Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2013 Issue »

    Art a Waste of Time?

    THEODORE P. WHITE
    I’m a low-level government bureaucrat. My job is pretty mundane: I send a lot of e-mail and work with spreadsheets. That kind of office work can deaden the soul. But occasionally, when I get to do something creative, like put together a sign, pamphlet, or slideshow, I feel a sense of peace and wish I could do it more. This past spring, I finally decided to ramp up my job skills and have some fun taking a college design class.

    I have to admit, while signing the tuition check I envisioned skeptics chanting, “What a worthless waste of time and money, going to school to learn how to draw pictures!” “Kids these days are all in debt because they majored in theater and basket weaving!” There are tropical zones of hot air about how useless the study of art is, including half a million search results for “worthless major,” all of which I believe mention some form of the arts. “Learn something practical” is the usual mantra. Was I wasting valuable time and money?


    This is an excerpt from Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education.

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    Theodore P. White is a park ranger in Washington, DC, where he interprets the sites of the National Mall to visitors from around the world. Previously he worked at national parks in Arizona, New Mexico, Massachusetts, and California. Taking an art class between park ranger jobs enabled him to begin doing design work professionally.
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    Spring 2013 Issue

    Abstracts

    Foreword: Exploding Parameters and an Expanded Embrace
    A Proposal for the Arts in Education in the Twenty-First Century
    STEVE SEIDEL
    Editors’ Introduction
    Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education
    Edward P. Clapp and Laura A. Edwards
    Expanding Our “Frames” of Mind for Education and the Arts
    JENNIFER S. GROFF
    Expanding Our Vision of Museum Education and Perception
    An Analysis of Three Case Studies of Independent Blind Arts Learners
    SIMON HAYHOE
    Universal Design for Learning and the Arts
    Don Glass, Anne Meyer, and David H. Rose
    Graphica
    Comics Arts-Based Educational Research
    STEPHANIE JONES AND JAMES F. WOGLOM
    Why the Arts Don’t Do Anything
    Toward a New Vision for Cultural Production in Education
    RUBEN A. GAZTAMBIDE-FERNANDEZ
    Afterword: The Turning of the Leaves
    Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education
    MAXINE GREENE

    Book Notes

    The Learner-Directed Classroom
    Diane B. Jaquith and Nan E. Hathaway (Editors)

    Critical Aesthetic Pedagogy
    Yolanda Medina

    Hip Hop Genius
    Sam Seidel

    Design and Thinking
    Mu-Ming Tsai (Director)

    Changing Lives
    Tricia Tunstall

    Art Education Beyond the Classroom
    Alice Wexler (Editor)