About Us : Davis Publications, Inc. | K-12 Art Curriculum and Resources

About Us

President’s Letter

President’s Letter: Preservation

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Julian Wade (President, center) and family accept the 2018 Jane Award for Davis’ focus on improving Worcester’s vibrancy by fostering dense urban life. Left to right: Curtis Reid (5th Generation Board Member), Julia Wade (Art Director and wife of Julian), Erika Davis Wade (4th Generation Board Member), and Wyatt Wade (former President and husband of Erika).

Davis Publications began with the idea of preservation—preserving the most progressive ideas about teaching art. We’ve made it our mission to promote and support sound art instruction with a constant focus on preservation—even more so these days (and not just because our building is undergoing extensive restoration efforts). We believe wholeheartedly in our mission...to support you. Because you are the cornerstone of preserving art education, now and for future generations.

With every self-portrait, clay pot, and weaving your students complete, you protect that creative spark they have and keep it safe from being snuffed out.

With every Big Idea you teach, you ensure that creative thinking, problem solving, and awareness are infused into their thought process.

With every collaboration, you inspire teamwork and add value to society.

With every critique, you teach your students compassion.

With every challenge to go further, you build their ability to KNOW—deeply.

You preserve our future by teaching students to see with more than just their eyes.

Now, speaking of seeing, we hope you’ll take some to time to see what’s new in our catalog. You’ll find information on resource books coming soon, as well as our newest resource book, The Open Art Room. Look for the full overview of our brand new 2nd edition of Explorations in Art as well as the newest editions in our studio series—Discovering Drawing and Focus on Photography.

We hope to see your comments on our social media channels, and your classes’ work in our monthly Art Acts creative prompts. We know we’ll see progress this year because of the important work you do. Welcome back friends! Enjoy your 2018/19 School Year.

Julian Davis Wade, President


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Art educators face increasing demands every year. At Davis, our goal is to create resources that are flexible enough to meet every teacher’s needs. Whether your school is emphasizing theme-based learning, big ideas, essential questions, connections to language arts, STEM, Common Core State Standards, or state and national standards—all Davis programs are designed to provide you with the resources you need to support and supplement your curriculum.

We know how art educators teach—with a wide variety of projects, lessons, and resources. All of Davis’s core textbook programs are written by experienced and creative art educators who provide a wealth of ideas, fine art images, and studio experiences to enhance your instruction.

Our programs are flexible. Our K–12 textbook programs can serve as your core curriculum, or as excellent resources from which you can pick and choose lessons that fit with your school district’s goals and your individual class needs. Whether you need a foundation or a springboard, Davis supports you with engaging, peer-reviewed, useful resources that let you focus on your students.

From eBooks and ePortfolios to a powerful Curriculum Builder to 35,000+ Digital Fine Art Images and SchoolArts magazine, Davis has what you need to engage your students in the twenty-first century. (And YES, we will always have print books, too!)


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Davis Publications: The Publications division acquires, creates, produces, manufactures, markets, sells, bills, accounts for, and ships all of Davis’s textbooks, ancillary materials, and resource books. Davis Publications has been in existence since 1958.

SchoolArts Magazine: SchoolArts is Davis’s monthly magazine, published September through May, for teachers of the visual arts. It has been in continuous publication since 1901. SchoolArts publishes articles, the majority written by art educators themselves, that describe innovative teaching ideas, provide background on contemporary and historical artworks and artists, and promote the best art teaching practices from the United States, Canada, and around the world.

Davis Art Images: Working with museums, artists, and photographers, Davis offers high-quality, digital images and slides to educators from pre-K through the college level. Originally Rosenthal Art Slides of Chicago, Davis acquired the company in 1995 and brought its staff and equipment to Worcester, where it was easily integrated into our core business. Today, the Davis Art Images archive consists of tens of thousands of fine art digital images and slides from throughout history and around the world.


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Davis Press was founded in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the turn of the century, and its president was Gilbert Gates Davis. He and Fred Daniels, supervisor of drawing for the City of Worcester, wanted to create a periodical that would help art teachers develop and use art curricula. Daniels, along with Henry Turner Bailey, state agent for the Promotion of Industrial Drawing, and James Hall, supervisor of drawing for the City of Springfield, created the Applied Arts Guild. Gilbert Davis agreed to provide the means to publish The Applied Arts Book (now known as SchoolArts Magazine), and the publishing arm of Davis Press was born.

