Teaching to the Future: Community Activism and Art Education

By Emme, Michael J. | School Arts, January 1998 | Go to article overview

Teaching to the Future: Community Activism and Art Education


Emme, Michael J., School Arts


In its broadest sense a community activist is one who works for change in the community. On a national level the collective actions of the Guerrilla Girls and Group Materials (see references) have focused art world and media attention on social issues such as inequities that result from race, gender, economic advantage or sexual orientation. As stated in But Is It Art? activist art "is the culmination of a democratic urge to give voice and visibility to the disenfranchised, and to connect art to a wider audience."

Local Activism

Nationally recognized artistic interventions are undoubtedly significant, but their impact is probably not evident in the places where most of us live and work. The kind of activism that affects us is smaller and more local. Whether through public artworks such as murals and installations, or a visual celebration of the individuals in a community, local activism is the result of specific people responding to injustice, need, or unrecognized accomplishment in their own community.

Community activism, like education, can be about the past, present, and future. In both, we draw on the past and work in the present to build or rebuild our society for the future. Community activists work in and with the community using critical insight and creativity to encourage positive change. Educators, while often having similar goals, typically limit their work to the school environment and often place the acquisition of knowledge and skills far ahead of student development of critical insights.

Teaching the Past

Facts, information, and proven processes are the past. The past gives us continuity and an efficient way to transmit shared values.

Teaching about the past is the easiest form of education to market because it seems so stable and measurable. Our biggest challenge as teachers of the past is generating student enthusiasm for this kind of learning. But our power to include and exclude our students' experiences and beliefs from that past is enormous.

Teaching the Present

Personal integration and adaptation of the past with a student's current reality is the present. When they integrate the present with the past, students test their capacities and discover their place in society. Art educators encourage their students to explore and take risks as they develop skills and ideas. When we encourage students to bring their lives into their work, our programs move into the present.

But what happens when our students leave their schools? Will they have the capacity to adapt what they know to new beliefs, insights, and situations in the future? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Teaching to the Future: Community Activism and Art Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    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.