SchoolArts Magazine

May-June 2015

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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Page 7 of 54

H ow do we teach students to learn about and understand the history of art without having them copy an artist's style? This seems to be a challenge many art teachers face. We want our students to know and recognize historic and con- temporary artworks; individual artist's styles and cultural traditions; and experi- ence a wide variety of media, methods, and techniques, but how do we do this and have students create unique, trans- formational artworks? How can we help our students draw inspiration from other cultures, times, or places in meaningful ways? Studio Thinking 2: The Real Ben- efits of a Visual Arts Education (Teachers College Press, 2013) offers guidance for these concerns through the disposition called "Understand Art Worlds." Studio Thinking 2 presents two approaches to understanding art worlds through: (1) domain and (2) communities of art practice. Domain is understood as familiarity with the full range of art and artists from prehistoric to contemporary times. Communities of art practice rep- resent those who speak the language of art and are concerned with and knowl- edgeable about art. Through the lens of domain, students come to understand that they are work- ing on visual art problems similar to those artists have dealt with in the past or are dealing with now. Students can learn from and be inspired by these art- ists to inform their own art-making, considering big ideas or themes instead of replicating styles or media. We want students to learn to respect and draw inspiration from other cultures, times, or places. Brian Donnelly, known professionally as KAWS, is a contemporary artist whose work fits into multiple art worlds. He began as a graffiti artist (much like Keith Haring), worked as an animator for Disney for a short time, and now creates sculptures, acrylic paintings, limited- edition vinyl toys, and clothing. His artwork, Companion, shown here during a KAWS exhibit at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, is Visit Follow me on Editor's Letter based on a Mickey Mouse figure and inspired by a balloon for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. His work is distinctive and recognizable, no matter what the form or media, because of his recurring, stylized characters. This month, SchoolArts offers articles that explore a number of art worlds: folk art ("Mem- ory Pictures"), textile arts and collaboration ( "Flowers, Felt, Fun"), fan zines ("Zines with Friends"), and new media and technology ("Dig - ital Gets Dirty"). Nancy with KAWS's Companion at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

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