Founding members of The Applied Arts Guild: James Hall, Supervisor of Drawing for Springfield, Massachusetts, and associate editor of SchoolArts from 1913–15; Fred Hamilton Daniels, Supervisor of Drawing for Worcester, and editor of SchoolArts from 1901–3; Henry Turner Bailey, Massachusetts Agent for the Promotion of Industrial Drawing, and editor of SchoolArts from 1903–17

Bailey, as editor, Hall, and Daniels were determined to “promote by every legitimate means the progress of Sound Art Instruction and the development of Public Taste in all matters relating to the applied arts.” To this end, they published their magazine and some of the earliest American books and folios of prints designed expressly for art educators. Gilbert Davis maintained his belief in the value of their work. From its first issue in 1901, SchoolArts published and supported the most progressive ideas about the teaching of art. Ideas from many of the great minds of twentieth-century education have appeared in its pages, including Arthur Wesley Dow, Viktor Lowenfeld, and John Dewey. SchoolArts articles planted some of the first seeds for movements, such as Picture Study, Arts and Crafts, and multiculturalism.

SchoolArts published resource books; the first, by Henry Turner Bailey, was entitled The City of Refuge and appeared in 1902. Pedro deLemos, who succeeded Bailey as editor, wrote many art books, the most famous of which was The Art Teacher (1931). These books gradually became a larger portion of the business between 1900 and the 1950s, and in 1958, Davis Publications was incorporated as a separate company.

Davis began publishing textbooks in 1968 with Art for Today’s Schools, by George F. Horn. By 1980, the company was offering junior high and secondary-level texts such as Art in Your World, Art in Your Visual Environment, Claywork, and Discovering Art History by authors such as Gerald F. Brommer, Joseph A. Gatto, Albert Porter, and Leon Nigrosh.

Laura H. Chapman’s Discover Art, one of the earliest elementary art textbook programs, was released nationwide in 1985. Now entitled Adventures in Art, Chapman’s carefully sequenced elementary series serves over 1 million students in fifty states nationwide. It has been translated into Dutch and Chinese.

During the 1980s and 90s, the definition of a “textbook program” gradually expanded to include new technology and multimedia resources, such as overhead transparencies, videos, laser disks, CD-ROMs, and DVDs. Davis steadily broadened its offerings to respond to these new technologies and has remained a leader in the field as a result.

Davis acquired Rosenthal Art Slides in 1995 to offer customers an even greater range of choices and moved its Chicago staff and operations to Worcester. The new division was renamed Davis Art Slides, and is now known as Davis Art Images, as digital images have joined slides in general use at the secondary and college levels.

In early 2002, in its 101st year of operation, Davis again broke new ground by offering Teaching Art Online, its first online learning professional development course, to 25 students from as nearby as Boston and as far away as Belgium.

Today, Davis Publications remains a family-owned, independent publisher of outstanding materials for teachers and students of the visual arts. We’re proud of our long history of service to a single field, and dedicated to helping the visual arts survive and thrive in schools across the United States and around the world.

Much of this history has been excerpted from “The Mission Continues . . . ” by Wyatt Wade, from the September, 2001, issue of SchoolArts.


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The Printer’s Building (Constructed August 1922 – December 1922)
In the early 1920s, three printing companies combined forces to build The Printer’s Building. They believed it would be more efficient to have binders and printers in the same facility and product could shift between the floors. The Printer’s Building was also one of only two buildings designed to withstand the weight of heavy presses.

The tenants of The Printer’s Building have changed over the years. In addition to Davis Publications, it now provides offices for an offset printer, a digital copy and binding printer, WICN (a public radio station with a Jazz format), a budding film production company, and a non-profit focused on the economic development of Worcester.

Our City: Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester, known locally as the Heart of the Commonwealth, is a city of 173,000 located approximately 45 miles west of Boston, Massachusetts. Established as a town on June 14, 1722, and as a city on February 29, 1848, Worcester is a dynamic small city with a fascinating past and a vibrant future. Check out more about what makes our city great at www.worcesterhistory.org.

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