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Re: Art Ed and War


From: Larry Seiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Sep 23 2001 - 06:38:05 PDT

> Are any art teachers feeling eternal pressure to do patriotic themed
> lessons, turn over bulletin boards? Is that o.k.?


Ours is a small community about 12 miles away from a town twice our size.
Seems some store front windows got dressed up in that town, and now I'm
asked to have students do work to dress up our local community as well.

I guess I don't terribly mind, its a bit like the pressure to adjust
curriculum to do holiday themes, and kids get some recognition.
However...since the home room teachers at the elementary level have already
dressed up the hallways with patriotic themes....I'd like in art to be able
to discuss what it is "artists" do. How do artists think? In times like
these, what reactions might artists have? How will it affect artists that
work with the sublime versus artists that do social commentary or works that
aim at social consciousness? Ask why it is that artists sometimes seem to
go the opposite directions? In other words, think in terms of "peace" when
others are crying out "War!" Certainly, for high school level.

Otherwise....I have no problem moving ahead with my regular curriculum
either, which I think has value and now especially in lieu of the current
news seen and heard everywhere. Its a tough call.

Art is a vehicle that allows artists to go inward and discover their own
thoughts about things. This is an incubation period that thereafter
produces visual expressions. My thinking is that the main purpose of the
arts in education is art "appreciation"....and much of that has to be to
help the students understand what it would be like to be an artist. How
hard is life for the artist? What kind of things do artists think about?
What kind of sacrifices do artists make to develop their talents and try to
make a living at the same time? How do surroundings affect how the artist
sees and responds, which would include dramatic and major events? Where do
artists sense their value and purpose in such times as these?

If we could see that some artists would respond to such events visually, I
think therein we find pertinence. Some thoughts anyway.....

Larry Seiler