1. Can art be a social study? Yes, definitely! Art MUST be a social
study. All art is socially constructed. We cheat kids if we never let them
ask "What is art for?" The answers are not "purely" aesthetic. There's
more on this in CELEBRATING PLURALISM <http:www.artsednet.getty.edu/>
2. I agree that art shouldn't be a "hand-maid" to social studies -- merely
used to illustrate social studies projects, (e.g. copy illustrations of the
missions) but some relationship is possible. Take Elizabeth's topic of
"missions" for example. Students could look at the "missionising" function
of images across cultures (including especially those advertising images in
popular culture that are designed to "convert" us and to establish a
product's presence and identity).
3. That's all very well you might say, but what about MAKING art? Well,
Elizabeth might start by having students look at the architectural style and
symbolism of the Spanish missions. Whose values are represented and why.
Perhaps they could then meet with an architect (AIA has a group interested
in education) who would talk about "style" and "image" in the buildings that
they design. Students could then move on to design buildings that "display"
their own values and beliefs.
Department of Curriculum Studies
University of British Columbia
Canada V6T 1Z4
Tel: 604 822-4842
Fax: 604 822-9366