SchoolArts Magazine

AUG-SEP 2010

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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All Levels From left: Katherine Schneider, Amanda Deibert, Marilyn Stewart, Zoe DeHart, Cassie Langan, and Ellen Pados. Not shown: Amy Ahn and Jennifer Low. A Serendipitous collaboration Marilyn Stewart T he phone call came as I was preparing my art education graduate curriculum course for the upcoming semester. Wyatt Wade, president of Davis Publications, and Nancy Walkup, editor of SchoolArts, wanted me to write the Looking and Learning feature for the 2010–11 volume of the magazine. What made this assignment really interesting was the fact that they also wanted to highlight contemporary art, and to that end, suggested a focus on artists, artworks, and to some extent, themes featured in the PBS series Art:21. Collaborations This project sounded like fun, especially because I decided to include my curriculum students in the process. After all, the kind of thinking involved would address what stands at the heart of curriculum decisionmaking. We would need to consider basic, foundational ideas about who our students are, what is important for them to learn, and how this learning can best be accomplished. Besides, I love to collaborate. Probably the most ambitious curriculum project for me was the collaboration with my friend and colleague, Eldon Katter, to create the textbook series, Explorations in Art, for Davis Publications. Rethinking Curriculum in Art, 26 August/September 2010 SchoolArts them, and considered issues such as co-authored with Sydney Walker, was diversity and age-appropriateness. another important collaboration. In both of these collaborations, Considering the Real World we emphasized creating curriculum Our goal was to create inquiry-rich around "big" or "enduring" ideas— strategies for investigating meaning. themes at the center of our lives. With We imagined teachers having their the Looking and Learning project, we students consider could explore such themes and in doing We emphasized creating the artworks in their so, make connections curriculum around" big" socio-historical contexts, offer interpreamong enduring or "enduring" ideas— tations, and explore ideas, contemporary themes at the center of ideas through artart, and art from our lives as humans. making. Our classes other times and were lively, always places. accompanied by a delivery of wraps and cookies from Betty's, our favorite Exploring Contemporary Art neighborhood restaurant. My students unanimously agreed As the semester came to a close, a to take on the project. They liked group of four students agreed to conthe focus on contemporary art. It is tinue working on the project through important for students to realize that the summer. This team refined and artists live in their world, see what further developed the curriculum they see, and grapple with issues and plans created by the class during the ideas that surround us all. We began regular semester. by brainstorming about the themes for This collaborative project provided the year, looking for embedded ideas all of us an opportunity to become and connections with students' lives. familiar with some wonderful artWe wanted to note obvious, but also ists and artworks as we stretched our subtle ways to think about the theme. intellects to grapple with curriculum Each student selected artists theory in a real-world context. and artworks based on an assigned theme and brought their selections Marilyn Stewart is professor of art educain for consideration. Each week we tion at Kutztown University of Pennsylvadiscussed the pros and cons of the nia, co-author of Explorations in Art and selected artworks, imagined how we Rethinking Curriculum in Art, author of Thinking Through Aesthetics, and editor might engage students in exploring of the Art Education in Practice series, all published by Davis Publications.

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