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Lesson Plans

Re: Computers and Art (the value of "Anyone can be an artist")

From: Patricia Knott (pknott)
Date: Tue Aug 01 2000 - 13:13:45 PDT

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    Why do we even ask the question? Can anyone be a doctor? a scientist? a

    Let's look at the history of the world (however you view the time frame.)
    How many artists are there? Even if you disregard the predominant male,
    white, world attitude of exclusion... how many have truly made a
    contribution to civilization? A handful?
    Look at our present situation and emphasis on sports. How many can truly be
    a member of the NBA ? How many professional Basketball teams are there? How
    many on each team? What are the chances of any high school or college
    basketball player making it to the NBA??
    Why do we consider art any different?
    There are a handful of artists through out the ages that command any kind of
    attention that the public, or the art elite will respond to. Being an
    "artiste" is very elitist and in our effort to bring recognition and
    respectability to what we do, we often devalue the role of the artist.
    Being a true artist is a special gift and I believe a divine function. It
    requires insight and intelligence beyond the "average. " I am absolutely
    opposed to trivializing or juvenilizing artistic accomplishments i.e. I
    have absolutely no idea what rolling marbles in paint has to do with Jackson
    Pollock. The evolution of his thinking was not trivial; and to reduce it
    to that kind of lesson is insulting to him and me.

    > Is Art Education MORE for the
    > purpose of educating new audiences and consumers for
    > high art and intellectualized aesthetic experience or
    > to expand access to the personal experiences and
    > societal phenomena that result aesthetic practice and
    > making? NOT "either/or" but "TO WHAT DEGREE?"

    I think it can be both. We can do a tremendous job in educating all to what
    is "taste" or the "whatever" is considered the current acceptable taste.
    I really do not believe I can make all my students into "artists." They can
    play, they can see alternatives, they can make decisions in alternative
    thinking, BUT most of them will never be artists.
    The best I can do as an art teacher is to open eyes , to open the avenues of
    symbolism and metaphor, and to, hopefully, reach some area of their minds
    that is not explored in other disciplines.
    For the most part (and this only happens, if we as art teachers are VERY
    open minded) we can help all students to see what the artist saw, which is
    usually beyond the accepted norm of the day. And that takes a tremendous
    education on our parts. I am often taken aback when I interview candidates
    for positions in my district. Minimal art history knowledge. Being an art
    teacher is a constant continuing self education.
    I grapple every day with the thought that my job is not to try to make an
    artist, but to make an art appreciator. Don't we know those students that
    have it in their souls and will get the technique and application no matter?
    I want to reach the majority that is wide open to assimulating a work and
    prime for seeing all the implications and insights. And I see that often.

    Okay, this is my question. Whether or not not your district has adopted
    standards , the emphasis is on inquiry rather than production. How are you,
    your district responding to this??


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