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Start to finish.

This issue is about artistic journeys--from start to finish--from sketchbooks and journals to exhibitions and a world united through art. My comments on this page are also about a journey--an editor's journey--from start to finish.

The journey begins in the 1940s with a sensitive child making scrapbooks of pictures and poems. It continues into the 1950s with a college student editing the yearbook and the editorial page of the weekly newspaper. After decades of detours and teaching art, the journey gains momentum in 1993 with Marilyn Stewart telling Wyatt Wade that I would make a good editor for SchoolArts. I owe a debt of gratitude to both: Marilyn, for recognizing a repressed interest; and Wyatt, for trusting her judgment. And I am indebted to the Davis family for giving me the opportunity and encouragement to share my voice. It's been a great privilege and a marvelous journey.

On this journey, I have put together ninety-nine issues. I remember being overcome by self-doubt when I started to write my first editorial: "Every day, somewhere, a teacher looks out over a classroom and sees a void, a space made vacant by the crossfire of street violence." But I found a rhythm, and the ideas flowed. I ended the first part of that editorial with: "Every day, everywhere, teachers look for ways to make a difference in kids' lives."

Fortunately, I don't think I could write that opening sentence about street violence with conviction today. We've seen some significant changes in the past eleven years. We've gone from the height of Discipline-Based Art Education to the emergence of Visual Culture Art Education, from multiple intelligences and alternative assessments to high-stakes standardized testing, from teaching for lifelong learning to teaching for the test. Through it all, I viewed the magazine as a reflection of practices in the field, while trying to raise the standard.

I had many goals, but the one that kept eluding me was trying to get it right. I wanted each issue to be perfect, but perfection was beyond my grasp. Each oversight or error of judgment was painful. But just as the criticisms were an embarrassment of limitations, the praises were an embarrassment of riches. I have been blessed many times over. Your comments have made my memories. That has been my greatest reward.

From start to finish, I was never alone. I was simply the one up front, with my picture and story on the editorial page. I was just the most conspicuous part of a dedicated staff. The staff and advisory board members were my ballast. The names of just a few of the many people to whom I am thankful appear regularly on the masthead of each issue.

I have learned--from subscribers, authors, contributors, advisors, staff--more than I could ever recount in this limited space. But the lasting lessons learned are these: no one approach is going to serve every teacher's needs; you can't please everyone, but you should at least try; and perfection is a worthy, but unattainable, goal. Soon it will all be history.

If it's true that history is the study of past mistakes, then Nancy Walkup is about to become an overworked student of history, for she will be learning from mine. Nancy will take over as editor of SchoolArts beginning with the September 2005 issue. Nancy--an art specialist at W.S. Ryan Elementary in Denton, Texas--has been on the SchoolArts advisory board as well as a regular contributor to the magazine and a contributing textbook and study print author for Davis Publications. A former project coordinator for the North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts, Nancy served as the program coordinator for NAEA's convention in New York City. Over the course of her career, she has taught art at every level from kindergarten to university. She brings a practical perspective to the magazine.

Along with confidence and trust, I extend hope to Nancy and the SchoolArts staff for continuing the tradition of excellence and professionalism long associated with Davis Publications and SchoolArts magazine.

Finally, I respect all of you for your dedication and commitment to advancing art in the lives of your students. I believed it at the start of the journey, and I'm even more convinced at the finish: "Every day, everywhere, teachers look for ways to make a difference in kids' lives." Thanks for proving me right.

And so the journey ends.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Editor's Comments
Author:Katter, Eldon
Publication:School Arts
Date:May 1, 2005
Words:734
Previous Article:School's out!
Next Article:A fond farewell.
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