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Re: Art Ed and War

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From: Vivian Komando (komandv_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Sep 23 2001 - 19:03:41 PDT


In response to Jane's (in Brooklyn) questions:

What is the role of the art educator in times of war and
conflict?

I would think our role is the same as in times of peace -
to show our students that art depicts our humanity. It is
communication from one human to another. It is a way for
us to express our feelings. Artists have something to say
and they use their art to convey a message, regardless of
the media. Art can help us understand ourselves and
others. Our role is to empower our students with the mode
used for their expression.

How do current events fit in with the purpose of teaching

art in a school setting?

Hopefully, current events are examined and discussed in
the art room. Students should have a voice in what they
are creating and that voice should be an informed voice.

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

I am not feeling this pressure. It is just the opposite.
I am seeing in my students a desire to express their
feelings about what has happened. I am seeing more
students say the pledge than I have in the past 20 years.
I am seeing that students are understanding what the
words in the Star Spangled Banner mean and that these
words have personal meaning - to them - today - and that
they are part of a united group. I think they are
realizing what patriotism means.

Are we thought of as therapists during this time, and
what we do as therapy, even though we are not trained as
such (thinking of the teacher who demonstrated how to cut
a throat in order to "explain")

I don't think many think of us as therapists, but perhaps
they think of us as enablers to provide images that
depict our national pride. But many of us know that our
students are dealing with these issues through the
expression they put into their artwork.

If we teach themed lessons about current events, are we
helping students understand the difference between
patriotism and nationalism?

It would depend on the teacher and how the lesson was
introduced. What is the intent of the lesson? And we must
consider how the student interprets these and what the
student is feeling. Perhaps to some there is no
difference and yet to others they are worlds apart.
Heritage is interwoven here as well.

These are difficult and confusing times. What is the
"job" of the artist?

We cannot assume that every artist has the same job or
the same sense / feeling of responsibility to incorporate
into his or her work. Each artist that does contribute
will offer a different perspective.

The art teacher?

Again, the same issues - each teacher will respond from
their perspective. This will also be colored (no pun
intended) by the age they teach, the type of school they
work in, and the community they live in.
 
Has it become different from what is was nearly two weeks
ago?

Oh, yes, because feelings and emotions are being shared
openly. Our freedom has been disrupted and what we took
for granted two weeks ago is more precious and dear today
to each of us.

~^~
Vivian

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Increase the Peace ~^~ {^}Each time a (Hu)man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, (s)he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. Robert F. Kennedy~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Visit our High School art Page: http://members.home.net/artzheart

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