Transforming Art Education
Transformationdesignisthe applicationofdesigntobig, complexissuestocreate changeswewouldliketosee
in our surroundings, in ourselves, and
in the way we live and work. Transformation is more than change because
it implies the creation of a whole new
state of being. Transformation is on
the scale of a caterpillar turning into a
butterfly, discovering that the Earth is
not the center of the solar system, or
the impact of the printing press on the
development of human culture.
Discipline Based Art Education
In the early 1980s, the field of art
education was transformed by the
introduction of discipline-based art
education (DBAE) to include art history, art criticism, and aesthetics, as
well as the production of art. Within
twenty years, national and state
standards, assessments, curriculum,
teacher preparation, research agendas,
resources, and many other aspects
of art education were transformed to
align with the DBAE model.
A quarter of a century later, art education is being transformed once again.
Traditional art education is becoming
something closer to visual literacy
and includes the application of visual
thinking in everyday communication, design of everyday objects, global
and the myriad
ways in which we
learn, think, and
The transformation from art education to visual literacy requires systematic inclusion of
four major domains:
Visual Communication. The everyday
use of visual images, objects, places,
and experiences. Visual communication is the counterpart to reading,
writing, and mathematics and is
basic to every student’s education.
Design. The application of visual
thinking to solve problems and
enhance the quality of life for oth-
ers. This includes two-dimensional
graphic design, three-dimensional
product design, four-dimensional
environment design, and five-
dimensional experience design.
Design is the visual counterpart to
Visual Culture. The everyday visual
world of folk art, crafts, popular
media, and all
the other images,
objects, places, and
maintain as part of
our cultural identity. Visual culture
study is the counterpart to social
Art. Deep exploration of oneself
through visual means with no particular function or preconceived
expectations. Artists explore visual
media and what it means to be
human the way scientists explore
life and the universe whether or not
a practical application is expected
at the time.
Transformation is more
than change because it
implies the creation of a
whole new state of being.
Continued on page 70.
14 April 2011 SchoolArts
Continued from page 14.
Circle No. 177 on Reader’s Service Card
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Teaching Visual Literacy
Just like the DBAE transformation in
the 1980s, the visual literacy transformation in the twenty-first century
is opening up widespread changes in
art education as a whole. Where will
we find those who can teach product
design, architecture, urban planning,
game design, Web design, and fashion or auto design in art education
programs? While art education has
traditionally identified itself primarily with university art departments in
the past, this transformation requires
drawing from interdisciplinary
departments at universities often not
previously associated with art education.
A growing number of art teachers
have already begun making this transformation and have renamed their
programs “Art and Design.” Many
have already developed courses in
graphic design, product design, spatial
design, and interactive design. There
are many resources already available
for those who are willing to adapt to
today’s learning environments. It will
be exciting and challenging to live
through another major transformation
in art education that will not only
change the field of art education, but
will transform education as a whole
in the twenty-first century.
2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122 800-876-4328 / 972-288-7557 Toll Free Fax 888-222-6450 www.paragonweb.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Rayala teaches at Kutztown
University in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.
Circle No. 141 on Reader’s Service Card
April 2011 SchoolArts