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Lesson Plans

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

From: henry taylor (taylorh)
Date: Tue Aug 01 2000 - 16:00:16 PDT

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    It's a big world, anyone can become doctor lawyer plumber or scientist. Moms even of the criti

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Patricia Knott <pknott>
    To: ArtsEdNet Talk <artsednet>
    Date: Tuesday, August 01, 2000 1:06 PM
    Subject: Re: Computers and Art (the value of "Anyone can be an artist")

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