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ERIC Number: EJ1060361
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0004-3125
Fixed, Fluid, and Transient: Negotiating Layers of Art Classroom Material Culture
Woywod, Christine
Art Education, v68 n2 p22-27 Mar 2015
Objects of material culture have meaning. American flags, worktables, bulletin boards, interactive whiteboards, and large white-faced clocks signify "classroom" while color wheels, cupboards, cabinets, sinks, drawing supplies, and that particular scent that lingers after years of exposure to painting materials even more specifically symbolize "art room". Layers of soft gray dust that cling to every surface and tool indicate the "ceramics area", while shelves with old shoes, glass jars, ceramic vases, and animal skulls in this context symbolize "still life". Furthermore, interior design, permanent fixtures, specialized art equipment, reproductions of well-known artworks and vocabulary posters, informational resources about artists, teachers' personal collections, piles of students' art projects, and teachers and students working among these items are observable in many high school art classrooms. The author proposes that the items of material culture within art learning environments need to be examined for their role in communicating ideas and values about art education curriculum and pedagogy. The following sections are excerpts from a study of high school art classroom material culture. After presenting brief background information, the author identifies descriptors that can be used by art educators negotiating institutional histories and histories in our field that influence art classroom material culture. She suggests that relational aesthetics is an important lens that can help focus adjustments in art learning environments and address disconnects with contemporary art practices. In describing forms of art classroom material culture and posing questions related to these forms, the author hopes to persuade art educators to regularly critically reflect on their individual classrooms and, if necessary, revise or adjust their classroom material culture to the benefit of their art program and the students in it.
National Art Education Association. 1916 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 703-860-8000; Fax: 703-860-2960; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A