Reading Response Blog #9

Assigned Reading: “Terry Barrett: talking about art” and “The Story in the Picture” Ch. 3

“Terry Barrett: Talking About Art”: 

This reading outlines the concept of art appreciation and how it deals with concepts of art history, art criticism, art education, and aesthetic education.  Barrett discusses how art appreciation can be affected by one’s understanding of concepts of sensibility and interpretation and one’s personal taste or preference as well as how they may evaluate or judge a work.  Art appreciation also deals with concepts of beauty as it is applied to nature, works of art, and the social and cultural world.

Art appreciation is an idea that many would say is the end goal or desired outcome of art education.  In this reading, Barrett attempts to outline “art appreciation” by exploring educational strategies for appreciation.

Barrett describes a particular time she was taking an art education course on teaching criticism and aesthetics.  In this class a student pretended to be some specific thing in a painting to express insights about the painting from her assumed perspective.  Barrett’s fellow student chose to be a small tree hanging off the edge of a high cliff in the landscape painting; the student wrote about the landscape as if she were the tree.  This student read her paragraph about the landscape to the class and she described that “when reading this aloud I almost started to cry. I realized I was writing about myself” (Art Appreciation, p. 11).  Barrett wrote her interpretation differently than her fellow student and she realized that her examination of this painting unleashed a truth that was unique to her and maybe even a little painful to explore.

I included the above part of this reading in my response because to me it highlights what this reading was all about.  It really shows that art appreciation can be different from person to person; people value pieces of work for different reasons, reasons that may be personal and close to them.

Barrett writes that “appreciation within art education is too narrowly focused on fine art and ought to be broadened to include nature as environment, artifacts of more kinds, individuals who make and perform, and cultural influences on the makers’ expressive activities” (Art Appreciation, p. 12).  I think she is right, because art appreciation is complex and really depends on each individual’s interpretation of each work.

I learned from this reading that art appreciation is extremely important in art education because it not only allows students to examine a piece but also allows them to learn about themselves and others through the different reasons one may appreciate a piece.

“The Story in the Picture” Ch. 3: 
This chapter is about talking with children about art and it opens the discussion of how to use exemplary artworks even with young children.  Christine Mulcahey, author of “The Story in the Picture” describes that she focusses on three areas when talking with children about art:
1. How to talk to children as they are creating art works
2. How to talk with children about adult-made artworks
3. How to talk with children when they have completed work, in order to provide feedback
Mulcahey states that “no matter how much we know aout art, it’s still callenging to know what is the best thing to say to children about their [own] artwork” (Story in the Picture, p. 27).  Just like stated in the above response to the “Talking about Art” article, each student will have their own personal experiences that reflect in their appreciation for art or reasoning behind why they have made what they have.  Therefore, it is important as a teacher to be aware of differing opinions, cultures, and relevant events in a student’s life that may explain who they are.
This reading highlights how most children love to talk about their artwork and that there are few who don’t like talking about it.  Those few should not be pushed to describe their work because art does not always need words to accompany it.  Getting children to talk about art promotes further academic development because the discussion and language can help to feed a student’s thinking.
  1. How does one effectively talk to children as they are making their art?
  2. What are some ways to talk to children about adult-made artworks?
  3. How does a teacher effectively provide feedback to a child after they have finished their work?
  4. How young is too young to promote the discussion about art?
  5. How do you incorporate discussion to include those that do not like talking about the works they have created?

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