While on a semi-hiatus from work, I managed to submit two proposals to the National Art Education Association for the 2015 convention before the deadline this past week. It’s been 7 years since I did so on my own. It felt good to hit the “Submit and Save” button, but it felt like pressure too. Pressure to hit the books and try to get fully-fleshed ideas that have been rattling around in my mind for awhile out on paper.
I’m returning to a line of thinking I was engaged with ten years ago – the artist as public intellectual. (I wrote about that for CultureWork.) I have not, however, ever really carried through the idea of art educators as public intellectuals, though it is something I have been passionate about for awhile and which many of my students are also interested in, as evidenced by their work. (I’ll have to add some project links to these in a future post.)
So, what distinguishes the artist as public intellectual from others? And how is an art educator even different still?
I’m staring my research with two of my favorite museum catalogues from the early aughts. Work Ethic (Baltimore Museum of Art, Des Moines Art Center, Wexner Center for the Arts) and The Interventionists: Users’ Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday (MassMoCA). Both address the question of what it means to work as an artist – the first focused on how artists define the very notion of “working” as an artist, the latter on the role of artist as provocateur.
My essential questions:
- What do artists make?
- What does being an artist look like?
- What do art educators do?
- How is community gardening like art education?
Looking forward to some time for puzzling over my own ideas. Somewhat sadly, I’ll be back to school in no time.