Editor's Letter: Testimony

posted on Aug 2, 2019

When I taught preservice classes at the University of North Texas, I required my students to each write and present a mission statement, a kind of testimony to their philosophy of art and art teaching. This was to be presented through a digital format of their choosing, such as animation, film, or other media arts. One purpose of this assignment was to provide meaningful and useful content for their digital portfolios to present when applying for teaching positions.

Editor's LetterNancy with a mural at the Chimayo Elementary School in Chimayo, New Mexico. The power of public art in a school or community is that it demonstrates to students that art is valued and valuable.

It was also a good exercise for organizing and solidifying their beliefs about the value of art and art education. Writing a mission statement can also be useful as an advocacy tool for currently teaching art educators.

SchoolArts has a mission statement you can find on our masthead (page 6): SchoolArts is a national magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for the community of educators in the visual arts.

To provide some examples, I asked our contributing editors to share some testimonies of their beliefs about the value of art education:

Art education is important in order to teach students about being comfortable with ambiguity. When we work in the spaces in between, that’s when we get some real work done. Art education is also important in order to teach that multiple answers and multiple perspectives are valued and necessary. —Joe Fusaro

Creating authentic art experiences with the twenty-first century learner in mind contributes to college and career readiness. The key to success is to involve others, to build a community of support, to be passionate about what we do inside and outside of the classroom, and to bring others into our world of originality and creativity. —Frank Juarez

The arts provide opportunities for students to consider opinions and beliefs of others, to maneuver through an increasingly complex world, and to act upon preserving the planet for today and tomorrow. The arts define what it means to be an effective global citizen. —Pam Stephens

In an era when imagery is becoming our most prominent means of disseminating information, and thinking and learning have received international recognition as “bridges to the future,” the arts can be envisioned as central to the life-learning process, allowing individuals to develop as thinking, contributing members of the twentyfirst century. —Craig Roland

What’s your mission statement? If you write one, share it with your administrators, colleagues, parents, and students. Post it in your artroom and online. You will find that it is an effective advocacy tool in multiple ways. Send your statement to me at nwalkup@davisart.com and I will post it on the SchoolArtsRoom blog.

We would like to offer a warm welcome to the readers and authors of Arts & Activities, a wonderful resource and testimony to art education that has ended after 87 years in publication. For a special testament to Arts & Activities readers from editor-in-chief Maryellen Bridge, see page 8.

Email Nancy at NWalkup@DavisArt.com

View this article in the digital edition.