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Past Exhibits: Art Education

Case A2, P: Historical Art Education Materials

art education Case P:
These art education exercises, as well as the typed-up notes from art class, were done by a student in 1932. She attended St. Philomena School, an all-girls Catholic high school in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, run by members of the Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) order. The nuns teaching the girls were unlikely to have had any formal training as art educators; they apparently relied on art education books/textbooks available to them. The exercises reflect the pedagogical ideas of some of the leading art educators of the day, especially Arthur Wesley Dow. Dow and others emphasized design, and the underlying principles of beauty which were believed to be the basis of good design and good art. He believed that art teachers should instill “a steady growth in good judgment as to form, tone, and color through all grades from the kindergarten to the high school” (Dow, 1928, p. 217). It was not long after 1932 that other art educators would advance the “cause” of creative free expression (often championing the idea of “child-centered” schools as well), rejecting the type of approach Dow took, with its somewhat stringent emphasis on design principles.

Case A2
These materials were generously lent by Mary Cantu, a graduate student in the Art Education program.