Academic journal article Studies in Art Education

Editorial: Looking Forward and Backward

Academic journal article Studies in Art Education

Editorial: Looking Forward and Backward

Article excerpt

In many ways this issue of Studies in Art Education is about the future. Paul Duncum encourages us to make a concerted effort to incorporate the sites of the "everyday" into art education theory and practice. Kristin Congdon, Catalina Delgado-Trunk, and Marva Lopez address the pluralistic present and future when they assert that "While it may be difficult or risky to place an oJ:renda or other unknown art object in a public space or classroom, if undertaken with careful consideration of the artist, the student or gallery visitors, and the cultural contexts, the educational benefits are more than worth the effort." Anna Kindler posits that at the end of the 20th century we need to re-evaluate "our understanding of the notion of artistic development and ways in which it should be encouraged and supported." And in studying how adults use language to construe and convey their art-viewing experiences, Elisabeth Soep and Teresa Cotner introduce some new considerations for both research and practice.

But all of this "new" work has roots in the past. As we approach the end of the century and the beginning of the new millennium the past is everywhere. Previously only the rare passion of a few scholars, we are now increasingly realizing that we need to understand the past in order to embrace the future. This year a number of publications (e.g., Education Week) are focusing on the past-either the last 100 years, or the last 1,000 years. David Lowenthal (1997) has written

All at once heritage is everywhere-in the news, in the movies, in the marketplace-in everything from galaxies to genes. It is the chief focus of patriotism and a prime lure of tourism. One can barely move without bumping into a heritage site. Every legacy is cherished. From ethnic roots to theme parks, Hollywood to the Holocaust, the whole world is busy lauding-or lamenting-some past, be it fact or fiction. . . .To neglect heritage is a cardinal sin, to invoke it a national duty.... Why this rash of backward looking concern? What makes heritage so crucial in a world beset by poverty and hunger, enmity and strife? (p. xiii)

In terms of art education this is a difficult question. …

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