Peter London

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Step Outside: Community-Based Art Education

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book sosArtistic expression is born from personal experience. To the degree that one's personal encounters with the world are engaging and vivid, one will discover material for engaging and vivid personal expression. Such experiences need not be heroic or even very dramatic, but they do need to be personally and carefully encountered….The arts, whether visual, literary, or performing , are richer in meaning when they are an expression of experiences that matter deeply. Things and events that matter, that have the potential to shape people's lives take place within the immediate environment or community. The community is the place where friends are made and enemies are grappled with. It is here that dreams and fantasies are generated and tested, where the triumphs and the tearful losses of life are encountered.

The community is the web of life that inextricably embraces, defines, and empowers children and adults alike. Using the school as its base of operations, community-based art education forays out into the community for its motivations and its subject matter. The community is the arena for the creative expression of personal encounters with one's environment, one's web of life.

This book is intended for art teachers who are still animated by a sense of social responsibility, who know that artists require community and that communities without artists are barren arenas indeed. They recognize the necessary relationship between the artist and society and wish to acknowledge it in their art teaching…. Community-based art education offers those art teachers who feel their practice becoming tame and remote- remote from the invigorating hurly-burly of squiggly children with fresh minds engaging with bumpy but beautiful life and telling their story clear and straight- a way to revitalize their professional lives.