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Lesson Plans

Re: What's worth teaching in art?

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Dianna (dmammone)
Sun, 12 Jul 1998 18:59:15 -0400

Hi Craig,
I have 15 years of teaching experience with all different kinds of kids and
ages. If I could only teach them one "big" thing it would be that art is a
skill. You don't have to be "born with it" or the notion that some people
are just more "talented" than others. I have seen people with wonderful
talent and ability who do not have the discipline or determination to
continue with their art. I have also known people who may be "lesser"
artists in terms of talent and natural ability, discipline themselves and
with practice and good teachers, rise above their previous limitations. I
wish I could articulate this better.

When I went to art school, ( over 25 years ago) there were five of us who
hung together. Five women from different backgrounds, etc, much different
levels of "talent and ability." After the first year one of the more
talented threw down her brushes and has never gone back to the art world at
all. The third year, my marvelously talented friend was offered a one woman
show at the Pennsylvania Academy of art. She walked away, became a
waitress, has 4 kids. Tells me herself, with regret, that the most creative
thing she does is how she braids her daughters' hair.

Myself and one other member of the group, both of us whom I would rate as
"less talent and ability, are the only ones out of the five that have stayed
connected in art and persevered. I have worked over 25 years in art-related
fields and although my skills are not where I want them to be, Over the
years I have improved greatly. I think there is something very sacred about
connecting with yourself in a studio environment on a daily basis. You work
through rough spots, you have a broader vision of your art because
everything isn't so precious to you. That discipline of the self can move
mountains. In past years I have become physically challenged. It seems a
lot in life is accomplished by the simple act of putting one foot in front
of the other. Just my honest O.
Hope this makes sense.

-----Original Message-----
From: craig roland <rol1851.EDU>
To: <>
Date: Saturday, July 11, 1998 11:24 PM
Subject: What's worth teaching in art?

>I recently had an interesting conversation with two other art educators
>about how art teachers go about determining "what to teach" in their
>classrooms. We all agreed that there's so much to teach today about
>art/through art, that's its really difficult to decide on "what's really
>worth teaching?" Just looking at the variety of topics that have arisen
>on this list over the past few years demonstrates this point.
>So, I thought I'd pose a few questions here to see what kinds of responses
>they might stir up:
>1. How do you determine what to teach in your classroom?
>2. If you could teach only 3 things (ideas/concepts) to kids in a year,
>what would those be?
>3. What are the "essential" ideas worth teaching/knowing in art?
>While you may respond to any of these questions, I'm particularly
>interested in your ideas on the third item. If you look up the word
>"essential" in the dictionary, you'll find definitions like: "necessary to
>the existence of a thing," "most important," and "constituting the essence
>of something." The other way of thinking about this is "What are the BIG
>ideas in art?" These "big" ideas are not specific to a particular artist
>or work....they enable us to understand something about "Art" in general.
>For example:
>Art comes in many forms and is made for many purposes.
>Art makes us look at our world in new and different ways.
>Artists today are constantly reinventing art.
>I have more of these, but I'm curious as to what others think are the "BIG
>ideas" in Art.
>Praying for lots of rain in Florida,
>CRAIG ROLAND. Associate Professor-Art Education.
>Department of Art, FAC 302, University of Florida, Gainesville Florida.
>32611-5801. (352) 392-9165 - Art Ed Office (352) 392-8453 - Fax
>new email address: rolandc