Judith Burton

By Hausman, Jerome J. | Arts & Activities, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Judith Burton


Hausman, Jerome J., Arts & Activities


Old photographs have a way of stirring memories. Is that me? Where was I at that time? Such were the questions that came to mind when Judith Burton gave me a copy of a photo taken about 35 years ago. There we were! Two art educators with dreams and aspirations for our field. So much has happened since that moment in time.

I'm a New York City kid. Judy was raised and educated in London. While there, she studied painting at Hornsey College of Art, and education at the Institute of Education, University of London, and at the University of Manchester.

I have always admired Judy's sense for what painting is all about, and from that, an understanding of the role of artmaking in the process of education. She understood and appreciated the growing force of abstraction and spontaneity in the creation of art. She also knew of the role of discipline and technique in form making. Among her publications is a chapter for The Painter Speaks (Greenwood Press; 1993), a series of personal accounts given by contemporary artists, edited by Joan Jeffri.

Judith Burton came to the United States in 1972. She received her doctorate from Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 1981. Judy has taught in public schools and universities in the United States, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Canada and Brazil.

She has served as chairperson of the art education department at Boston University, and is presently program director and chairperson of the department of arts and humanities at Teachers College, Columbia. She was recently elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London.

Looking at the old photograph of Judy and me gives me pause. The passing years have taken their toll. I chuckle when thinking of art education at that time. In the teaching of art there were continuing efforts to link instruction to the larger dimensions of "creativity."

Emphasis on the teaching of art sought justification in the development of creative thinking and action. At the same time, arguments in support of art instruction were framed in a larger context of child growth and development. …

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