30 Inspiring and Useful Art Education Blogs

Best Art Education Blogs

Are you a teacher or homeschooler in search of the best art education blogs?

Long before I was a parent, I was an art teacher. I taught elementary and middle school art, and then moved into the field of museum education which is where I was right before TinkerLab began. While many of you are parents like me, I know that a fair number of our readers are also homeschoolers and/or educators. Because I love this stuff, and I know that many of you do too, I compiled this growing list of the best art education blogs. 30 of the best, inspiring and useful art education blogs | TinkerLab.com

Like all lists, this one is only as comprehensive as my research and doesn’t take brand new blogs into account. Also, this list does not include parenting blogs like TinkerLab. Everything included here caters almost exclusively to educators or families of the children in these educator’s care.

If you have a favorite art education blog that’s not included here, will you let me know in a comment? You’ll see that the list is light on middle school and high school blogs. Please send me your favorites! You’ll also want to pin this page because I’m sure to add more links as I find them. Well, that, and this list of 20 blogs will be handy when you need a bit of art education inspiration.

The Best General Art Education Blogs

School Arts Room Written by the editor of SchoolArts Magazine, this well-organized site offers timely art news; entertaining or thought-provoking artists, ideas, stories, and issues; professional opportunities for you; and project and lesson ideas and exhibition possibilities for your students.

Teaching for Artistic Behavior Also known as TAB, teaching for artistic behavior is a nationally recognized choice-based art education approach to teaching art. Choice-based art education regards students as artists and offers them real choices for responding to their own ideas and interests through the making of art.  This site shows you how.

Transition to Choice Based Art Education Clyde Gaw, author of the Indiana Art Education Advocacy Action Blog, also writes this reflective blog on the relevance of student-directed art education.

Art Teachers Hate Glitter This is not your typical art teacher blog. This is a humor site.

The Art of Education  Ridiculously Relevant Professional Development for Art Teachers

Preschool Art Education Blogs

Teach Preschool While not solely art-focuessed, this blog by Deborah Stewart holds art at the root of many of its lessons and provocations. One of my favorite sites, hands-down.

Casa Maria’s Creative Learning Zone Maria Wynne’s fanciful site is full of inspiration. As she says it, “Open your eyes to all sorts of possibilities…Discover creative ways to reuse recycled and natural materials. “Her pre-school curriculum and environment is deeply inspired by The Reggio Approach to Early Childhood Education

Elementary Art Education Blogs

Art for Small Hands Julie Voigt has taught art for over twenty-five years in Montessori schools. Each lesson plan is self-contained with all the information needed to complete the project: the target age; the key concepts to be learned; the materials needed; helpful notes to avoid pitfalls; and some anticipated conversations you may have with your young artists as they are working.

Elmwood Art This choice-based arts education blog (a.k.a. TAB, Teaching for Artistic Behavior) from Hopkinton, MA is delightful and smart!

Art with Mr. E Ted Daniel Edinger is an elementary art teacher in Nashville. He was named the 2011-2012 Tennessee State Elementary Art Teacher of the Year.

Deep Space Sparkle Founded by Patty Palmer of Goleta, CA, this beautifully designed site is a wealth of well-organized information.

Thomas Elementary Art Take a peek at the projects that students in Dublin, OH are working on.

Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists A peek into the busy art room of Hope Knight, art teacher and the K-5 artists at Dolvin Elementary School, Johns Creek, Georgia, USA

Organized Chaos Creating and teaching art requires a sense of humor and an understanding of organized chaos – as there is no way to create something original without spreading out supplies and getting a little messy.

Art Teacher Adventures Katie Morris is a K-6 Art Teacher in two public schools and is currently exploring choice-based art education.

Polka Dot Spot Written by an art teacher in Green Bay, WI.

Middle School Art Education Blogs

Artful Artsy Amy Amy teaches art in a Title I middle school in Georgia. She’s written some great articles on classroom management. I get LOST in this site. It’s so well-written and heartfelt. You’ll love Amy and wish she taught your child.

Studio Learning A blog by Nan Hathaway of Vermont, it chronicles choice-based projects such as sewing, painting, and felting. If you’re interested in choice-based art education, this site will inspire you.

High School Art Education Blogs

Panthers K-12  Well-organized lessons that includes a syllabus, curriculum map, lesson plans, Power Points, and rubrics.

Julia Stubbs Julia is an art and design teacher at William de Ferrers School in Essex, UK. She shares beautifully photographed images of her student work. 20 inspiring art education blogs | TinkerLab.com

More Inspiring Art Education Blogs

Since this post was originally written, readers have submitted their favorite, inspiring art education sites in the comments.

Ten more inspiring Art Education Blogs

Art Education Outside the Lines  Reflections on Art Education in the home environment

The Art of Apex High School  Choice Based Education in the Art Room

Wahoo for Art Art Projects from a K-5 Art Educator

Collingswood Middle and High School Visual Art Department Art endeavors from students in Collingswood, NJ

Teach Kids Art A personal blog from Cheryl Trowbridge that’s packed with art lessons for kids of all ages

Art is Basic Lots of art lesson ideas from a Marcia Beckett, a mom and elementary art teacher

Art Teacher Directory Art is Basic (above) also has a comprehensive art teacher directory that you have to check out for a ton of art ed blogs

Say Things with Color Elementary art teacher Alia Tahvildaran’s shares hands-on and digital projects, activities, and materials tested and recommended.

