I am an art teacher. I am not an artist, but I think I am a far better
teacher than a couple of "real" artists that I took classes from in my
undergraduate days and from some that I have observed teaching. I paint in watercolor
and oils, did pretty well in a portrait class with Daniel Green (a great
artist/teacher), and I feel that I could be a fairly competent artist if I wanted
to be, but obviously I don't.
Some of us are more interested in collecting and learning about different
cultures and mastering new techniques. I think we make a valid contribution
to art education. Do art historians need to be practicing artists? There are
many art historians who are good or even great art teachers. Does it make
sense to say that sculptors need to master oil painting, or metal sculptors need
to master stonecutting? It makes no more sense to me to say that we should
all be practicing artists because art education encompasses far too much.
Most of the art we recognize in history was not created as "art" but as
a means to record information, tell a story, record an image for posterity,
worship a deity, act as a computer or calendar, or provide some utilitarian
function. Art can be mathematics, architecture, engineering, philosophy,
history, journalism, medicine entertainment, the list is endless. Art has been all
of those things and I doubt that all of the artists thought of themselves as
For those of you who are practicing artists, you have much to share but
be careful that you do not exclude those who do not share your vision. Art
like a well cut diamond has many facets, and you may be just seeing one.