International Journal of Art & Design Education

Art Education for Life

Volume 22.1   2003



In this paper I argue that art is a search for meaning, and should be taught and learned in that context. The immediate goal is to understand others and ourselves better, allowing more intelligent and meaningful action in the arena of life. Toward that end, I suggest that the social agenda of art education, in a world that is both increasingly interdependent and turbulent, can be the construction of community through personal, group-centred, and cross-cultural understandings approached through art. I examine traditionalism, modernism, postmodernism, and contemporary visual culture for content and strategies to serve the purposes of art for life, and construct the outline of a model for instruction utilizing those concerns. Finally, I make a case that thematically mining and creating art works, performances, and visual culture for aesthetic significance that ultimately frames, forms and enhances meaning is the primary strategy for this construction of community, not in the tribal sense, but universally.