Date of Award

Spring 1984

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Education

First Advisor

Lynette Mohler

Second Advisor

Robert Swartout

Third Advisor

James Trudnowski

Abstract

The purpose of this project was three-fold. The first was to determine the extent to which Western art is used in fifth grade classrooms in Lewis and Clark County. The second was to determine the possibility of expanded use of Western art as a tool for teaching art, art history, and Western history. And thirdly, the work of Tucker Smith was examined in detail as a representative artist of the American West for potential usefulness of this type of work as an aid in teaching art, art history and Western history. In order to discuss the extent to which Western art does or may fit into a classroom, it is necessary to have a brief understanding of Western art itself; therefore, Chapter One defines this area of art in terms of characteristic style, subject matter, regional identity and artistic committment. In Chapter Two , the historical origins of Western art will be discussed in terms of significant contributions by outstanding artists in the field and stylistic trends over the decades. In Chapter Three, the current status of Western art will be discussed by examining modern trends as they differ from the traditional notion of what Western art is. This has been done by looking at a few of the more outstanding contemporary Western artists and concluding with a regional examination of the work of Tucker Smith. In order to determine the level of fine art, art history and Western art taught in Lewis and Clark County classrooms, a brief poll was conducted of fifth grade classroom teachers. This poll served as an aid and point of departure in discussing the potential usefulness of Western art. Along with this poll, a review was made of each social studies text used in the polled population to determine how much, if any, Western art or Western history is covered in the textbooks. Chapter Four includes a description of the textbook review and information found by this search. Chapter Five includes a discussion of the survey question, and Chapter Six describes the results. Chapter Seven evaluates the survey results by pointing out the general consensus among instructors in the polled population regarding: 1) what is actually taught and 2) what they see in the way of potential for increased discussion of Western art in the classroom. These two items are compared in Chapter Seven and discussed in terms of identifiable differences between what is actually being done and what the respondents believe could be done. Identification of the current standing of Western art's role in the classroom and any indicated areas of possible expanded use will be made. In Chapter Eight the art of Tucker Smith and other selected artists will be examined for their potential usefulness as instructional aids in areas where the research indicates a place or a need exists. (After a brief examinaton of local Western artists, the work of Tucker Smith was chosen as a representative sample of contemporary Western art because of his local impact in this particular region and his reputation as a well-known Wes tern artist).

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