The Adult Art Education Frontier in California

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    The Adult Art Education Frontier in CaliforniaAuthor(s): Youldon O. HowellSource: Art Education, Vol. 13, No. 3 (Mar., 1960), pp. 11-12+23Published by: National Art Education AssociationStable URL: .Accessed: 14/06/2014 19:36

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    PHOTO: Pasadena City College

    developing extension programs which closely parallel the high standards maintained in the regular depart- ments and classes. The University of California at Los Angeles is an outstanding example. It has recently employed Jack M. Hooper to coordinate the extension program with the Fine Arts Department.

    At the present time, in California, there are 150 evening high schools; 160 high schools offering classes for adults; 9 evening junior colleges; 52 junior colleges with extended day or night divisions, and a variety of university and college extension programs.

    Dr. Stanley Sworder, Chief of the Bureau of Adult Education for the State of California reported in Sep- tember, 1959, a total enrollment of 675,577 students for the year 1958-59. Of this number, close to 65,000 students were to be found in the fields of music, fine arts, and crafts. This represented a little less than 10% and these figures do not include university extension classes.

    Along with changes in organization, there have been some significant developments in course offerings. In commenting upon one aspect of what has taken place since World War II Dr. Sworder pointed out in his report that, "Significant changes in course offerings seem to consist of greater depths in course content". He has indicated that after the war, people needed to relax by doing something with their hands and minds which accounted for great interest in general crafts of all kinds. The trend now, however, is away from general crafts classes and toward more specialized subjects with an emphasis upon drawing and paint-

    Each generation has its frontiers. One of the great mistakes of our age could be to concentrate entirely on science and technology. Like all other cultures of the past, our civilization must give adequate attention to the arts. Adult art education should challenge the best efforts of all educational leaders. The age of science has provided man with the greatest freedom from labor yet known. Many adults are faced with the problem of how to use their recently acquired leisure constructively and creatively. Schools must be pre- pered to aid adults in their search for adequate solutions to this problem.

    In California there has been taking place over a period of years a significant revolution in the field of adult art education. We shall consider the more important developments.

    During the past twenty-five years the growth of junior colleges has stimulated a new approach to adult education. Many such colleges operate upon a com- munity college concept which aims to serve the needs of both youth and adults. Within this structure, adult art education has been strengthened. There has been greater stability of course offerings. More able teachers are employed, including many fine professional ar- tists, who are given advantages of supervision and coordination.

    At the university level, progress has been made in

    YoulWon C. HoweU is Coordinat;or, Department of Art Education Pasadena City Schools Pasadena, California







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  • ing. Students are serious about content and have a desire to improve their basic skills, knowledge, and understandings.

    There also appears to be an ever-growing concern on the part of adults for art experiences which relate to personal, home, and family living. At the Univer- sity of California at Los Angeles Extension Division there is great interest in art courses directed toward the adult woman. These include Interior Decoration and the Art of Dress. This same emphasis is to be found in programs of the junior colleges. Pasadena City College, for example, during the past 10 years, has offered a total of 1273 classes. Courses in the clothing arts area totaled 543 or 42 So of the total. Courses related to home problems totaled 192 or 15.7% of the total. Such statistics reflect a real need and interest on the part of adults.

    In preparing this report, various art directors throughout California were asked to respond to speci- fic questions concerning adult art education. Their replies indicated a strong preference for courses in the graphic arts.

    A study of the Pasadena program over the past decade also substantiates this fact. The classes in the crafts area such as ceramics, enameling, jewelry, etc. total 160 classes. By adding the graphic arts sub- jects: design, drawing and painting, figure painting, water color, and photography, the total reaches 325 classes. This presents a ratio of 1 to 2, or twice as much interest in the graphics areas as in the general crafts.

    A recent development in California has been to provide short-term classes of all kinds. Selmer O. Wake, Director of Adult Education for Santa Bar- bara, reports great community interest in art educa- tion and attributes this partially to the very high-lexTel, short-term seminars on art appreciation. He points out, however, that the word appreciation is never used. The purpose of the short seminar is to provide a maximum of learning in a minimum of time. It is designed for those who can profit from learning but who, perhaps, can not go to regular classes for a full term because of other obligations upon their free time.

    The following excerpt taken from Santa Barbara's Fallsschedule provides some idea of the structure and organization of a short term seminar:

    THE - DRAMA OF EXPRESSIONISM ; A Special Seminar ARTHUR SECUNDA, COOR- DINATOR Co-sponsored with the Santa B a r b a r a Museum of Art September 15 "Expressionism in Art" by Kurt Baer

    "The Expressionist Conflict: Spirit and Matter" by Oliver Andrews

    September 22 'sGerman Mysticism in Expressionist Artn' by Stephen Lachner

    September 29 "Expressionism in Song and Dance" by I)orothy Westra, soloist, and Richard Ames, accompanist, performing Das Marienleben by Paul Hindemuth; and June Lane performing sequences of dance on an expressionist theme

    October "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligara," a film classic which was an early expressionist experi- ment in the film medium, preceded by "Primitive German Films" made before the invention of Cinematography ; "Don Juan's Wedding" ( 1909 ); "Misunderstood" (1912); and "The Golem" (1920)

    One can quickly see the significance of the basic organization. Art is not presented in isolation. It is given a life-like setting in the world of ideas in rela- tion to other allied arts.

    One of the most dramatic developments in art education, at the university level, has been through the offerings of integrated courses in which the var- ious arts are related in terms of a cultural and his- torical setting. Such classes at the University of California at Los Angeles are large; enrollment varies between 200 and 625 students. Like most vital pro- grams, there is to be found an outstanding teacher. The university is fortunate in having a man of Karl With's stature as art historian, professor, writer, and critic to plan, coordinate, and lecture in this highly successful course.

    The University Extension through its Liberal Arts Department, in 1956, organized a Discussion Program course titled, "Introduction to the Humanities," which deals with literature, music, architecture, poetry, and painting. In 1957, a course on "Modern Painting" was added. With the aid of a grant, a handsome text was prepared for the course. In addition to the Dis- cussion Program a Lecture-Discussion Program was formulated and the following new courses developed: "Painting of this Decade"; "The Emergence of Mod- ern Painting", "The Arts: Meeting and Divergence of East and West"; "Visiting the Galleries", "Aes- thetics and the Arts"; and "You and the Art of Today".

    According to the University's report, "The differ- ence between the two programs is a matter of method- ology. Discussion programs are led by trained discus- sion leaders, whereas lecture-discussion programs are exactly that. A qualified instructor of the subject lectures and his lecture is followed by a group discussion.*

    Enrollments in both programs are large. 200 to 250 adults are in the modern painting discussion program with each group limited to 25 participants. The

    continued page 23

    *The author acknowledges with sincere gratitude the com- preh