Visual arts education is the area of learning that is based upon only the kind of art that one can see, visual artsContemporary topics include photography, video, film, design, and computer art. Art education may focus on students creating art, on learning to criticize or appreciate art, or some combination of the two.
In East Asia, arts education for nonprofessional artists typically focused on brushwork; calligraphy was numbered among the Six Arts of gentlemen in the Chinese Zhou Dynasty, and calligraphy and Chinese painting were numbered among the Four Arts of scholar-officials in imperial China. An alternative approach to art education involves an emphasis on imagination, both in interpreting and creating art. Alternative approaches, such as visual culture and issue-based approaches in which students explore societal and personal issues through art, also inform art education today. Based Art Education (DBAE) came to favor in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s, and it focused on specific skills including techniques, art criticism and art history. In addition, especially in higher education in the liberal arts tradition, art is often taught as "art appreciation", a subject for aesthetic criticism rather than direct engagement. Some studies show that strong art education programs have demonstrated increased student performance in other academic areas, due to art activities' exercising their brains' right hemispheres and delateralizing their thinking. Art education is not limited to formal educational institutions. Historically, design has had some precedence over the fine arts with schools of design being established all over Europe in the 18th century. These examples of skill and values from the early European art inspired later generations, including the Colonists of early America.
The first modern art school in Egypt was opened in 1908 as the Cairo College of Fine Arts. These early art schools largely taught the Western aesthetic traditions. As a result, after independence there was an effort to incorporate Egyptian and Middle Eastern traditions into art and art appreciation courses. Art schools were established in Italy as early as the 13th century, starting with a painting school in Venice founded by a Greek painter named Theophanes around 1200.
Since the late 20th century, the growing diversity of Dutch society has made Dutch art and art education increasingly multicultural.
Currently in the UK, the art curriculum is prescribed by the government's National Curriculum except in public or fee paying schools. Picture study was an important part of the art education curriculum. American educational philosopher and school reformer John Dewey was influential in broadening access to art education in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century. Since World War II, artist training has moved to elementary schools, and contemporary art has become an increasingly academic and intellectual field. University art departments quickly expanded. Enrollment in art classes at the high school level peaked in the late 1960s—early 1970s. (which retains the arts as part of the "daily life", but does not require reporting or assessment data on this area) there has been additional decline of arts education in American public schools. The United States Department of Education now awards Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination grants to support organizations with art expertise in their development of artistic curricula. After 2010, an estimate of 25% of the nation's public high schools will end all art programs. Various "ed-tech" companies like Kadenze and edX have attempted to mitigate this loss through online arts education. National organizations promoting arts education include Americans for the Arts including Art. , its national arts education public awareness campaign; Association for the Advancement of Arts Education; Arts Education Partnership.; Professional organizations for art educators include the National Art Education Association, which publishes the practitioner-friendly journal Art Education and the research journal Studies in Art Education; USSEA (the United States Society for Education through Art) and InSEA (the International Society for Education through Art). She asserts that:
Through art education, students develop enhanced skills for understanding the meaning making of others. Through quality art education, youth develop the capacity to learn several jobs much easier than others. Art education was combined with special education even before there were reforms to create special accommodations for children with special needs in typical classrooms. When it comes to art, art therapists are often used to connect with students with special needs. Special educator Jean Lokerson and art educator Amelia Jones wrote that “the art room is a place where learning disabilities can turn into learning assets.Art is also a way that special educators teach their students fundamentals that they may not even realize. There are ongoing studies that continue to prove that art and special education go hand in hand. Testing continues to prove that art in any classroom, but especially special education classrooms causes students to be motivated, enthusiastic, and in some cases, even promote learning in other subject areas.
The domain of art education is broadening to include a wider range of visual and popular culture. AERI seeks to promote a broad range of rigorous research practices and methodologies drawn from the arts, humanities, and social sciences to improve inquiry related to teaching and learning in and through the visual arts.
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