History of American Art Education Essay

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Western culture had many important effects on the United States as a developing nation, and art education was no exception to this. In order to come to terms with the impact of Western culture on American art education, it is important to chronicle the progression of art education throughout Europe. Spanning centuries, the political, social, and economic development of European nations, each played an important role the philosophies of art education, which in the long run, affected American ideas concerning the subject.
Thoughts about art changed and evolved in many ways over time. Efland’s The History of Art Education: Intellectual and Social Currents in Teaching the Visual Arts offers a concise history of art education, chronicling
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The role that art did play involved one that catered towards the state. Art was used as political propaganda in that it was thought that art should serve the state, and emphasize the power of the state.
These events indirectly shaped beliefs about art in the United States, as it was a new nation that was raised on strong European influences. Throughout the history of art education, there is a common thread of political relation. The attitudes concerning art related directly to the political and economic happenings at the time. This remained a constant with early American settlers as well. For example, Puritans’ lives revolved around faith and farming, therefore visual art played a role that was not necessary integral. The arts involved a broad term that included crafts that were taught at home. The main goal of education was to teach students to read so that they could read scriptures.
Art education today has veered quite a bit from this mentality. Art is still considered a specialized area, but even more so than in times prior to the Industrial Revolution. Where during this time period certain crafts that were part of daily living were routinely taught to young children at home, contemporary society has moved away from this. Very rarely is a student taught an art or a craft in the home, and because society’s amenities and values have changed so drastically, few individuals or families…