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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Setting the Stage

Today the class was honored to have Dr. Robert Dalton, of the University of Victoria's Art Education Program, visit and discuss children's art. From the perspective of an art educator, Dr. Dalton's lessons helped to place Aller's collection of children's paintings in the wider context of art education at the time these paintings were created. The role that teaching methods, curricula, and lesson plans might have played in the creation of the paintings has taken on greater significance in terms of understanding this collection, as well as in thinking about the themes that will shape the exhibition.

Students have divided into groups to research and organize information that inform the exhibition of the art work. Some students envision the exhibition as a reflection of Aller's teaching methods and philosophies, hoping to actively immerse the audience in a context that reflects the time and space in which the art was created. Others hope that the exhibition will speak more directly about the children who created the art - a more daunting task due to the lack of information about these individuals. Regardless, sensitivity to and the communication of the historical context of these paintings has taken precedence at this stage of research.

Research into these matters has led the students to split up tasks: some listen to recorded interviews with Aller, organizing them by subject matter; some are reading through Aller's personal archives, containing notes, letters, and journal entires; and some have begun to sort through the vast collection of paintings to select which ones will be considered for the exhibition, careful to choose paintings from a variety of locations, age-groups, and painting styles and techniques.

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