The Importance of Art Education: Processes of RADICAL PEDAGOGY

  • The anti-art shift in the pedagogical environment impacts the long term culture of New York City, the “Cultural Capital of the World.”


Last night I attended the Panel on The Importance of  Arts Education
at Artists Space at 55 Walker St.
The sad facts: In 20% of NYC schools there is NO art teacher – that’s 1 in 5.
In the past 7-10 years there has been a drastic decline in arts funding.
A 47 % decline in field trips to cultural institutions,
A shocking 84% decline in Art supplies and instruments!
The average spent on arts per student citywide is $2.
(Bloomberg gutted Project Arts.)
Mayor de Blasio’s new $23 million a year funding line
in the city budget for arts education is not enough.
Systemic Deficiency: The  Problem with Testing and Common Core
Common core insists on standardization and accountability.  This “mind surveillance”  leaves little space for critical investigation….The focus on Common Core and testing leaves teachers no time for arts education. Is a child nothing but a number from 1-4? Question for you dear  readers – What is education? Is it aesthetic, spiritual and moral?  –in addition to math and language?
Robert Sember, sound artist,  spoke eloquently of the “constraints and burdens” of the teacher….“Everything is controlled’”
He told of ” the alienation  of the profession of teacher”and
“the terrible pressure to deliver high test scores.”
“How can there be any elbow room in such an atmosphere of brutal discipline around bodies and minds?”
An art teacher from the South Bronx from the audience raised his hand:
“It is very hard” he said, with tears in his eyes…
[One cheering take away: our Gifted Childrens Arts Festival for high poverty kids will happen OUTSIDE of school.  Perhaps we will be able to reach deeper layers of freedom and beauty with our students. Do you know a gifted child who might benefit from time spent with our 8 inspired, skilled, career artists -- July 13 - 19? Let me]
The event was chaired by Dipti Desai, Professor of Art and Art Education at NYU Steinhardt
She received a Specialist Fulbright Award in 2014.
Joy Episalla, multidisciplinary NY artist – founding member of Fierce Pussy. Solo exhibition of her work opens March 8, Participant Inc.
Carmen Fulford, Assistant Principal at Nathan Straus PS 140. She supervises the 21st Century grant which provides the school w access tos ervices from community-based orgs.
Doug Israel, Dir. of Research and Policy for The Center for Arts Education. (CAE)
Robert Sember is a member of the international sound art collective Ultra-red . He talks about “collective listening” as a critical factor in community organizing.
Robert Sember ” the artist is the perfect entrepreneur…a flexible laborer, with no medical insurance and no unemployment insurance who often works “for love.”
Check out Robert Sember and Ultra-red
Joy Episalla, a beautiful and brilliant Artist-Activist teaching on the lower East Side:

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