From Drawing to Visual Culture

From Drawing to Visual Culture: A History of Art Education in Canada

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 318
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  • Book Info
    From Drawing to Visual Culture
    Book Description:

    Contributors show that the nature and character of art education in Canada reflects the influence of ideas and practices in art and education and their interaction with various aspects of culture, language, religion, government, and geography.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6021-5
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Contributors
    (pp. xiii-2)
  7. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-30)

    In the Canadian popular imagination, art education, that is, art as a subject taught in public schools, is something that must have existed in some mythical golden age, or at best, is happening somewhere else. If Canadians think of art education at all they conjure images of young children expressing themselves freely with large brushes and brightly coloured paints or talented adolescents honing their realistic drawing skills. There is a sense that if these images were ever realized, it must have been in some other part of the country, probably before the “cutbacks.” In fact such images are reality. Excellent...

  8. 2 Learning to Draw at the Barrie Mechanics’ Institute
    (pp. 31-46)

    This chapter examines art education for working men in a nineteenth-century Ontario county town, focusing on the Barrie Mechanics’ Institute. The earliest mechanics’ institutes were founded in Glasgow and London in 1823. The first in the United States was the

    “Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts,” founded in 1824, and the first Canadian institute was established in Montreal in 1828. Speaking in 1843 in Saint John, New Brunswick, the Reverend J.C. Gallaway outlined the main premises of the mechanics’ institutes. To begin with, all men were qualified and entitled to acquire knowledge....

  9. 3 Postsecondary Art Education in Quebec from the 1870s to the 1920s
    (pp. 47-84)

    Modernist art history has focused traditionally on the stylistic development of individual artists and artistic movements. Recently challenges to conventional methodologies and interpretations of formalist modernism in art history have resulted in a renewed interest in and evaluation of institutional history, due in part to the extensive influence of Michel Foucault, who deemed art institutions part of the “practical systems” he found worthy of investigation. Official art institutions were part of government, run and administered by the ministries responsible for education. By tracing and analyzing the evolution and development of art institutions in Quebec and Ontario from 1876 to the...

  10. 4 Postsecondary Art Education in Ontario, 1876–1912
    (pp. 85-102)

    In Ontario during the second half of the nineteenth century, two major forces, Methodism¹ and Utilitarianism, shaped the society and favoured the adoption of the South Kensington system, with its utilitarian philosophy of industrial art and design. During the 1830s and 1840s a network of mechanics’ institutes² was established in Upper Canada to give working-class men access to free education to improve their work skills and lives. The limited evening curriculum included reading, writing, arithmetic, and numerous mechanical and technical drawing courses. By the 1850s, as enrolment increased, the curriculum had become obsolete and the instructors inadequate to meet the...

  11. 5 The Dawn of the Twentieth Century: Art Education in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and British Columbia
    (pp. 103-119)

    As we begin a new century it is fitting to look back and try to construct a picture of the field of art education at the beginning of the last one. What was the teaching of art like in Canada in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? In 1900 the country was only thirty-three years old and consisted of seven provinces and two territories. Canada was experiencing the greatest boom it had yet known: world trade was thriving, new railways were being built and a new tide of immigration was rapidly settling the West. All parts of the country...

  12. 6 Modern Art and Child Art in Quebec: The Symbiotic Relationship between the Art Field and Child Art
    (pp. 120-146)

    This study deals with the origins of the modernist approach to the teaching of art in Quebec.¹ In a 1990 article, “Cultural Factors in Art Education History: A Study of English and French Quebec, 1940–1980” (Lemerise and Sherman 1990), we traced the development of the “new art education” in Quebec in the postwar period. We showed how the initiative moved from individual reformers to professional associations, and from the English milieu to the French. Subsequently, we have described the contribution of certain professional artists to this development (Lemerise and Sherman 1997).

    In this chapter we shift our focus from...

  13. 7 Social Reconstruction, Visuality, and the Exhibition of Democratic ideals in Canadian Schools, 1930–1950
    (pp. 147-161)

    In this chapter, I discuss how discourses on social reconstruction through the arts in pre- and postwar Canada drew from earlier currents at the turn of the century when the intellectual and artistic ideas of the Arts and Crafts Movement, and particularly of William Morris, recast the meanings of “art” and “artist” and the role of the educated “arts audience.” Given the historical contingency of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Canada, the creation of a culturally enlightened audience at mid-century was not surprising. Partly, it was precipitated by the fact that advocates of reconstruction through the arts and the...

  14. 8 More Than an Improvement in Drawing: Art Learning in One Vancouver Secondary School, 1920–1950
    (pp. 162-199)

    In 1920 the supervisor of drawing for Vancouver, British Columbia, reported that the drawing programs of Kitsilano and Britannia high schools were not meeting expected high-school standards. This supervisor, Charles Scott, stated that an improvement would not likely occur in the schools until qualified drawing teachers were available.¹ The provincial art textbook of 1924 required high-school art students to draw repetitive motifs, simple objects, and stylized forms from nature, study traditional lettering and colour theory, and use flat watercolour tones (Scott, et al. 1924, 141–67). By mid-century, however, programs of study allowed for much more, and students at Kitsilano...

  15. 9 Art Education in Ontario, 1950–2000: Unlimited Potential and Unfulfilled Promise
    (pp. 200-220)

    This chapter is devoted to an archival retrospective of art education in Ontario from 1950 to 2000. The retrospective paints an enigmatic portrait of both unlimited potential and unfulfilled promise drawn from a wide variety of archival source materials: provincial elementary curricula, provincial secondary curricula, support documents, research studies and publications, and professional organizations. Correspondingly, the portrait reveals a dynamic, kaleidoscopic collage of individuals, documents, and activities rather than a static, singular image.

    Before the retrospective can begin, however, we need to take a look at art education prior to 1950. The emergence of art as a school subject in...

  16. 10 The Electronic Era: Radio and Television School Art Broadcasts in Canada
    (pp. 221-240)

    In Canada, school broadcasts began with the support of local radio stations in the 1920s and developed under the auspices of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which was created in 1936. A strong presence, the CBC was instrumental in guiding and developing school and television art programming through the 1940s and into the 1970s. Radio art broadcasts reached a peak in the 1970s. Television was first instituted in Canada in 1952 and emerged in the latter part of the radio era. Radio audiences began to decline, especially child listeners, many of whom were attracted to television programming. Even though radio art...

  17. Afterword
    (pp. 241-242)

    The preceding chapters have laid the groundwork not only for a greater understanding of art education as a field in Canada but also for asking further questions and suggesting new research. For example, is there anything indigenous to art education in Canada? Has anything originated here and been transferred elsewhere? What more can be discovered or inferred about the impact of national associations of artists and art educators and those venerable national institutions, the National Film Board and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation? What has been the cumulative effect of art teacher education programs and policies in each of the provinces?...

  18. Notes
    (pp. 243-272)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 273-298)
  20. Index
    (pp. 299-304)