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Art and Art Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Art and Art Education



We are a leading Program for research in art and art education; studies engage a wide spectrum of contemporary and historical topics interweaving both theory and practice. Faculty are actively involved in individual and collaborative research studies as well as teaching.

The Center for Arts Education Research

The Center for Arts Education Research (CAER) undertakes both applied and basic research. To date, researchers have carried out a number of funded assessment studies focusing on the impact on student learning of school-cultural institution collaborations.

The first major study undertaken by the Center was an assessment of the work of artists in the aesthetic education program of the Lincoln Center Institute, New York City.

Other studies have been completed in Hartford, Conn., Philadelphia, Pa., Baltimore, Md., and in New York City.

The largest research study undertaking to date has been that funded by GE and the MacArthur Foundation. The purpose of this research project was to examine the impact of learning in the arts on the academic school subjects. Current studies involve investigation of creative practice in the arts as research, and the examination of the impact of contemporary culture on the creation of images during adolescence.

Research teams are formed from senior and junior faculty, together with senior doctoral students at Teachers College Columbia University. Projects have involved the development of innovative assessment instruments and methodological procedures, on-site visits, team analysis of data and the production of comprehensive reports.


Projects have included:

Art in the City. A curriculum development and assessment project in the visual arts for children and adolescents focused on working in Central Park as a site for investigation and creative practice in teaching and learning. Funded: Central Park Conservancy

Lincoln Center Institute Project. As part of a multi-million-dollar grant from Lila Wallace, the Center carried out an assessment of the LCI's visiting artist program and summer repertoire selection. Information from this project was used to develop the chapter "Natural Allies: Children, Teachers and Artists" in Jane Remer's book Beyond Enrichment.

Bushnell Partners Project. An arts in education assessment initiative involving community arts programs, artists, and schools in Hartford and Bloomfield, CT.  Locally funded.

Cathedral Project. A curriculum development/assessment initiative involving middle- and high-school pupils in using the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC as a context for interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Private funding.

Heritage Demonstration Project. The Heritage High School is a partnership between Teachers College Columbia University and the New York City Board of Education. The Center is funded to collaborate on a series of yearly conferences to examine learning in the context of collaboration between the School and the cultural institutions of New York City.

Community Arts Project. An assessment initiative of the Pew Charitable Trust, to document a series of funded community arts programs in the city of Philadelphia, PA.

Arts Empower Project.
As assessment initiative of the William Penn Foundation, to document a series of funded artist residencies in the public schools of Philadelphia, PA.

Arts Learning and Transfer Research Project. Funded by MacArthur and General Electric, a three-year initiative to study the effects of transfer from learning in the arts to learning in the other school disciplines. Findings from the study are published in E. Fisk (Ed.).  Champions of Change, (1999), and in Studies in Art Education, 41.3.2000,

National Task Force on Student Learning. Funded by the National Art Education Association, the nine-member task force of public school teachers and college faculty spent three years researching art teacher classroom practices and their effects on pupil learning. Publication forthcoming.

Manhattan High Schools Summer Art Program. Funded by the NYCBoE; an assessment initiative involving the citywide summer visual arts program.

The Comic Book Project.  An arts-based literacy and learning initiative hosted by Teachers College, Columbia University. The project encourages children to make a connection between what they write and what they draw about their personal experiences, interests, and environments, thereby engaging them in the learning process and motivating them to succeed in school, after school, and in life. 

Teaching the Possible: Narrative Journey in Art and Culture.
Funded by the National Art Education Association; a research initiative focused on the way middle-school students distill and embed responses from cultural objects (fine art and commercial media) within their own creative practice. Two public presentations of this work have been given.

Ways of Knowing and Ways of Doing. A Spencer Foundation research-training program focusing on the philosophies and practices that shape educational research in the arts and humanities. Funding has sponsored two student-organized conferences on 'Ways of Doing' and an electronic publication.

Lending One's Life to Art.
Funding is currently sought for a research initiative focused on the collection and analysis of adolescent responses to works of culture (fine art and commercial media). Researchers have already collected interview materials from over 100 adolescents and have begun an analysis of the trajectory, patterns, and movements in thought as youngsters formulate their responses.