Notes from the Field: Art Education Graduate Emma Grimes at the National Art Education Association Conference
Mon. April 3, 2017
The world’s largest art education convention, The National Art Education Association’s (NAEA) conference in March is host to 1,000 participatory workshops, panels, seminars for art educators in elementary through higher education. The NAEA works to provide expertise and tools to its many attendees to help them effect change on their local levels. For graduate students and UT Austin professors alike, it is an opportunity to share scholarship and network among peer researchers and educators in the field.
We asked one of our Art Education graduates, Emma Grimes, to give us some notes from the field. She returned with a list of themes, highlights and personal takeaways.
“Some of the recurring themes from NAEA included socially engaged curriculums, specific strategies for how to make a difference with art education, creating communities that foster advocacy, and the increasing need for quality research,” Grimes wrote.
On meeting your idols (or at least your authors)
We have done a substantial amount of reading this year and many of the authors of articles we’ve studied were present at the conference. It was a special experience to hear veterans of the field speak candidly about current topics and issues that art educators face today. As someone just entering into the field, it was inspiring to hear words of wisdom from educators, activists, and historians who have seen art education evolve over the past few decades.
On research presented by a peer
In the session “Understanding Challenges: Teaching and Learning Social Justice Through Art” InJeong Yoon presented her doctoral dissertation research composed of case studies of undergraduate art courses that she had taught where topics of social justice were introduced into her curriculum. Her findings were particularly useful to me, as similar topics and concerns have emerged in the Art and Art History Core freshman class where I serve as a teaching assistant for this semester.
On changes within the field of art education
In the panel between Mary Ann Stankiewicz, Kerry Freedman, Laurie Hicks, Doug Blandy, Graeme Sullivan—all prominent figures in the world of art education and all people who have published articles read in our grad program—they discussed trends in art education research, what research is currently needed, and tactics for encouraging more quality research to be conducted. The question of the value of research in our field was brought up multiple times, and the panelists reiterated the need to garner more support for research if our field is to remain a professional one.
UT Austin professors speak out against proposed elimination of NEA and NEH
Thu. March 16, 2017
In a bid to reduce domestic spending, the White House has proposed the elimination of multiple federal programs including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in its budget priorities, according to details outlined by The Hill and The New York Times.
This is not the first time that the NEA and NEH have come under fire. In the 30-year history of the NEA, the agency has continued to work to support excellence in the arts and humanities despite continuous political opposition. In response to the recent threat to both agencies, a host of arts leaders at UT Austin have spoken out against the latest budget proposal, including Art History Professor Eddie Chambers, Art History Professor John Clarke, and Stephen Enniss, director of the Harry Ransom Center.
UT Austin professors have argued against the notion that the combined budgets of the NEA and NEH—totaling some $148 million each (about .5% of the requested $54 billion increase in defense spending)—will move the needle on reducing deficit spending. “Given that cutting the NEH/NEA will do virtually nothing to positively impact the nation's deficit, this planned axing represents a serious diminishment in the cultural and educational life and health of the nation,” writes Chambers in The Dallas Morning News. “Doubtless we would all agree that the nation continues to grapple with monumental problems on a great many fronts, but the continued operating of these agencies is most assuredly not among these problems. Quite the reverse.”
Since 1984, the NEA and NEH have contributed an estimated $14,942,822 to the success of multiple projects across the university as well as faculty publications and research benefiting the UT student body, the city of Austin and the wider scholarship of arts and culture. Among them, Art History Professor Jeffrey Smith has seen his research sustained over 25 years by NEH support, beginning with a subvention grant from the NEH in 1984 for New Perspectives on the Art of Renaissance Nuremberg: Five Essays, a book he edited to a six-month research fellowship from the NEH in 2008, which ultimately grounded the research presented in his book, Dürer (London: Phaidon Press, 2012).
