Spirit, Mind, and Body: Arts Education the Redeemer

Authored by: Constance Bumgarner Gee

Handbook of Research and Policy in Art Education

Print publication date:  February  2004
Online publication date:  April  2004

Print ISBN: 9780805849714
eBook ISBN: 9781410609939
Adobe ISBN: 9781135612313


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A large number of public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private sector companies are engaged in arts and arts education advocacy campaigns. A broad range of assertions about the capacity of the arts to assist in spiritual and moral development, improve academic performance, and induce psychological and even physiological well-being are used to promote support for all types of arts and arts education programming. Federal arts groups characterize the services of artists and arts organizations as being indispensable to successful school-based arts instruction. This chapter analyzes the interests of various arts groups in arts education, the motivations behind various advocacy claims, and the likely repercussions of hard-driving marketing on K-12 arts education. The author concludes that state and municipal commitment to K-12 arts education will further erode as a direct result of failure to distinguish between the purposes and capabilities of schools and those of arts organizations with regard to student learning in the arts. The responsibilities and jurisdiction of schools must be delineated clearly and firmly, the outcome of which must be assured support for programs and research designed specifically for the advancement of school-based arts study. Arts educators are urged to proclaim those distinctions in the public arena just as they also must differentiate between more and less credible arts education advocacy claims.

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