Theory and Practice
There is often a split between the theories of art education and between
the actual practice of art education. There are many reasons to embrace
theory and there are good reasons to be wary of theory. Theory that
claims to have identified the best and only way of currently structuring
art education is not in sync with postmodern times in which a variety
of approaches and positions can be seen as equally valid, at least
as starting points. Planning a curriculum based on theoretical positions,
even interesting, up-to-date theories, can be dry and lifeless. "Authoring"
art projects is an art form and needs to begin in an aesthetic, not
only an intellectual impulse. Without the aesthetic impulse, that
combines thinking, perceiving, and making in fresh ways, curriculum
is a mere recitation of what has been, rather than an exploration
of what can be.
Yet, theory can spark an intellectual and aesthetic impulse. Such
thinking can transform and enliven an art education curriculum. It
can encourage incorporating contemporary thinking about art and culture
into the everyday life of the classroom. It can draw attention to
important, but hitherto for, unnoticed aspects of the content of the
curriculum. It can challenge us to step back from immersion in the
beauty and complexity of the visual and material world to re-think
why we do what we do.
The articles in this section are by teachers, artists, and professors
whose ideas have contributed to the Contemporary Community Curriculum
Initiative. Our goal is to present articles that will stimulate teachers
to look through different eyes at their K-12 (and college) art rooms.
It is by these shifts of perception causing sometimes a slight
and subtle change of emphasis or at other times a complete make-over
of some aspect of the curriculum that teachers continue to
re-invent the practice, outcomes, and theory of art education in our