are in charge and disregards the importance of the education field" (Daichendt, 2009, p.33). Daichendt (2009) and others (Chapman, 1963; Hansel, 2005; Hickman, 2005; Horne, 1916) posit that the term "artist-teacher is not considered a dual role but a philosophy of teaching that involves the integration of artistic experiences in the classroom" in which teaching and making art, while difficult to balance, support each other (p. 33). One label should be sufficient to express this duality, however, because teaching is so undervalued as a profession compared to that of being an artist, and many in our field feel the need to clearly communicate that being an art educator means being a maker of art as well as a teacher of art and that a teacher's personal art practice connects to how and what they teach. Several ethnographic studies have been conducted on this topic (Beudert, 2006; Graham & Zwirn, 2010; Reitman, 1990; Zwirn, 2005).

Art Teacher Training

Many P-12 art educators decide to become art teachers because they enjoy art making and want to teach it to others (Graham & Zwirn, 2010). Not all look to teaching as an economic "fail safe" in case they don't "make it" as artists. Others are trained artists who enter teaching through alternate routes with little or no formal pedagogical training. In researching art teacher preparation programs in the United States, Beudert (2006) found that of the 259 doctoral granting institutions of higher education (IHE), 123 offer art education programs at the baccalaureate, masters, and/or doctoral levels, few offer all three. At the time of Beudert's (2006) study, 350 IHEs, both public and private, offered undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in art education. "75% of these art teacher preparation programs are located in colleges, schools, and departments of art" (p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.