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We help; no...we are a detriment; no...we ARE collateral


From: Larry Seiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed May 22 2002 - 05:36:15 PDT

Twenty-five to thirty years taught units, based upon subject.
Individuals capable/skilled in the areas were preferred. Then art was
called upon to change. Out with the capable/skilled (artists), in with the
facilitators. People with little skill, talent, personal aesthetic that no bias might enter instruction. We go from
Outcome Based, to Performance Based. Skilled or talented/creative people
are wanted again. Ooopps,, no wait. They're not wanted! Good

Economic duress re-evaluates the bang the public gets for their buck, and
art jumps to the issues with willingness to re-define, and readdress
priority and philosophy.

I like a local teacher whom recently attended a "what we must do" meeting of
state association leaders in Art Education, hearing that art must be
integrated in other core disciplines. Art thus having value for what it
promises how the student will better himself in core academic subjects.
This teacher, typical rebel of sorts... raises his hand, and
says...."(!#^_^%#!... my students are better ART students, because they
take math. They are better art students because they take history; because
they study foreign languages; Literature!"

Its amazing to me how small our rudder is, and how the shifting economic and
worldview winds have so easily facilitated OUR directions in just the short
near half-century I've lived. Perhaps there ought to be a name for becoming
proficient at jumping through hoops to survive and justify.

Art is so influential in its potential social engineering, that any major
shift in worldview thinking will see its potential benefit as a tool to such
aims. Now, I hear what "we" should do...but, I've got to end now, because
I'm expected to be in my classroom in the next 25 minutes.

One thing I wish COULD happen, which I think WOULD be a benefit to any
thinking person is that art museums should have a separate wing just to
exonify the education side of art. Sections should be set up to best
portray each shift in coincide with shift in public mood and
economic priority. The art teacher should be portrayed as some goofy moron
who ignorantly stepped onto the scene at some point thinking s/he might
offer any pertinent relevancy that might survive the next think tank's
mechanism for change.