Notebook, 1993-

Return to - Notes for a Perspective on Art Education

Perspective - The 1880's - 1900-1920, "Composition" - 1900-1920, 'School Arts' - 1900-1920, Art Education Associations - 1900-1920, Art Education in the Museum of Art - 1900-1920, The Modernists - 1914-1920, War and Post War - 1920's, Progressive Education - 1920's-1930's, Professional Stabilization - 1930's, Museum Education during the Depression - 1930's, National Government in Art - 1940's, A Psychology and Philosophy for Art Education

Notes from: Logan, Frederick M . Growth of Art in American Schools, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1955.

Growth of Art
in American Schools

The Years 1900-1920, Art Education Associations

Associations in education grew in numbers and in membership as the enormous expansion of the school system gathered momentum . . . . The associations, perhaps unfortunately, multiplied in two ways: One, by the process of forming organizations for the enlargement and improvement of individual subject-matter fields; and second, by forming national, then regional, and finally state associations of the same type. Nowhere near as often were associations formed on the basis of different approaches and philosophies for education in general. [p. 142]

The Art Education Department of the National Education Association was begun in 1884

The Connecticut Valley Art and Industrial Teachers Association was formed in 1888.

The Western Drawing Teachers Association organized at the World's Fair in 1893

The Eastern Art Teachers Association created a larger unit into which the earlier-formed Connecticut Valley group was absorbed - by 1899.

The membership of practically all the associations included teachers of drawing, of manual arts, and of industrial or mechanical drawing. There was assumed to be a community of interest among the teachers of these areas. In fact, in many school systems, there were supervisors appointed to organize and administer joint programs of drawing, and industrial arts. A healthy relationship seemed to be taken for granted and to be capable of continued growth; every influence of the past several decades was helpful in unifying the arts and the crafts.

Not alone Wiliam Morris, but a large group of European architects and designers like van de Velde, Peter Behrens, William Voysey, Rennie Mackintosh, and Victor Horta, as well as the Americans Henry Richardson, Sullivan, and Wright, all favored shopwork, drawing, and art experiences taught in a closely related manner.

Regrettably, the unity of aim and of continued mutual development did not prosper . . . . separate interests and points of view became apparent. Divergence was common; efforts to seek out common goals were infrequent and more often verbal than real when they were attempted. [p. 143]

The art groups were still preoccupied with their overprofound descriptions of the "fineness" of the arts. The shop teachers were increasingly eager to prove their value in training boys directly for local industry. Manual-arts faculty members finally formed a wholly separate organization, the National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education, for the specified intent of securing federal funds for the support of vocational education. The aim was realized by the passage of the Smith-Hughes Act, providing federal aid to vocational and agricultural education beginning with the school year 1917-1918. By the time the US declared war on Germany in 1917, even the associations which had been jointly organized had become almost entirely devoted to the teaching of shop techniques. [p. 143]

In 1910, the Art Education Department of the National Education [p. 143] Association renamed itself the Department of Manual Training and Art.

In 1914, it became the Department of Vocational Education and the Practical arts. [p. 144]

. . . . by 1919 even this was shortened to the Department of the Vocation Arts. [p. 144]

. . . . Not until the 30s was an effort made to re-create a department of art education. By then all thought of Coordinating shop and art education was assumed to be mere wishful thinking on the part of a few diehard art teachers. Shop teachers felt that the arts had little to contribute to their work.

The Western drawing and Manual Training Association changed its name in 1919 to the Western Arts Association, and as such it has continued to represent the interests of art, home economics, and related arts and manual-arts teachers. To be sure, more success has been achieved correlating home economics and related arts and art curricula objectives than has been possible with the manual arts. [p. 144]

The problem of relationship in these fields is one that is forced on our attention today, and it will require thought and action constantly in the years to come. Art teachers are forced by many recent developments in their field to seek and use more shop equipment. Shop teachers, on the other hand, in many small schools are being encouraged to teach arts that have generally been done by art-staff members. This has happened as school boards begin to want craft classes for their creative and recreative values in addition to the strictly vocational courses. Each group of teachers, the arts and the manual arts, is in need of some of the preparation enjoyed by the other. [p. 144]


[Notes from: Logan, Frederick M . Growth of Art in American Schools, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1955.]



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