SchoolArts Magazine

JAN 2014

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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Editor's Letter H ave you ever thought that a place could inspire creativity? From my own experience, I think that particular places can foster a "climate" of creativity. One such place is an isolated little town in the high desert of far West Texas called Marfa. Marfa only has around 2,000 residents, but it has been an art lover's destination and a cultural center for contemporary art ever since minimalist artist Donald Judd moved there from New York City in 1971. The town's visitor website promotes it as "Tough to get to. Tougher to explain. But once you get here, you get it." Judd bought a decommissioned fort in Marfa and used it as a place to permanently install his large-scale art. His reputation and presence drew artists and other creative spirits to live and work in Marfa. Since Judd's death, the Chinati Foundation and the Judd Foundation have worked to maintain his legacy. Marfa is home to many other art organizations and galleries: El Cosmico, whose accommodations are described on its website as "renovated vintage trailers, safari, and scout tents, Sioux-style tepees, and tent campsites"; a public radio station; El Paisano Hotel, where Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and Rock Hudson stayed when they filmed the movie Giant; and the mysterious, unexplained Marfa lights, reported to move and dance some nights in the distance between Marfa and Paisano Pass. Some artworks near Marfa have recently generated controversy and include Prada Marfa, an art installation that looks like a Prada storefront, and a forty-foot neon Playboy bunny. Though I can't get you and all your students to Marfa, I believe you can foster a similar climate of creativity in your artroom. And the soonto-be-released next generation of national arts standards, developed by the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (, may provide some assistance as the new standards are Follow me on organized around the artistic processes of creating, presenting, and responding. In the new standards, "creating" is seen as conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work; the capability or act of conceiving something original/unusual. A student engaged in creative practices: • imaginesamentalimageorconcept; • investigatesandstudiesthroughexplorationor examination; • constructsaproductbycombiningorarranging a series of elements; and • reflectsandthinksdeeplyabouthisorher work. In the National Core Arts Standards, the creative practices are a springboard and bridge for the application of the artistic processes across all five arts disciplines. Whether or not your state adopts the new standards, their content and language may prove useful to you in advocating for your art program and in fostering and maintaining a climate of creativity for your students. Think creatively! Web Links Check out my blog at

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