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Lesson Plans


Re: The value of art? warning: long answer

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
lindacharlie (lindacharlie)
Tue, 06 Oct 1998 19:59:11 -0500


Maggie White wrote:

>1. Reading Jill's and RB's comments ... Do either of you feel you're contributing anything worthwhile to these
> students' lives?
>
>2. How do we answer the critics who would do away with art in all our schools?
>
>3. Okay, you newbies, who didn't like the discussions about Birkenstocks and fur, is this a
> deep enough topic for you?
>
Dear Maggie and all,

1. It sounds like they don't think the kids are getting much but you
never know. I've learned many things that didn't seem important to me at
the time but, years later, they made sense. Perhaps as a group we could
come up with some ways to make art more meaningful for this inner city
group. Maybe they find it hard to relate to a bunch of dead white guys'
art. Take a look at this website for a start on this:
http://www.heidelberg.org/
The Heidelberg Project is embroiled in a controversy I'd bet these kids
would find interesting. It has evolved into an assemblage of castoffs
that extends over two city blocks in a poverty stricken area of Detroit,
a decaying area once filled with crack houses and despairing people.
Tyree Guyton had a vision for his street and transformed it into the
joyful place you see on the site. He received awards from the city and
the state, and had his work exhibited at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
It has become one of the city's attractions with people from all over
the country and the world driving by to see it - you can guess that with
all that attention there aren't too many crack houses in the immediate
area. But some folks think it is just pile after pile of junk, a health
and safety hazard, etc. Now the city wants to bulldoze it. Ask the kids
what they think should be done!

2. ...perish the thought that art should be done away with as a school
subject! Instead, art should become a core subject. Studies have shown
that academic test scores are higher where students have art as a part
of their curriculum. And there are about a bezillion other reasons!

As for 3., yes. (The shoe thing wasn't a problem for this newbie, as it
has to do with our work. But the furs?? that argument is the same old
same old. Has that discussion changed anybody's view on the subject? And
isn't it interesting that we go to such lengths to teach tolerence and
understanding of people of other cultures through our art, then
demonstrate intolerence because of our personal beliefs? I was really
hoping this discussion could be laid to rest....)

Linda the newbie from
Livonia/Monroe MI, who would love to see all your faces in D.C. and I
don't care what you are wearing.