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What Art Teachers are Saying

Marvin Bartel, a retired professor from Goshen College, Indiana has listed his reasons for having art in the schools:

  • A reason for art is to tell stories, events, myths, beliefs, and literature.

  • A reason for art is to convince, inform, inspire, criticize, persuade, make the world a better place (Guernica by Picasso - Faith Ringgold).

  • A reason for art is to perform rituals, work magic, pray for protection, pray of success, for fertility, for cures for sickness, for prosperity, etc. (tribal fetish art - modern advertising).

  • A reason for art is to enhance a religious ceremony (stained glass in Gothic church - tile of Mosque).

  • A reason for art is to help in meditation as in the contemplation of nature.

  • A reason for art is to create personal and group identity, inspire, school, cultural, and/or national identity, loyalty, and spirit (flags, mascots, logos).

  • A reason for art is to tell how people used to look and behave.

  • A reason for art is to tell us how places and things used to look.

  • A reason for art is to tell us how an artist feels about the subject of artwork (DeKooning - Wyeth).

  • A reason for art is to tell us the ways artists have found to express their creativity, and ways to interpret and represent what they have seen, imagined, remembered and felt (Bearden).

  • A reason for art is to a way to interpret our own emotions and understand ourselves better (Pollack - Frankenthaler).

  • A reason for art is to express and see dreams and fantasies (Mary Frank - Dali).

  • A reason for art is to reveal pure visual pleasure from the impact of color, shape, line, and other elements.

  • A reason for art is to design and create the tools, utensils, and other functional objects needed.

  • A reason for art is to embellish, decorate, and enrich objects and our surroundings.

  • A reason for art is to symbolize or substitute for a real idea or object.

  • A reason for art is memorialize or pay tribute to a person, persons, or event (Maya Lin).

  • A reason for art is provide therapy that helps the creator and/or the viewer better understand a problem and solution.

  • A reason for art is to help us pre-visualize ideas for buildings, bridges, cities, and everything else that is imagined before it is made (Frank Gehry - Frank Lloyd Wright).

  • A reason for art is to add humor to our lives (James Melchert).

  • A reason for art is to create gifts that show love and other feelings to our friends and family (flowers and cards are commonly used this way).

  • A reason for art is to do pure visual research into the effects of color, line, and other elements as well as materials and processes (Joseph Albers).


Why have art?

The arts are being cut from schools and communities. The reasons for this vary but a common thread is that the arts aren't important. This arises primarily from ignorance. if people truly understood that the arts actually improve and enhance learning, and encourage creativity and new ideas, the arts would not be threatened. You can read more about art advocacy on IAD's Art Advocacy page. On this page are a few resources that teachers and arts advocates can use in their ongoing battle to promote the arts.


Advocating the Arts With Our Politicians

The video below is an encouraging sign that some of our politicians understand the value of the arts. However, I believe they are in the minority. Hopefully this video can be used to educate a few politicians.


16 Goals for the Development of Visual Arts Education by Makio Kawashima

1. Visual Arts Education uses hands and tools/implements, and creates what we need to live. (Origin of Human Civilization)
2. Visual Arts Education provide visual literacy in the various modes of visual communication to include drawing, craft, digital art, studio production, art history, aesthetics and criticism. (Visual Literacy)
3. Visual Arts Education confirms the world and expression of children, and allows them to express themselves appropriately for their age. (Advocacy of Child-ness)
4. Visual Arts Education creates tools, and designs the earth and the world by using them beautifully. (Tools and Technology in Harmony)
5. Visual Arts Education confirms each child’s individual sense and expressiveness, assigns to relative values, and allows children to express their own feelings. (Respect of Individuality)
6. Visual Arts Education thinks using eyesight/images, and integrates concrete images into words and numbers. (Visual Thinking)
7. Visual Arts Education attempts to teach children to dream and to experience the joy of creation, not knowledge or skills alone. (Joy of Creativity) For that reason, visual art education teaches the basics while emphasizing multiple kinds of creative art experiences. (Enthusiasm for Creativity)
8. Visual Arts Education uses the specific “expressive and appreciative” activities that children use to create art to teach them to express themselves in many ways and to live their own lives. (Self-expression)
9. Visual Arts Education teaches integration and harmony in the various relationships between people, as well as in tools, materials, and knowledge. (Self-control and Cooperation) (Hands-on Projects)
10. Visual Arts Education turns Destructive Energy into Constructive Artwork. (Art Therapy)
11. Visual Arts Education aims at child-focused activities, and is opposed to instructors teaching unilaterally using particular teaching methods such as XX. (Opposition to Uniformity)
12. Visual Arts Education is based on a broad specialization in creative arts and consideration for children. Individualized instruction appropriate to each child is the ideal. (Individual Instruction)
13. Visual Arts Education develops a lifelong love of creative arts, a sense of beauty, and a rich capacity for self expression. (Self-realization)
14. Visual Arts Education enhances culture and fine arts for real development of human beings, and protects traditional cultural assets and copyrights. (Protection and Development of Culture and Fine Arts)
15. Visual Arts Education aims to build personalities able to deal proactively with all future issues with creativity and with self-sufficiency. (Contributing to the Society of the Future) 16. Visual Arts Education is inviting students to create a vision of Peace. (Peacemaking !)

Copyright (C) 2013 Makio Kawashima, Japan. All Rights Reserved.


