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Recalling a sense of purpose: the DBAE literature project-part one. (Moving Forward).

The idea of discipline-based art education that was associated with the Getty Center for Education in the Arts during the 1980s and 1990s may be understood as contributing to a major effort by writers to recast the aims and teaching of art in the schools. The Getty initiative, in other words, was not novel or revolutionary. It took its lead from existing ideas that held that the teaching of art in the schools should be substantive and demanding. Recognizing the error of past efforts to reform art education that attempted to bypass the field, Getty policymakers understood the wisdom of involving the field in significant ways. The perception was that the field was moving in the direction of increasing the intellectual content of aesthetic learning. Engendering in young people a well-developed sense of art was seen as pre-conditional for the intelligent and sensitive engagements of works of art and other things from an aesthetic point of view.

Providing Models of Inquiry

Building such a sense of art involved the acquisition of rudimentary capacities to create works of art, a general knowledge of art history, a grasp of some of the basic principles of aesthetic judgement, and an ability to reflect thoughtfully about the values and uses of the arts. Consequently, the Getty took the position that the teaching of art should be grounded in the interrelated disciplines of art-making, art history, art criticism, and aesthetics (philosophy of art). It was not believed that art education should consist of teaching these disciplines as separate subjects. Rather, the disciplines provided content and models of thinking and inquiry.

Developing Minds

Another way of interpreting the idea of discipline-based art education is to say that it addressed the two faces of the cognitive revolution in thinking about the character of mind and human development--the substantive and the procedural faces. The theme of mind-building, for example, emerged as one of the major purposes of DBAE. As interest in DBAE grew, it seemed advisable to take a look at the literature it had developed by the Getty and by others. This was the occasion for the project described below.

An Extensive Body of Literature

The DBAE Literature project was a two-year study supported by the Getty. It undertook two major tasks: (1) the identification of the major topics and literature of DBAE from 1982 to 1998, and (2) the preparation of an annotated bibliography for use by the profession and others interested in the idea of discipline-based art education. The project identified over 600 items that were believed worth annotating. That may seem like a high number, but the Getty initiative generated an uncommonly extensive body of literature, and the aim of the project was to achieve representativeness. It was also thought important to convey the varied tone and substance of the literature. This meant including some items that radically misconstrued the purposes of DBAE; others that understood what such purposes were, but took strong exception to them; and still others that either uncritically praised it or provided balanced accounts. In annotating the literature, project staff members endeavored to avoid evaluative terminology and tried to be as objective and descriptive as possible. Some items were included in the bibliography that did not discuss DBAE specifically, but which were consistent with it and thus considered worth inclusion.

Available in Print

The bibliography is divided into ten categories: aims and policy, antecedents and evolution, disciplines, curriculum, implementation and evaluation, research and aesthetic development, professional development, museums and museum education, issues, and a category "other" that consists of items that do not fit anywhere else.

Upon completion of the bibliography, the Getty requested that the project provide a selective bibliography for Stephen Dobbs's Guide to DBAE Learning in and through Art. (1998). For the Dobbs volume, items are arranged under the headings of books, reports and proceedings, articles, instructional resources, multicultural art print series, videos, and advocacy.

My own anthology Readings in Discipline-Based Art Education: A Literature of Education Reform (Smith, 2000) lists items under fewer topics than in the annotated bibliography. This book of readings was not part of the literature project. However, having compiled such an extensive bibliography, it seemed worthwhile to do something with it. With Getty encouragement and permission, items were selected for a collection published by the National Art Education Association. The book is dedicated to Leilani Lattin Duke for her unparalleled leadership over a period of seventeen years. The profession owes Duke an enormous debt, and the NAEA has appropriately recognized her accomplishments.

Twenty Six Out of Six Hundred

As I've indicated, DBAE produced a large body of substantive writing. Only a few samples for every teacher's professional library are mentioned here.

First to come to mind are the occasional monographs, all published by the Getty Center for Education in the Arts in Los Angeles:

Arnheim, R. (1989) Thoughts on Art Education.

Broudy, H.S. (1987) The Role of Imagery in Learning.

Chalmers, G.F. (1996) Celebrating Pluralism: Art, Education, and Cultural Diversity.

Eisner, E.W. (n.d.) The Role of Discipline-Based Art Education in America's Schools.

Gardner, H. (1990) Art Education and Human Development.

