The Impossibility of Painting is Merely a Feeling


In his recent article, Is De-skilling Killing Your Arts Education?, F. Scott Hess rails passionately against an alleged prejudice toward “skilled” representational painting in contemporary art education. I have heard some students and fellow artists voice similar worries, implying that because drawing from life and traditional technique are no longer the focus of most art school curricula, that artistic skill is banished, replaced instead by faddish academic trends. There is an added edge to these complaints when tuition costs are soaring and students seek practical skill sets in return for their investment. It is frustrating and discouraging for students when they perceive that their work is unappreciated, even when it is highly accomplished on a technical level. However, the tone of Hess’ narrative suggests that the crux of the issue is not a simple intolerance of skill, but is instead the result of contentious disputes over how art is…

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The Darkroom is a STEAM Lab

I am proud to work in a district where we have thriving photography programs that includes darkroom photography. With today’s broad use and easy availability of digital photography, many secondary and post-secondary programs are allowing the darkroom to go the way of the dodo, but this is misguided in a time when schools are also putting significant resources toward developing STEM or STEAM labs.

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Art Pacing Guides

I was recently asked if I had art pacing guides I could share. The short answer was ‘no’ but the person who asked was persistent enough that I really had to think about why this is. Pacing guides serve other disciplines very well. So, what’s different about art? What are the beliefs and attitudes behind the absence of this common instructional planning tool in my district? I want to share some of the reasons I believe we do not have pacing guides, and then sincerely ask you to push back. Maybe we are doing the wrong thing here.

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How Does Art Measure Up in a Data-Driven Environment?

This week I have a team of teachers scoring assessment results from the past school year using a highly refined rubric… WAIT! I know what you are thinking… “Send me this highly refined rubric!” …but my reference to our rubric is a little bit of my highly refined sarcasm.

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Elementary School Scheduling

Elementary school schedules are complicated! How simple it would be if there was a bell schedule or a standard amount of time for each discipline. Not so! Each summer elementary schools have to grapple with the challenges of building a master schedule, and it is never easy. There are a few guidelines, however, that you should keep in mind to avoid wasting a lot of time.

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Looking Forward

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” -Charles Kettering, American inventor

Today I sent an end-of-the-year message to the art teachers in my school system. Among other things, I wanted to address change we know is coming to our schools. I’d like to share some of these ideas with you…

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Bridging the gap between Art and Education