International Journal of Art & Design Education

Visual Literacy: Implications for Cultural Understanding Through Art Education

Volume 5.1   1986



If visual literacy is used as a justification for art teaching, then there are significant implications for the content and methods of art education. There are three loosely connected but distinct conceptions of visual literacy, these impinge upon the kinds of choices which curriculum developers, teachers and teacher educators make. Visual literacy can take the form of communication, artistic or aesthetic, of these, the visual literacy (artistic) is the most appropriate conception. It offers the greatest potential; visual literacy (aesthetic) and visual literacy (communication) on the other hand do not take sufficient account of ‘making’ nor the complexities of visual experience. Artistic visual literacy includes a wide range of cultural contexts; it is imperative that students study a balance of art forms derived from this range, including applied, folk and popular art forms.