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Lesson Plans

Marvin Bartel/Texts & ? approaches advocated

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sandra Hildreth (shildret)
Tue, 12 Dec 1995 20:28:22 -0500

This is a response to Mr. Bartel's comments regarding the use of art
history in art studio projects. I will give a brief and general summary of
how significant an activity I believe this to be and how I use it in my
H.S. Art classes as well as college Art Methods course.

A major format I use for almost every project I present is 1) introduce
"new" information - but I always try to relate it to something students
already know of or have experience with; 2) provide some sort of
skills/technique practice activities - ways the students can take the "new"
info and try it out; 3) a culminating project in which students apply the
"new" stuff they have learned and practiced in some sort of creative,
personally unique, form of artistic expression. Art history examples come
into play in many ways. Sometimes I use them in the introductory part,
perhaps showing a familiar work and providing some "new " information about
it; or a totally unfamiliar work and help my students analyze something
about the style or technique or expressive characteristics, etc. Or the art
history may be brought into the second phase, the practice activities, to
illustrate to students how a specific artist may have done the technique
they are working with. Lastly, the example from art history might be used
to provide motivation for the culminating project.

I have never believed it was the intent of DBAE to promote copying works of
art as a way of integrating the discipline of art history into art classes
that have traditionally been nearly 100% art studio. I have at times had my
students copy a portion of a selected work, in an attempt to learn and
analyze technique/colors, etc. I've also had them copy a selected subject,
but to do it in their own style. But both of these would be what I consider
phase 2 practice activities - ways of helping the learners expland both
their own abilities and well as the knowledge and techniques that are out
there for them to explore. The culminating project is always something of
the students own design and creation - but I feel I have helped them come
to a better grasp of what they are doing by providing the previous
instruction/practice/analysis activities.

Another reason for following a format like this is that in New York State a
full unit or Art or Music is required for high school graduation. Therefore
I get a large percentage of students in my classroom who are simply taking
Art to get the credit out of the way. I care about teaching them something
- so I have found ways to make my introductions and practice activities
interesting enough and easy enough for any student to be able to do, with
reasonable effort. Now not all students will do well on the culminating
activity - but the prior activities certainly help them to be more
successful than if I had just given some terribly exciting and creative
topic and said "be unique, be daring, come up with something for this!" The
'real' art students like open ended assignments like that and most often do
well. But I have many more non-art students in my classes and I'd rather
see them learn something and pass (and perhaps develop some life-long
appreciation for the arts), than to see them struggle and fail without any
training or guidance.

Art history, art criticism, and aesthetics discussions/activities are
essential in helping people understand how artists work - and therefore
provide insights and guidance for individuals seeking to develop their own
styles and forms of expression as well as fostering art appreciation. I
personally feel that in the long run this improves the quality of the art
studio work.

Sandy Hildreth

  • Maybe reply: Nancy Walkup: "Re: Marvin Bartel/Texts & ? approaches advocated"