Then there are the volumes in the Getty-supported series on disciplines and contexts of understanding, all published by the University of Illinois Press in Urbana:

Addiss, S, and M. Erickson, (1993) Art History and Education.

Brown, M. and D. Korzenik, (1993) Art Making and Education.

Levi, A.W., and R.A. Smith, (1991) Art Education: A Critical Necessity.

Parsons, M.J., and H.G. Blocker, (1993) Aesthetics and Education,

Wolff, T., and G. Geahigan, (1997) Art Criticism and Art Education.

To round out the professional library, there are several other noteworthy publications: Interpretations of DBAE: Clark, G., M.J. Day, and W.D. Greer, (1989) Discipline-Based Art Education: Becoming Students of Art, in R.A. Smith (Ed.), Discipline-Based Art Education: Origins, Meaning, and Development (pp. 129-193).


University of Illinois Press, Duke, L.L. (1990). Mind Building and Art Education. Design for Arts in Education 91 (3), 42-45.

Aesthetics and DBAE.

Eaton, M.M. (1994) Philosophical Aesthetics: A Way of Knowing and its Limits in Journal of Aesthetic Education 28 (3), 19-31.

Lankford, F.L. (1992). Aesthetics: Issues and Inquiry. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.

Moore, R. (1995). Aesthetics for Young People. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.

Teaching and Learning:

Perkins, D. (1994). The Intelligent Eye: Learning to Think by Looking at Art. Los Angeles: Getty Center for Education in the Arts.

Stewart, M.G. (1994). Learning Outcomes in Aesthetics in Journal of Aesthetic Education, 28 (3), 77-88.

Implementation of DBAE:

Greer, W.D. (1993). Improving Visual Arts Education in Improving Visual Arts Education: Final Report of the Los Angeles Getty Institute for Education in the Arts, 1982-1989 (pp. 101-109). Santa Monica: Getty Center for Education in the Arts.

Wilson, B., and B. Rubin, (1997). DBAE and Educational Change. Visual Arts Research 23 (2), 90-96.

Artistic and Aesthetic Development:

Parsons, M. J. (1987), Five Phases of Aesthetic Development in M.J. Parsons How We Understand Art: A Cognitive Developmental Account (pp. 128-135). New York: Cambridge University Press. Rush, J. (1997). The Arts and Education Reform: Where Is the model for Teaching the Arts? Arts Education Policy Review 98 (3), 2-9.

Pre-service and In-service Education:

Day, M. (1988). The Interrelationship Between Preservice and Inservice Education for Art Teachers and Specialists. In The Preservice Challenge: Disciplne-Based Art Education and Recent Reports on Higher Education: (pp. 213-216).

Schwartz, K. Los Angeles: Getty Center for the Arts in Education. (1997). DBAE and Staff Development. Visual Arts Research 23 (2) 89-97.

Silvers, A. (1988). Implications of discipline-based art education for preservice education. In The Pre-service Challenge: Discipline-based Art Education and Recent Reports on Higher Education (pp. 94-101). Los Angeles: Getty Center for Education in the Arts.

Issues Surrounding DBAE:

Blocker, H.G. (1993). Art Education and Postmodernism. In M.J. Parsons and H.G. Blocker, Aesthetics and Education (pp. 62-65). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Collins, G. and R. Sandell, (1988). Informing the Promise of DBAE: Remember the Women, Children, and Other Folk. Multicultural and Cross-Cultural Research in Art Education 6(1). 55-63.

Museums and Museum Education:

Csikszentsmihalyi, M. (1991). Notes on Museum Experiences. In Insights, Visitors, Attitudes, Expectation: A Focus Group Experiment. (pp. 123-131). Los Angeles: Getty Center for Education in the Arts and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Osborne, H. (1985). Museums and their Functions. Journal of Aesthetic Education 19 (2), 41-51.


Dobbs, S.M. (1998). Learning in and Through Art. Los Angeles: Getty Education Institute for the Arts.

Smith, R.A. (Ed.) (2000). Readings in Discipline-Based Art Education: A Literature of Educational Reform. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.

Ralph A. Smith is Professor Emeritus of Cultural and Educational Policy, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

To be continued in the November issue.
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Title Annotation:discipline-based art education
Author:Smith, Ralph A.
Publication:School Arts
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2002
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