The Transition of Visual Arts Education in the United States Into the Twenty-First Century, and the Implications for This Transition From John Dewey's Philosophy of Art Experience

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Michael Risku


Martha Ann Kirk


Gilberto M. Hinojosa


Jeanne Chenault Porter


The purpose of this historical research is to examine the visual arts experience from the writings of Dewey, to explore the experiences within his life that led to Art as Experience in 1934, and to investigate his present day influence on visual art scholar practitioners and the implications of Dewey's philosophy of the visual arts experience for public education within the United States today.

To satisfy the demands of society, the scholar practitioner in today's complex world of education must juggle various factors that are related to one another: practice, poesis, or the creative act, culture, knowledge, and learning. These demands include the adherence to education, law, politics, economics, ethics, equity, and social dynamics. The scholar practitioner in the field of visual arts education also has the duty to validate the arts as a viable and necessary component of education, and this is done through examples of scholarly practice. The scholar practitioner as leader should be grounded in the works of John Dewey. With Dewey's conception of the scholar practitioner as a public intellectual engaged in educational practice to transform society, there is the fostering of a learning environment for educators, students, and community that is balanced with the basic needs of daily living. The scholar practitioner as visual arts educator is self-reflective and aware of the personal lenses affecting practice. The National Visual Arts Standards (NVAS), as part of the federal law, Goals 2000: Educate America Act, are the legal mandate for art educators in the twenty-first century. They are guidelines for the states, not curriculum. How does the art educator work within the guidelines of the NVAS and maintain a personal philosophical validation for his/her craft? This work is a closer look at the history of art education and its future in light of the NVAS, a study of Dewey's philosophy of art experience, and an exploration of why there may be a consummatory need for Dewey's philosophy within PK-12 art education in the United States.

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