Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Karen Hamblen


In the midst of generating theory for classrooms, philosophizing on the meaning and relevance of art education, determining policy and practices for classrooms, even providing advocacy literature in favor of art education, few references have been made to laypersons' ideas about art education. Lest the layperson (non-art education professional)---the "human element" [Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery, & Taubman, 1995, p. 102)---be overlooked, disregarded, and/or marginalized from considerations about art education, their ideas must be solicited, honored, and respected. Since the mission of art education is to educate future laypersons and not (necessarily) future artists, members of the profession as well as policymakers for education should be informed of what laypersons are thinking about art in schools. The uniqueness of this study as well as its purpose was the solicitation of laypersons' ideas about art education in the everyday, informal language of the layperson. In addition to considerations of literature, histories, and other related sources, this study consisted of randomly surveying 337 persons in six cities throughout the United States. Of the respondents to the questionnaire/survey, 88% indicated that they support art education as a required subject in the K--12 public school curriculum. In the open-ended sections of the questionnaire/survey, these laypersons communicated highly sophisticated, post-modern ideas which included not only a strong sense of self in society (Dewey, 1934), but support for art education (a) for self-expression and social expression and (b) as a vehicle for understanding and honoring the societies and cultures of self and others.