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Art for Daily Living

Art for Daily Living: The Story of the Owatonna Art Education Project

Volume: 4
Copyright Date: 1944
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 165
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  • Book Info
    Art for Daily Living
    Book Description:

    Art for Daily Living was first published in 1944. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. Art education has faced two great crises in one decade–first the depression and now the war. Out of the chaos and destruction of the early 1930’s came a critical evaluation of educational practices, which challenged art as it was being taught in the schools. the Owatonna Art Education Project was developed to help evolve a sound art education program that could justify itself educationally and financially as an indispensable part of education. Believing that art plays an integral part in the life of every human being, the late Melvin E. Haggerty, dean of the College of Education and the University of Minnesota, obtained a grant from the Carnegie Foundation to develop a new approach to the teaching of art in the public schools–and approach based on the study of a typical Midwestern community and its use of art in everyday living._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3861-5
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Dedication
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Wesley E. Peik

    In June 1938 the five-year program of the Owatonna Art Education Project came to a close. During those five years the status of art in a small Middle Western community was examined and an art program was developed in the public schools, both elementary and secondary. The evolution of the idea of the Project, its purposes and how they were carried out, the results of the study, and the implications for art instruction in America—these are the matters with which this volume treats. Other volumes in the series contain instructional art units illustrative of those developed in Owatonna.


  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Part One. The Experiment

    • Chapter 1. The Beginnings
      (pp. 1-11)

      The Owatonna Art Education Project came into being in the early nineteen-thirties. At that time the life of every person in America was shaken by an unparalleled economic depression, just as today the life of every person is being shaken by war. Always in such crises—crises that bring sudden changes, unrest, suspense, and apprehension—we become skeptical of the value of our most venerable institutions. They must be reexamined, reassessed. Which of them can help us in a time of stress? Which are unnecessary and therefore a waste? Public education, for example, is being as penetratingly scrutinized today as...

    • Chapter 2. Art in the Daily Life of Owatonna
      (pp. 12-23)

      In the fall of 1933 the three young people who had been appointed to the staff of the new Project went to Owatonna. They rented rooms in private homes, ate their meals in downtown restaurants, visited the schools and studied the school system, explored the streets and parks, took snapshots of houses, churches, public buildings, and places of business, and as naturally and unobtrusively as possible entered into the routine activities of the community. The writer (E. Z.) was installed as art supervisor for the elementary schools and as teacher of art in the high school. Robert Hilpert, of the...

    • Chapter 3. An Experiment in Community Art Education
      (pp. 24-47)

      Such simple techniques as informal conferences and service calls, subjective reports, and check lists revealed not only general information about the status of art—the art that is a way of living—in Owatonna, but also the range and depth of people’s interest in art, their knowledge of it, and their ability to apply this knowledge to the problems that arose naturally in the course of their activities at home and at work. They revealed, in other words, what people already knew and what they needed to know to enrich their lives and deepen their satisfaction with their surroundings. Like...

    • Chapter 4. The Community: Discoveries and Generalizations
      (pp. 48-59)

      “Now it is in the making of things, in the departure from the natural modes of existence, that art begins and develops. Art becomes significant for life to the degree that invention improves the conditions of living and extends the satisfaction of human needs. In this view we see art as the making of things, all sorts of things, in the fittest possible way. It extends the natural world by adding to it a world of manufactured things. In doing this, art employs not merely the materials of nature but also its rhythms, its light, and its colors. Across the...

    • Chapter 5. Developing the Art Program in the Schools
      (pp. 60-78)

      The study of the community and the art program in the public schools of Owatonna began simultaneously in the fall of 1933. One of the conditions under which the local school board accepted the experiment and assumed a part of the writer’s (E. Z.) salary was that the program should start at once and on every level from the first grade through the twelfth. This complicated the activities of the Project staff to the extent that they sometimes wondered whether managing a five-ring circus would not be a welcome relaxation, but it was nevertheless quite a wholesome condition. If it...

    • Chapter 6. Outcomes and Outgrowths of the Project
      (pp. 79-94)

      It seems to be characteristic of all of us who live in an organized society that we seek to know what effect our own actions have on the people around us. For example, until very recently—in fact, until the dawn of a new day on which the sun has scarcely risen— we have assessed the value of our educational system purely in terms of the effect of teacher on pupils. The tests and examinations by which we have measured learning all the way from the first grade up through the highest level of specialized graduate study have been evolved...

  6. Part Two. The Art Program

    • Chapter 7. A Point of View in Art Education
      (pp. 95-108)

      We have seen how, in the schools of Owatonna, children study art as they study the English language and how they learn to use it, as they learn to use their own language, in the common course of each day’s work and play. This much, we say, happened in Owatonna. Can it happen elsewhere, without the benefit of appropriated funds? Can it be done without a specially trained staff? Can it be done, above all, in wartime, when school funds are necessarily limited and when equipment and materials are likely to be scarce? The purpose of this chapter and the...

    • Chapter 8. The Program in the Classroom
      (pp. 109-121)

      The course of study in art for the Owatonna public schools was developed in experimental fashion, as explained in Chapter 5, for the benefit and immediate use of the school children in this particular community. In so far as Owatonna was and is a typical Middle Western city and in so far as the generalizations drawn from a study of many of its inhabitants represent deep, abiding, and above allcommonhuman traits, the program should have considerable practical value for other school systems in America. Because the Owatonna plan stresses the relation of art to life, because it provides...

    • Chapter 9. The Art Program in the Elementary Grades
      (pp. 122-135)

      A teacher who has been trained in some of the older methods of art instruction may well find herself puzzled, even bewildered, by the Owatonna point of view. To abandon conventional subject-matter boundaries in favor of the area-of-life approach, to shift the emphasis from the development of so-called “art appreciation” and of techniques to the development of genuine enjoyment, of discrimination, evaluation, and the less specialized skills—all this may imply for many of us a kind of mental revolution. The older concepts and methods have been such an intimate part of our professional experience that while we recognize their...

    • Chapter 10. The High School Art Program
      (pp. 136-149)

      The Owatonna art program assumed no sharp cleavage between the elementary grades and the junior high school grades or between the junior and the senior high school levels. Some children mature rapidly, others very slowly. Some reach adolescence two or three years before their classmates do, and the psychological changes that accompany the physiological development of the adolescent may therefore become manifest as early as the sixth grade, though we expect to find them rather generally evident in seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-grade students. Thus we have no good reason to change either the pattern, the content, or the methods of...

  7. Postscript
    (pp. 150-153)

    This, then, is the story of the Owatonna Art Education Project, the story of how the concept of art as a part of everyday experience led to an experiment in the teaching of art in the public schools of a Middle Western community, and of how the development of this experiment brought about a workable program of art education. But we have told the story from the point of view of the teacher of art. The members of the Project staff were, first of all, teachers, and the experiment was an experiment in teaching, even though many of the techniques...

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 154-155)