Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2013 Issue »

    Ka ulana ‘ana i ka piko (In Weaving You Begin at the Center)

    Perspectives from a Culturally Specific Approach to Art Education

    Marit Dewhurst, et. al
    Much of the literature on and current approaches to arts education are built on Western European aesthetics, theories, pedagogies, and histories. While the cultural composition of our classrooms—especially those in the United States—represents increasingly diverse culturally situated world views, our visions of art education are largely based on those of one cultural group. Although other educational domains, such as those in critical literacy or critical math education, have begun to explore culturally specific analyses of learning and teaching (Ladson-Billings, 1995), the arts have been slow to examine the perspectives of culturally based art forms.

    Brought together by our engagement with lau hala, a commitment to education, and a shared vision to preserve the knowledge of the k?puna, this collaboration in writing about our experiences is deeply informed by a Hawaiian perspective that we must honor the ‘ike of the k?puna by living it, feeling it, teaching it, and, most of all, actively sharing it. Our writing team includes Kanaka Maoli and non-Hawaiians, educators who work in higher education and K–12 schools, those who study and practice traditional arts, and both novice and practiced weavers. We share a keen interest in documenting and understanding the ways in which community-based knowledge is effectively conveyed from teacher to learner, from one generation to another.

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

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    Marit Dewhurst is the director of art education and an assistant professor of art and museum education at City College of New York, where she also directs City Art Lab, a community arts project. She has worked as an educator and program coordinator in multiple educational settings, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where she founded In the Making, a free studio arts program for teens. Her work on the role of art in social justice education, culturally relevant pedagogy, and community development has been published in several books and journals, among them Equity and Excellence in Education, Journal of Art Education, and International Journal of Education Through Art. Dewhurst cocurated an exhibition on traditional art and HIV/AIDS education and a youth photography exhibition highlighting her work in northern Ghana. She is currently the principal investigator and coordinator of the Museum Teen Summit, a youth-led research and advocacy program for museum teen programs in New York City. She has studied lau hala weaving for nearly ten years and has woven several papale.

    Lia O’Neill Moanike‘ala Ah-Lan Keawe is an assistant professor of Hawaiian Studies at Kamakakuokalani, the Center for Hawaiian Studies in Hawai‘inuiakea, the School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. For many years Keawe has admired the work of ulana lauhala. Recently she has begun to learn the practice of it.

    Marsha MacDowell is a professor of art, art history, and design at Michigan State University. She is also a curator at the Michigan State University Museum, where she serves as the director of the statewide Michigan Traditional Arts Program. As a publicly engaged scholar, her work has been largely focused on the documentation and analysis of the production, meaning, and use of traditional material culture; the analysis of the role of museums in contemporary society; the development of educational resources and public arts policies related to traditional arts and community-based knowledge; and the creation of innovative ways, including digital repositories, to increase access to and use of traditional arts resources. Her work, informed primarily by art historical, folkloristic, and ethnographic theories and methodologies, has resulted in publications, festival programs, exhibitions, multimedia Web-based products, and digital repositories, notably the Quilt Index (www.quiltindex.org).

    Cherie N. K. Okada-Carlson was born in Honolulu and grew up in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. After studying art and history at Linfield College in Oregon, the University of Hawai‘i Hilo, and the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, she taught at Konawaena High School and then coordinated student services at Konawaena Middle School for several years in Kealakekua. She is currently a fiber artist specializing in weaving lau hala hats and accessories. She is a member of Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona and ‘Ohi Lauhala.

    Annette Ku‘uipolani Wong is an assistant professor of Hawaiian language at Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language in Hawai‘inuiakea School for Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. Wong’s knowledge of Hawaiian culture and language comes from her upbringing in a community where Hawaiian is the primary language. Being raised in the presence of her kupuna, who practiced lau hala weaving, Ni‘ihau Hawaiian herbal medicines, and Ni‘ihau birthing, she acquired their knowledge. Wong is also passionate about the work of her elders and has been practicing it throughout her life and passing it down to the next generation.

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    Spring 2013 Issue


    Foreword: Exploding Parameters and an Expanded Embrace
    A Proposal for the Arts in Education in the Twenty-First Century
    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
    Expanding Our Vision of Museum Education and Perception
    An Analysis of Three Case Studies of Independent Blind Arts Learners
    Universal Design for Learning and the Arts
    Don Glass, Anne Meyer, and David H. Rose
    Comics Arts-Based Educational Research
    Why the Arts Don’t Do Anything
    Toward a New Vision for Cultural Production in Education
    Afterword: The Turning of the Leaves
    Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education

    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)

    Call 1-800-513-0763 to order this issue.