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


From: Woody Duncan (wduncan_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Feb 24 2001 - 08:00:02 PST

        I think I did respond, but the getty server would not take it
because I resent/quoted over 20 lines. So I gave up. I suspect
others had the same problem. I'll count this time
or remove the computer > quote marks. I'm also sending my
responses to you directly. Sorry for the mix up.
                                        Woody in KC


1. How many years have you taught?
        26 years, 25 in the same Middle School

2. Which levels?
        Middle School for 25 years (6-8)
        1st year was as a contract sub (any level)

3. When did your own formal art studies begin?
        Began Kansas University in 1962 just after High School
        It took me 12 years to get a degree, working and raising
        a family.

4. What degrees do you hold (art or other)?
        4 year BA in Art Education (it reads VAE K-12)

5. What is your medium?
        Transparent Watercolor

6. What subject matter do you explore?
        Flowers, Landscapes, Adobe Architecture, People

7. What are your major influences (artists, schools of art)?
        Georgia O'Keeffe, Joseph Raphael and my mentor Mathew Monks

8. Have you studied contemporary art (1960s to present)?

9. Are you informed enough to teach students about contemporary art?

10. When you were in school, were there any "rules" or guidelines in
the art room limiting what subjects students could address?
If by in school, you mean before college: yes there were rules and
restrictions, of course. I don't think those rules restricted my development
as an artist. They could have done a better job of exposing me to art history.

11. Do you (or your school) have any limits on your students' artistic
I limit it, as explained in answer 14.
I usually control the subject matter. I'm trying to teach them about what
is beautiful and pleasing in the world. I'm trying to elevate the
for them. I'm not there to let them cut out hearts
and draw marijuana leaves.

12. Has your own art practice been questioned as to its
"appropriateness" of subject matter?
No but my wife was cutting her sister-in-laws hair once and she made
a rude comment about one of my paintings hanging in front of her. Well,
she never wanted her hair cut again. Frani took a big hunk out of the back.

13. Have you or any other art teachers you know experienced
Yes of course, but they have been minor and a good experiences and
gave us a moment of humor.

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)?
Yes of course, I limit my students as to subjects. No frontal nudity, No
Gang signs, No beer cans, no ash trays (my mom died from smoking) No
Drug related images, etc. (Remember they are 11 to 14 years old)

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
No I paint what I want, and it's never been something that would
be censored anyway.

16. Do you believe that art teachers' own art practices should be
acceptable to the wider community?
Not really, but if it's controversial then they need to be able to defend
what they create and why. That's the real world and being able to articulate
reasons why you create is important especially if it is seen as controversial.

17. Have you ever had to censor student work?
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).
Yes, but not often. With the individual student, I usually tell the boys
can draw those images at home in private but not in a classroom.
I censor their language daily and their behavior too. I see it as no
different than stopping the use of the term "Fag" in my class. Some
things are offensive and
improper and they need to be explained to as why.
I know I'm getting through when
one girl said, "just shut up and stop using the word or we will have to
listen to Mr. Duncan's story about that boy getting pistol whipped in
Wyoming again."

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")
A couple of times, but nothing major. An arts supervisor took political
collages down in a major exhibit once. The kids were poking fun at
presidential candidates. We had hit both sides so I figured in was fair.

19. Have you attended an art gallery or museum show with your students
that was considered controversial?
Yes, I just try to prepare them before hand so they will know what to
expect and how to behave. Then they will impress you.

20. Is there any contemporary art that you find personally offensive?
Yes, but I have a delete button in my head, I just ignore it.

 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

                I'm from Kansas,  where the voters threw out 
     the monkeys and evolution may soon be taught in schools
                       To respond to me privately via E-mail
                           click on
           put Hey Woody on the subject line so I'll read it first
You are welcome to visit my Web Site at
  This E-mail message is from Artist/Teacher Woody Duncan
             Rosedale Middle School in Kansas City, Kansas
     the new URL for school is
to see the newest photos of my beautiful grandkids Tim, Tess and Tiff 
               click on        
to see a virtual field trip of KC go to
to see Rosedale's best go to
to visit our community garden go to