“Art Works” is a monthly column that provides bits of know-how and reminders of ways to assure the success of your art program. In the coming year, look for advice and suggestions related to learning about, responding to and making art, integrating art into the curriculum, displaying student work, reaching out to the community, and more.–B.H. by Barbara Herberholz hat considerations and guidelines are available for school districts and teachers to use in planning and implementing their art curriculum for the 21st century? As in every aspect of life, change has occurred, and the place of art in the schools has not remained static. The National Art Education Association (NAEA) has clearly defined the role of art with six content and achievement standards that are broad in coverage and designed specifically to ensure a thorough and comprehensive art program for K–4, 5–8 and 9–12. To meet the standards, students learn vocabularies and concepts associated with various types of work in the visual arts, and must exhibit their competence at various levels in visual, oral and written form. The visual arts include drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, design of all sorts, architecture, film, video and folk arts—all involving tools, techniques and processes. NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR VISUAL ARTS EDUCATION Concise and practi- W . when we Review the National Visual Arts Standards meaning of art in diverse cultures, students need opportunities to engage in a variety of challenging activities: looking, thinking, reflecting, doing, evaluating, analyzing and synthesizing, all in a creative and personally expressive mode. HOW THE STANDARDS CAME TO BE cal, the Standards are helpful in planning an all-inclusive, sequential art program. They are: 1. Understanding and applying media, techniques and processes. 2. Using knowledge of structures and functions. 3. Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas. 4. Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures. 5. Reflecting on and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others. 6. Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines. So, in order to create, understand and appreciate artworks, artists, artistic processes and the roles, functions and 18 The role of the visual arts in the schools has been far from unchanging through the years. Due in part to the Industrial Revolution, 19th-century teachers emphasized drawing so students could acquire skills for factory work, sketching portraits, encouraging good penmanship and improving hand-eye coordination. In the early 1900s, art programs began to include the study of reproductions of paintings and sculpture (which were usually historic or sentimental), believing this taught moral values and socially productive behavior. The curriculum at this time included manual arts so students could make practical and useful gifts and items for the home. Soon, the emerging interest in psychology and human behavior led to the child-study movement, with its interest in children’s drawings and what they might reveal about mental and emotional growth. This was the beginning of art as a source of personal and creative expression, with Franz Cizek and others holding the view that art could be used for play and creativity in children’s lives. In the 1920s and ’30s, John Dewey emphasized a child-centered curriculum based on creativity and play, while Arthur Wesley Dow took the position that the elements and principles of art were important for the industrial crafts and manual arts, as well as helping students appreciate artwork. MODERN CONCEPTS AND APPROACHES Lowenfeld put forth the concept of creative self-expression, and how art contributes to the growth of the child— emotionally, intellectually, physically, perceptually, socially, aesthetically and creatively. He asserted the importance of art in the child’s development by focusing on creativity through sensitivity, fluency, flexibility, originality, rearrangement, analysis and synthesis. The Getty Center for Education in the Arts supported a discipline-based art education movement, and in 1984, outlined a comprehensive approach organized around four components: artistic perception, creative expression, historical and cultural context, and aesthetic valuing. And, in 1986, teachers and administrators greeted an NAEA booklet, Quality Art Education, Goals for Schools: An Interpretation, which covered the four areas of art study: aesthetics, art production, art criticism and art history. By the 1990s, most states were revising their art frameworks to recommend content for schools to use in adopting a policy for their curricula. And, at the start of the 21st century, the NAEA developed The National Standards for Visual Arts Education, a comprehensive approach in which students learn about art through multiple ways, as well as integrating art throughout the school curriculum. Thus, a framework is provided for helping students learn the characteristics of the visual arts by using a range of subject matter, symbols, images and visual expressions to reveal their thoughts and feelings, and evaluate their own efforts. These objectives are addressed to promote the acquisition of and fluency in new ways of thinking and communication, as they emphasize the student’s possession of important concepts incorporated in the visual arts. n Barbara Herberholz is an art-education consultant in Sacramento, Calif., and an Arts & Activities Contributing Editor. She and her late husband, Donald Herberholz, Ed.D., wrote “Artworks for Elementary Teachers,” now in its Ninth Edition (McGraw-Hill; 2002). x www.ar tsandactivities.com Later in the 20th century, Viktor september 2010
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