SchoolArts Magazine

November 2017

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 12 of 54

Co-Editor's Letter Editor Nancy Walkup invited Wanda B. Knight, associate professor of art education and women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Penn State School of Visual Arts, to be a co-editor of this issue. SchoolArts November co-editor Wanda B. Knight. A re you just an art teacher? Or are you a JUST art teacher? While both questions may seem like one and the same, they are entirely different. Unlike the former, the latter has implications for social justice praxis. As our student population increases in diversity, it is important that art teachers become agents of change for social justice. Social Justice, essentially, is a moral concept based on notions that all people should be treated fairly regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, sex- ual orientation, class, (dis)ability, language, age, national- ity, religion, and so on. Social justice activism describes a type of individual or group action that is intended to resist, reverse, or achieve social change. I perceive myself to be more than just an art teacher. I am a JUST art teacher. The reason I have invested ener - gies toward envisioning and creating more JUST class- rooms and societies for more than thirty years is so that all individuals will have equitable opportunities and circumstances to thrive and succeed in a world free from injustice and oppression. While it is important for teachers to recognize injustice, what would happen if all art teachers were JUST teachers and took action? Having been provided gifts of guidance and teaching and the trust that we will apply what we have learned to empower youth to take action, what can art teachers do to include social justice content, concepts, themes, and perspectives into art education? We hope this issue of SchoolArts will provide you with some answers. Acting as an agent of change requires deep personal com- mitment, and the confidence that change is possible. So back to my original questions: Are you just an art teacher? Or are you a JUST art teacher? It is up to each of us to personally grapple with these questions while embarking upon a path of self-discovery to find answers. It has been both an honor and pleasure to co-edit this special issue of SchoolArts. To read about eight insights into being a JUST art educator, see page 38. 8 NOVEMBER 2017 SchoolArts

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