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Lesson Plans


Media Influences on Art Ed.

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
David Zimmerman (fastedy)
Fri, 23 Jan 1998 23:53:18 -1000


Robert Beeching wrote:

<"Project" art has a long history beginning in the the early part of this
century, where "Lesson Books" were published by the American Crayon Company
and others to support product sales. Catalogue craft houses have
perpetuated the
process.>

Thanks Bob!!!!
As an art educator trying desperately to fight the accepted notion of art
as product oriented "enrichment activity," I am now beginning to see how
art teacher magazines and catalogues are contributing to a degeneration of
quality art instruction. Art instruction is not a set of little clever
projects with new supplies. A simple pencil and paper are still the best
tools to teach drawing and drawing is still the foundation of creative
visual expression and thought. And the best way to teach drawing is to
teach seeing and the best way to see is from life.

I don't think we understand how advertisers influence choices we make in
our daily lives. As educators I wonder if we are aware how much the
companies who make art and craft supplies impact what we teach and the
materials we buy. When I consider the "project" ideas in Arts and
Activities Magazine or SchoolArts, I am amazed how many of them use Crayola
Products, especially some of the newer, weird clays on the market (which
are very costly compared to traditional earthenware). If you check the
advertisers in these magazines, you will find these companies so is it
really any wonder that the editorial should feature the products? They are
paying for the magazine and magazines need advertisers. Check out a teen
magazine. What are the articles about? Acne, music, make-up and general
teen disatisfaction. Who are the advertisers?

I've just finished an advertising unit with some high school students on
the role of advertising in our culture. It started out as my regular
advertising class: invent a product, create a logo and package, create an
ad strategy, write copy, make an ad. However, my life as well as the class
changed after I viewed a remarkable documentary film called "The Ad and the
Ego" at our state's film festival. I researched it and bought it to show
to my class. (available on video from California Newsreel in San
Francisco, (415) 621-6196. Its $50 but worth it. 57 minutes long and comes
with excellent teaching strategies).

One of the many points made by the video is how advertising no longer
informs us about products. Its main function is to create markets for
products that we don't really need. Its hard for us to see this because
media infiltrates our lives. Since its based on quick visuals, we tend not
to think much about it and we assume that most ads don't affect us. Its
precisely because we're not "thinking" when we watch it, that subliminal
messages sink through. The film makes the analogy of fish not being able
to survey the impact/quality of their water precisely because it surrounds
them. If it was dirty, they probably wouldn't be able to see it. (And yo,
Teresa, over there in Africa: there's ad manipulation even in the remotest
parts of the third world!)

By all means, check out this amazing video even if you have to buy it
yourself! You will be amazed at the way it opens your eyes. Its best for
high school or gifted intermediate students.

Deb Rosenbaum