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Re: essential questions for art teachers - my study long post

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Batmom44_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Fri Feb 23 2001 - 16:28:17 PST


In a message dated 2/23/01 4:32:53 PM, ejb35@columbia.edu writes:

<< ALL INDIVIDUAL TEACHER RESPONSES ARE CONFIDENTIAL

Questions:
1. How many years have you taught?
24 years
2. Which levels?
middle, high and college
3. When did your own formal art studies begin?
college in the BFA program
4. What degrees do you hold (art or other)?
BA in Art Education
MAT in Art Education
5. What is your medium?
I am a painter/sculptor
6. What subject matter do you explore?
My mind.
7. What are your major influences (artists, schools of art)?
surrealism, dada, abstract expressionism, pop art, outsider art, unstretched
canvas, installations
8. Have you studied contemporary art (1960s to present)?
yes
9. Are you informed enough to teach students about contemporary art?
I hope so because I do. I love the 20th century and I think my students
understand it better as a result. I spend a lot of time studying it and my
students in Art II and the advanced classes research 20th century artists
every week and do presentations to their classmates.
10. When you were in school, were there any "rules" or guidelines in
the art room limiting what subjects students could address?
no
11. Do you (or your school) have any limits on your students' artistic
expression? The school district has a policy regarding nude models, drug
paraphanalia, symbols, etc., and violence. I personally am only concerned
with originality on the part of the student.
12. Has your own art practice been questioned as to its
"appropriateness" of subject matter? oh yeah! but then I am surrounded by
weekend painters who cannot comprehend a painting without a frame. Imagine
what they would do with the idea of unstretched canvas.
13. Have you or any other art teacher you know experienced
censorship? no
14. Have you limited the subject matter you teach in light of
"community standards" (of your school or the wider community in which
you live)? I avoid images that I feel will titillate to the point of
obscuring what I am trying to teach. I mean after all their little hormones
are raging already. I should show something that I know will set them to
boil? I also try to consider students who may be embarrassed. So I try to
show images from the same artist/movement/etc. that will allow them to focus
on the art. That does not mean that we don't look at nudes. I just don't do
gynocologically oriented crotch shots, for example.
15. Have you limited the subject matter of your own art production in
light of community standards? (e.g. "I don't paint the nude any
longer"; "I no longer include references to political leanings in my
 drawings) NO
16. o you believe that art teachers' own art practices should be
acceptable to the wider community? I think that what I do with my art is my
business.
17. Have you ever had to censor student work? Only when the objective was
sensationalism. I don't have a problem with anything that is created to be
art. when you are going through a female student's sketchbook and come across
a beautifully rendered and anatomically accurate penis that probably was
supposed to be removed before the book was turned in, it is best to remain
cool. Of course I did look her in the eye and comment, "Nice work." To her
credit her face was quite red. LOL I do however object to materials being
wasted to make a joke.
If so, how did you handle the situation? (e.g. I asked him to keep it
in his portfolio; I told her she could hang it in the art room, but
not in the spring exhibit for the public). I have allowed students to create
images that just couldn't hang in the spring show. I' m not stupid.
18. Has anyone ever asked you to censor your students' art? (e.g. "the
school secretaries were offended by the drawing of the student
smoking, I was asked to take the picture down from the hallway") No
19. Have you attended an art gallery or museum show with your students
that was considered controversial? Not that I am aware of.the only thing that
comes to mind: I was not allowed to take my students to the House of Blues
for a tour and lecture on the collection of Outsider art because there is a
bar there. And I will say that my principal merely said he wsn't ready for a
controversy right then. He told me of an incident that had just occured on
the north end of the beaches involving some gifted and talented students
going to bar in the off hours to learn to shag. We ourselves had had some
really negative publicity over a couple of incidents and he just did not want
to go through it so soon again. He just asked me to wait a while til the
Bible thumpers had forgotten about those precious babies being exposed to so
much sin and whatever and the people on our backs got interested in something
else. I have such an easy ride. I don't mind helping when I can. The House of
Blues is on my list for next year. :-)
20. Is there any contemporary art that you find personally offensive?
No. Not that I can think of.
Reatha Wilkins
Thank you for helping me. I hope to see many of you at NAEA, and to
correspond with those of you who respond, even if you are not in NYC

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