Lois Hetland: What Should We Ask of Art Education?

Thursday, Feb 2, 2012

7 p.m.

Simulcast available (see below)

Lois Hetland is one of the leading thinkers on teaching, learning, and visual art. She is a key member of Project Zero, the educational research group of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Few people can so powerfully make the case for the educational value of art as Hetland, who has long focused on creativity in personal development. For this lecture she considers creativity in relation to three other areas: product, process, and place. She explores the distinctive value of contemporary art, the role of cultural institutions, and the demands of the creative economy.

Hetland will begin by noting the ways in which art education is undervalued and how arts educators have attempted to justify it by extra-artistic qualities — achievement in non-arts subjects, relevance to the creative economy — arguments that miss the spirit of a liberal education and, at K–12 levels, the “whole child.” Hetland will then discuss two key issues in detail: the value of an artistic mind as the desired outcome of arts education and the wider value of creativity in society.

Her discussion will address the extended field of arts participants, contexts, and venues (including schools, community spaces, and museums); the value of basing art education on the work of living artists; and the four categories of creativity, as Hetland sees them: creative person, process, place, and product.

Her lecture will be followed by Q&A with Dominic Willsdon, Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs at SFMOMA.