Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teaching Artists and Touring Shows are NOT a Full Arts Education...

From the new Wallace Foundation report: The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education:
Sending in artists for various periods of residence is never enough to bring about fundamental change. (Erickson, 2004; Smith 1992). All too often, partnerships degenerate into one-time visits by artists, one-time master classes, or one-time trips to off-site performances.

This argument is summed up well by Ana Cardona: "(When) the emphasis...is more on out-of-school arts learning than in-school learning, it can be very dangerous because it can give a message to educator/administrator types that we don't need to make an investment in sequential arts education....That whole range is way too hit or miss, not sequential, and it can't replace what art teachers do in the schools, or should be doing in the schools." Laura Chapman warned that "a local booking agency for artists and arts organizations has become a way for schools to have an ad hoc and token representation of the arts at shcool through occasional short-term programs." Ideally teaching artists should not be a substitute for certified art teachers, but rather an additional unique resource to what schools can currently provide as instuction in the arts.

Also talked about in the large study is the hotly debated issue of how the making of art can sometimes be taught to such an extent that it edges out the teaching of appreciation.

1 comment:

Ian Thal said...

"Ideally", yes.

But so many schools have had their arts programs routed years ago, so that even if they have art teachers of any discipline on staff, they are often employed at that school part time and don't have their own fixed classroom in the building.

The tendency to use visiting artists instead of a full time arts faculty in the Boston Public Schools, is something we began seeing years before the current economic crisis.