Using Form+Theme+Context (FTC) for Rebalancing 21st-Century Art Education

Sandell, Renee
April 2009
Studies in Art Education;Spring2009, Vol. 50 Issue 3, p287
Academic Journal
This article addresses the need to rebalance 21st-century art education for inclusion and integration leading to fuller art engagement in an increasingly visual world. I expand upon the form versus content canon in art and offset the typically predominant use of sensory, formal, or technical qualities in comprehending meaning from, as well as in creating, works of art. This article proposes the utility of Form+Theme+Context (FTC) as a practical alternative for understanding as well as creating visual imagery. An FTC Palette for Decoding and Encoding Art is presented as a balanced and accessible approach to meaningfully creating and responding to art and artifacts. Careful examination of a painting by Ben Shahn demonstrates the FTC approach, designed to engage viewers in significantly discerning the artist's visual and written ideas while seeking relationships and relevance to contemporary art and life. Moving towards an inclusive, pragmatic theory of balanced integration, connections of FTC to the profession are linked to art theory and educational practice.


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