As Chambers made clear, the NEA and the NEH are vital to the cultural and educational health of the nation, including those that affect the academic and professional lives of those on the UT Austin campus. Speaking on behalf of the Oplontis Project, an archaeological study devoted to the excavation, study, and publication of the site of Oplontis in Italy, professor John Clarke spoke to The Daily Texan, “It’s impossible to think about continuing research without the NEH, particularly since the humanities are so terribly underfunded in general. The important part of the NEH is to remember that the humanities feed into and overlap with both the hard and soft sciences, so it’s literally a way of bridging disciplines.”
It remains to be seen how the Budget and Appropriations committees will handle the White House budget, but as professors from the Department of Art and Art History know and will attest, the NEH and NEA are critical to America’s legacy of artistic excellence and cultural investment.
Art educators Pam G. Taylor and Christine Ballengee-Morris visit UT Austin to discuss how to make an impact through arts learning
Thu. March 2, 2017
Part call to action, part heart-to-heart and part brass-tacks lesson-planning, the seminar and lecture by art educators and close colleagues Dr. Pam G. Taylor and Dr. Christine Ballengee-Morris at the UT Austin Department of Art and Art History delivered on the promise of sharing how to make a difference as visual arts educators.
During the seminar with upper level undergraduate Visual Art Studies students Taylor and Ballengee-Morris came ready to work—or to put the students to work. Believers in kinetic learning, the visiting scholars had students create “Franken-Pets” by assembling new, hybrid creatures from the parts of other stuffed animals they brought into the classroom. As students created their creatures, Taylor and Ballengee-Morris unpacked the art historical, cultural sensitivity and curriculum goals that could be interwoven into the lesson.
“It’s not always recognized, but we have power in the art world,” said Taylor during the seminar as she made the case for teaching students how to become critical thinkers who can deconstruct our increasingly visually-oriented world. Later in the day, Taylor and Ballengee-Morris’ lecture would stress the same, while also unfolding a long history of friendship and academic collaboration that has sustained their practice as educators. Taylor is Professor of Art Education in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA and her research interests include data visualization, hypermediation theory, and curriculum and assessment in art education. Ballengee-Morris is a professor in the Arts Administration, Education, and Policy Department and the American Indian Studies Coordinator for The Ohio State University, and the founding director of The Multicultural Center at OSU. Ballengee-Morris’ research interests include self-determination, identity development, Indigenous arts, and service-learning. Having known each other for 23 years, Taylor and Ballengee-Morris emphasized how their unique professional and personal experiences as researchers have influenced their collaborative endeavors.
The two researchers encouraged students to develop their own networks to achieve the kind of change they want to see in the world. “We hope to create change agents that will spread these ideas in the community,” echoed both Taylor and Ballengee-Morris when talking about the goals of inclusivity, multiculturalism and interdisciplinary learning that are organic outcomes of a pedagogy based upon listening, challenging and changing together.
Visual Art Studies Students Awarded Travel Grants to Attend National Conference
Wed. January 18, 2017
The College of Fine Arts (CoFA) and Fine Arts Career Services (FACS) have awarded eight Visual Arts Studies students with Professional Travel Grants to attend the National Art Education Association’s (NAEA) conference in March. CoFA provides these grants for travel to professional development opportunities and all enrolled undergraduates are encouraged to apply.
The 2017 recipients from Visual Arts Studies are:
• Anamarie Delgado
• Paulina Dosal-Terminal
• Anyssa Flores
• Chelsea Freestone
• Tanya Gantiva
• Elysium Gonzalez
• Hannah Luse
• Michelle Zhou
Six students—Luse, Freestone, Zhou, Gonzalez, Delgado and Flores—will be co-presenting "Game Changer: Playing with Possibilities in Preservice Preparation" with Dr. Joana Hyatt of Lamar University and Dr. Christina Bain of The University of Texas at Austin. A highly competitive conference within the field of art education, NAEA conference has an acceptance rate of 35% for presentation submissions, making UT Austin students’ achievement at the NAEA conference. Their presentation will focus on a game that the Visual Arts Studies preservice students helped to create, based on real-life teaching scenarios.