Judith hill bose

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Aesthetic Education: Philosophy and Teaching Artist Practice

at Lincoln Center Institute



A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Faculty in Urban Education in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy,

The City University of New York

© 2008

All Rights Reserved
This manuscript has been read and accepted for the

Graduate Faculty in Urban Education in satisfaction of the

dissertation requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Dr. Philip M. Anderson

_________________________ _________________________

Date Chair of Examining Committee

Dr. Anthony Picciano

_________________________ _________________________

Date Executive Officer

Dr. Mary Bushnell Greiner
Dr. Maxine Greene
Dr. Nicholas Michelli
Supervisory Committee


Aesthetic Education: Philosophy and Teaching Artist Practice

at Lincoln Center Institute

Judith Hill Bose

Adviser: Professor Philip M. Anderson

Aesthetic education is the term used to describe the work of teaching artists who are employed by Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education (LCI). Developed from the philosophical perspectives of Maxine Greene, aesthetic education at LCI has been practiced since the organization’s inception in 1975. To date, there are few thorough scholarly attempts to articulate both the philosophy and practice of aesthetic education at LCI. Within the larger field of arts education, there is also a dearth of material written about the actual classroom practice of teaching artists—professional artists who work in educational sites, and who are often employed by cultural organizations.
This qualitative case study documents the work of three LCI teaching artists (in music, visual arts, and theatre) through classroom observations and interviews. The teaching artists themselves are involved in the analysis of their teaching, and classroom examples are juxtaposed with Greene’s philosophy of aesthetic education so as to explore the relationship between teaching artist practice and Greene’s philosophical stance. The study also situates LCI historically and includes interviews with Greene and key senior Institute staff.
Greene’s ideas about an aesthetic experience, a transactional exchange between perceiver and work of art, are analyzed with respect to the influences of John Dewey, phenomenology, and existentialism, among other views. The study examines how teaching artist practice has been shaped by such philosophical perspectives, and how Lincoln Center Institute came to view nurturing students’ opportunities for aesthetic experiences as a central component of arts education.
Finally, the study discusses how educating towards an aesthetic experience actively involves students’ capacities for agency, choice-making, multiple interpretations, empathy, meaning-making, and imaginative expression, and furthers the project of a democratic and emancipatory educational approach. The study illuminates actual aesthetic education practice in classrooms, analyzes its transaction with Greene’s philosophical ideals, and explores aesthetic education as a vital approach in the wider field of urban education.


Chapter 1: Aesthetic Education Philosophy and Teaching Artist Practice 1

Philosophy versus Mission Statement or Methodology 4

Overview 8

Chapter 2: Context of the Study 12

Context: Three Layers 12

Macro Layer: Lincoln Center Institute 13

Micro Layer: The Teaching Artist 18

A Brief Historical Perspective: Macro and Micro in a Broader Context 20

Macro-Micro Bridge: The Meso-Layer 29

Meso-Layer: Full-Time Administrative Staff at LCI 30

Chapter 3: Aesthetic Education 39

Aesthetic Education: Clarity of Meaning 39

Aesthetic Education: Excavating the Term 43

Aesthetic Education and Other Types of Arts Education 50

Psychological/Cognitive Approaches to Arts Education 52

Aesthetic Education: Maxine Greene 55

Chapter 4: Philosophy—Maxine Greene 60

Two Stories 60

An Aesthetic Experience 65

Influences: A Disclaimer 67

The Influence of John Dewey 68

The Imagination 79

Existentialism and Phenomenology 81

Literary Influences 84

Reader-Response Theory 85

More on the Aesthetic Act of Reading 88

Community 90

Chapter 5: Methodological Framework of the Study 93

Framing the Research in an Interpretive Stance 93

Situating Myself 97

Research Questions 100

Research Methods with Teaching Artists 101

Research Methods with Individuals other than Teaching Artists 103

Permissions and Other Considerations 104

Disclosure and Benefits 105

Confidentiality and Consent Forms 105

Courtesies 106

Selection of the Teaching Artists for Observation 106

Chapter 6: Theatre—Describing, Noticing, Attending 108


Preface: Describing, Noticing, Attending 108

6th Grade Aesthetic Education Class in Theatre 110

Aesthetic Education Class in Theatre at the College Level 124

Chapter 7: Music—Reflection 138

Preface: Reflection and Meaning Making 138

Aesthetic Education Planning Process 144

Aesthetic Education Class in Music at the College Level 150

2nd Grade Aesthetic Education Class in Music 167

Chapter 8: Visual Arts—Inquiry 180

Preface: Aesthetic Education as Inquiry Process 180

Aesthetic Education Class in the Visual Arts at the College Level 184

LCI and MoMA 202

3rd Grade Aesthetic Education Class in the Visual Arts 206

Chapter 9: Philosophy and Practice 215

A Transactional Understanding 215

Teaching Artist Voice 216

LCI as a Community of Practice 218

Relevance for the Larger Arts Education Community 221

Relevance for Urban Education 224

Bibliography 227

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