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Defining the artist/teacher John W. Cataldo, editor, 1963-1967. (A Look at the Past).

John Cataldo's editorial philosophy regarding SchoolArts is perhaps best understood by reading his last editorial comments. In his "summary & prologue" published in September 1967, he states:

"I believe that the Advisors, Contributing Editors and the readership have, by their efforts, established a quality standard for publications that will serve as a model and platform for future growth in art education.

"At, first, our efforts to upgrade both content and format upset the conventional expectations and values of the existing readership, and we were clearly abrasive. Subsequently, however, we attracted a readership whose contributions endorsed the newly established standards, and what once had been an editorial goal became a widely accepted reality."

There is no doubt that, from his first issue, John Cataldo drastically changed both content and format. Most noticeable, initially, are the format changes. The first page of the magazine, which contains the index, lists the editorial board, and contains information about the issue, uses at least 11 different type forms. Not only is each section printed in a different typeface, but also in some areas several typefaces are used in the same section.

Another notable change is that all the text, in the index and throughout the issue, is in lowercase letters. Cataldo later defended this choice by stating that research shows speed and comprehension are highest in lower-case text, and that the editor of SchoolArts abandoned the use of upper-case letters in the text as a fixed element of design. Although he wanted readability and did agree to "employ capitalization" as a reading guide in the text, he continued to treat each issue and article as a design problem. As seen in his first issue and his last, choices about layout, typeface, and font size were based as much on aesthetics as they were on readability. Cataldo continually reiterates his intention to improve communication through graphic innovation.

The content of the magazine also underwent considerable change. Although the focus was still on presenting ideas for classroom art activities, and featuring many notable art educators, Cataldo based the content of articles in SchoolArts on art and artists. Cataldo wanted the content of articles in SchoolArts to focus on the nature of art, aesthetics, and the thinking processes of artists. Teaching art as a discipline and as a subject for serious study was certainly emphasized.

Most issues published during his tenure featured conversations with contemporary artists or craftspeople. In some articles, such as the September 1965 article about Peter Volkas, an internationally known potter and sculptor, the artist's work is photographed and discussed by the author (Cyr). Other articles are based on interviews and a presentation of the artist's work, for example, the interview with graphic artist Antonio Frasconi. In other instances, for example Cyr's conversation with painter Nicholas Krushenick in May of 1967, teaching art is a focus as well as making art. Artists from the past, such as Thomas Eakins and John Sloan, were featured in an effort to define the artist/teacher model. Each feature on an artist/teacher was also emphasized through special graphic decisions. They were printed on different type and color stock from the rest of the issue, and they were often printed with different colored ink.

While emphasis was placed on adult art and artists, Cataldo did not ignore the presentation of ideas for classroom use. However, articles dealing with artmaking activities were usually non-grade specific. Authors presented and discussed processes richly illustrated with children's art- in general terms rather than as projects designed for specific grades or age groups. Most articles centered on discussions of the artistic process and the creative experience rather than listing objectives for learning. After all, this was the sixties!

From the first issue he edited in January 1963, John Cataldo saw each issue of SchoolArts as a design challenge to be solved. Each issue was written, visually planned, and edited to appeal to the artist side of the artist/teacher. In the process, he created some of the most visually interesting, if not always the most easily readable, issues of the magazine.

Marianne S. Kerlavage is a professor of art education and chair of the Department of Art at Millersville University in Pennsylvania.
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Author:Kerlavage, Marianne S.
Publication:School Arts
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2002
Previous Article:Items of interest.
Next Article:Art education offers a way of working. (Voices from the Past, February 1939).

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