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Study Advocates Emphasis on Arts Teaching

April 07, 1985|From United Press International

Art education should be given the same emphasis as the teaching of any other subject in the public schools, according to a study that concludes knowledge of the visual arts is "fundamental to understanding the human experience."

The study by the Rand Corp. was commissioned by the Getty Center for Education in the Arts. It did not say what, if any, role the extremely wealthy J. Paul Getty Trust intends to play in carrying out the recommendations in the report.

The 75-page report examined the role and status of art education in seven school districts around the country, and found that public schools have neglected the cultural and historical contributions of art, with too much emphasis on "hands-on" class time and too little teacher training.

The report, entitled "Beyond Creating: The Place of Art in America's Schools," took 15 months to prepare.

'Meaning and Beauty'

"The Center believes that no child is prepared to live in an increasingly technological world without understanding the meaning and the beauty transmitted by the arts," said Lani Lattin Duke, director of the Getty Center, part of the J. Paul Getty Trust, one of the major art patrons in the world.

"The purpose of this report is to draw attention to the need for substantive visual arts programs in our schools," Duke said. "We believe that the report can stimulate activity to effect much-needed change in the way art is taught nationwide.

"Art education should not be treated differently than the curricula of other basic subjects," Duke said. "The way we do it currently emphasizes production of painting and sculpture to the exclusion of art history, art criticism and esthetics."

In discussing the findings, Harold M. Williams, president of the Getty Trust, said, "We believe that the study of art is fundamental to understanding the human experience and transmitting cultural values."

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