High School Visual Art- Mrs. Willard

Philosophy of Art Education

              Art is how people express themselves, celebrate achievements, grieve what they have lost, and share their story.  Art is a vital part of a community, a culture, and a way of life. “Art has been created by every human group, in every known culture, in every period of history… art is a universal human activity” (Feldman, 1996, p. 15).  An active art program gives young individuals a safe place to dream, create, experience failure, problem solve, and discover their values. Art is not for a select few; it is for all.

              In contemporary society, art through design is infused in every aspect of daily life: in the architecture of houses and buildings, the fashion of clothing and accessories, the form of consumer products, and the décor of interior spaces (Feldman, 1996). “The creative sector’ now makes up approximately one-third of the United States economy” (Freedman, 2010, p. 8). No matter what career field students grow into, having a foundation in the arts provides students with the ability to comprehend the form and function of good design, knowing where they find meaning or beauty, and understanding how the brain creates original thought. Creative thinking is a learned skill, not a genetic gift; a skill that can be applied to many facets of one’s life.

              A rigorous high school art curriculum provides students with authentic artistic experiences. In art, students are presented with open-ended problems, and they will need to develop the solutions. Students are placed in command of decision-making, perform informative research, learn from their mistakes, rely on the feedback of their peers, and practice persisting till the work is complete. Former U.S. Secretary of Education, Richard Riley, stated: “the jobs in greatest demand in the future don't yet exist…they will require workers to use technologies that have not yet been invented to solve problems that we don't yet even know are problems” (Eger, 2008, p. 1). The art curriculum gives all students time to tap into their imagination, investigate their values, contemplate abstract thought, and explore a variety of viewpoints throughout time and from around the world. Art teaches students how to approach the unknown, envision multiple perspectives, and the process of moving forward toward solutions.


Eger, J. M. (2008). The arts in contemporary education. School Administrator, 65 (3), 32–35.

Feldman, E. B. (1996). Philosophy of art education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Freedman, K. (2010). Rethinking creativity: A definition to support contemporary practice. Art Education, 63(2), 8-15. doi: 10.1080/00043125.2010.11519056


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