The video below is by an art teacher. It's an animated script that explains why we have art and how it promotes divergent and critical thinking:



Did you know that:

* 1.25 million Americans work in the visual arts.
* One in 111 jobs is in art and design.
* The economic impact of art and design exceeds that of sports worldwide.
* The creative industries are an estimated $30 billion export annually.
* Jobs in design have increased 43% in the past ten years.
* Yearly sales of art reach an estimated $10 billion in the United States alone.
* There are over 532,000 designers working in the U.S.
* More people are employed in the visual arts than in all of the performing arts and sports industries combined.
* 200,000 people are employed in the film industry.
* People spend approximately $55 billion annually on video games.
* The computer animation industry generates $33 billion annually.
* Jobs and employment in many creative industries are growing faster than the labor force as a whole and make up 30% of the work force by some estimates.
* America’s nonprofit arts industry generates $134 billion in economic activity every year.
* By 2016, jobs for artists and designers are predicted to increase by 42%.
* Arts-related businesses in the country's largest cities represent 4.3% of all businesses and 2.2% of all jobs in the United States.
* There are 3 million people working for over 600,000 arts-centric businesses in the United States.
* Employment growth by arts-centric businesses since 2007 was 12%, more than four times the rise in the total number of U.S. employees.
* Designers are the single largest group of artists, followed by performing artists such as actors, dancers, musicians, and announcers.
* Employment of interior designers is expected to grow 19% from 2006 to 2016.
* Median salaries of: Creative Directors–$90,000, Art Directors–$86,505, Fine Artists–$48,870, Multi-media Artists and Animators–$61,555, Graphic Designers–$46,925, Set and Exhibit Designers–$49,330, Producers and Directors–$86,790, Broadcast Technicians–$40,270, Photographers–$36,090, and Film and Video Editors–$66,715.
* Wage and salary employment in the motion picture and video industries is projected to grow 11% by 2016.
* Animators, film and video editors, and others skilled in digital filming and computer-generated imaging have the best job prospects in future of the motion picture and video industries.
* There are about 94,000 computer artists and animators working in the United States.
* Jobs for photographers have increased 38% in the past four years.

Sources: Americans for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Entertainment Software Association



See IAD's Arts Advocacy rationale



  • Arts Education Partnership national coalition of arts, education, business, philanthropic and government organizations that demonstrates and promotes the essential role of the arts in the learning and development of every child and in the improvement of America's schools.

  • ASCI, art and science collaboration.

  • ArtsEdge, A collaboration between the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Department of Education, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • The Perseus Project - The Perseus Project is a collaborative academic publication compiled by art historians, philologists, and archaeologists for teaching and research. It contains textual and visual materials for the study of ancient Greek civilization.


  • An Art Education Guide for Kids - [Archive] A large collection of links to elements and principles of art, concepts, media and art styles.

  • Art Aware serves inner city students in Camden, New Jersey by introducing them to world culture through art - ancient civilizations to modern art. Lesson on Romare Bearden for grade 3 through 8. combines watercolor with collage.

  • Art in Action offers a discipline-based, sequential visual art curriculum that teaches art appreciation, art history, and art techniques. Located in the Bay Area, California - serving schools nationwide. School programs and summer camp offerings.

  • Art in History - A nicely designed site with guides, videos and resources.

  • Art Education Place - Site by Steve West, Retired Art Teacher & Former Art Supervisor Volusia County Schools, Florida. This site will not work with the Chrome browser.

  • ARTnet Nebraska, a project of Prairie Visions, the Nebraska Consortium for Discipline-Based Art Education. See an archive of its former self.

  • ArtSmart- A great resource that includes galleries, artists lessons, and processes. Although it is geared to Indiana art teachers, everyone will find something valuable here.

  • Be Much: Teaching the Principles of Design pdf - This is a huge resource that includes lessons as well as information on art education.

  • The Florida Institute for Art Education, [Archive] a statewide project designed to develop DBAE.

  • Jewish Art Education - This site explores the importance of the visual arts to Jewish civilization.

  • KidzArt [Archive] - Site created by Marvin Grossman ED. Ed - to encourage the art in education. KidzArt is for art teachers, classroom teachers, parents and any other persons interested in our childrens' artistic creative development. Lesson plan, digital art and more. Dr. Grossman's Art Education Philosophy

  • Teacher Tube - The teacher version of YouTube. Browse through many videos.




  • Activate: The Journal of Technology-Rich Learning- These web-based resources are intended for students, parents, teachers, administrators, library media specialists, and technology coordinators.

  • ANAT, the Australian Network for Art and Technology. A great resource!

  • Art Education 2.0- for art educators at all levels who are interested in using digital technologies to enhance and transform art teaching and learning. Includes forums and groups- By Craig Roland.

  • Art Education Technology (AET), by the National Art Educators Association.
  • EDTECH- A list group and resource for technology coordinators and other educators.

  • Education Technology Links - [Archive] A collection of links for a University of Phoenix course.

  • International Society for Technology in Education- ISTE provides leadership and service to improve teaching, learning, and school leadership by advancing the effective use of technology in PK-12 and teacher education.

  • National Center for Technology Planning (NCTP)- A clearinghouse for the exchange of many types of information among schools related to technology planning.

  • National Educational Technology Standards- NETS has now merged with the ISTE. The project's goal is to enable stakeholders in Pre K-12 education to develop national standards for educational uses of technology that facilitate school improvement in the United States.


Art Advocacy | Collaborations | Education | Organizations | Resources |Technology