Mini Matisse  Loads of great lesson ideas and tips on how to organize an art room

Deep Space Sparkle  Art lessons from an elementary art educator

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What does Art Education mean to you?

What does Art Education mean to you? Parents chime in | TinkerLab.com

Art Education means different things to different people.

I believe that art education is an opportunity to nurture children to find truth through imagination, effort, collaboration, and cultural literacy. 

Way back when, the field of arts education grabbed me with my passion for making things, and kept me engaged as I learned more about artists, their studios, children’s art, street art, art history, tinkering, creativity, museum education, interactive learning, project-based learning, and supporting the naturally-given creativity in children before it’s taught out of them.

Fresh out of graduate school, I talked about my goal of bringing the arts to youth, one way or another, and this is a goal is still stand by today.Whether I’m training docents as a museum educator, teaching in a classroom, or writing an arts-based blog, I aim to bring the arts to children, one way or another.

What does Art Education mean to you? Parents chime in | TinkerLab.com

So today, I ask you a question that doesn’t have a concrete answer: What does Art Education mean to you? We all have different answers, as you’ll see in the responses that follow.

Before you read them, though, will you do me a favor and write down your own response to this question? Once you’ve done that, read on, and then add your response in the comments.

The other day I put this question out to my Facebook fan page, and the variety of responses is so interesting. I tried to break the responses down into some meaty categories, but of course this is hard to do well. See what you think…

What does Art Education mean to you?

Art Education is a Universal Truth

Art cannot be taught. It is learned. It is discovered. – Gep

I think art education is vital. Art CAN be taught. Furthermore, it should be taught. So much of life requires creativity. Not just as an artist, but as a business person, a scientist, an engineer…creative thinking is crucial! The arts are always the first thing to be cut from schools struggling financially which always breaks my heart. Yes, we can show our kids how to do all sorts of things, but learning about art, artists and techniques is SO important. This education leads to new discoveries about ones self and about the world. – Maria

Just the simple appreciation of the world around us. Everything is art from the way we express our feelings to a loved one to the way we order lines on a page. – Louise

Exploration, exposure, history and appreciation of supplies, techniques and those who have gone before. All people, children and adults, do not get enough exposure in life. – Liberty

Art IS Education – through the arts one develops the skills necessary to suceed in life – communication, problem-solving, decision-making, mathematical reasoning, focus, cross – cultural awareness. . . – Karin

It meant the world to me. Was my strong point that sparked all my other interests. – Lydia

That is just a title, a formality if you will. Art is learned and discovered. I educate through art. – Amanda

Families and art are the base of any society. To enable people to explore the arts, to develop skills needed to express themselves artistically and to ensure they have the resources needed for artistic practice / expression is vital for the health of individuals and society. Art education to me is about supporting individuals to develop artistically for the benefit of themselves and society. Unfortunately however, often I think what is called art education is not that at all or is poorly undertaken & / or resourced. – Fatina

Art Education is a School Value

Teaching about art periods and styles, techniques and masters at a minimum. – Katie

For me it conjures up feelings of being told what I’m supposed to think and feel about art regardless of whether its actually how I think or feel. Chalk it up to one terrible woman in high school, the “art educator”. I much prefer just plain art and the freedoms that come with it. – Meghanne

I wish my sons teacher knew. I’m sending my son to have art sessions with my gorgeous friend (once an art teacher), who has now opened her dream art studio! – Annie

You learn about the greats, while learning techniques and processes in combination with a content; not an end, but a means to and end. Combined art and content. – Breanna

Regular life drawing sessions. – Karen

Something too easily cut from schools –  Jamie Lynn

Tools for creativity in every subject — foundation for every aspect of life! – Susan

T to the P: learning to the trust their process. – Leah

Art Education is Beauty

Tasteful things done tastefully. – Karen

Art Education is Imagination

My first thought was balloons filled with paint and darts….its creative and messy and can be anything you imagine  just like life – Crystal

Creativity…. – Fely

Art Education is Emotion-driven

Feelings. Looking outside the square. Expressiveness. Getting in touch with your inner soul and outer world. – Elisa

The development and expression of the soul. – Kath

Your turn: Don’t forget to add your definition in a comment below. And if you’re an arts advocate like me, you’ll enjoy more definitions of art education via Performing Arts Convention.

Elliot Eisner: Arts Education Leader and Visionary

Elliot Eisner

Elliot Eisner“The prime value of the arts in education lies, from my point of view, in the unique contributions it makes to the individual’s experience with and understanding of the world. The visual arts deal with an aspect of human consciousness that no other field touches on: the aesthetic contemplation of visual form.”

- Elliot Eisner, Educating Artistic Vision (1972)

Today I learned that Elliot Eisner, one of the great heroes and thought leaders in the world of arts education has passed on. I knew him not only as a brilliant scholar and influential advocate for arts education, but also as a gracious soul. His contributions to the field of arts education run deep and wide, as he’s influenced countless art teachers and educators (including me) who carry on his life’s work. Eisner was the Lee Jacks Professor Emeritus of Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and Professor Emeritus of Art. He was the leading theorist in arts education and champion of learning in the arts. He wrote extensively on the subject and became a leading voice for the Getty Museum’s Discipline-based Arts Education Curriculum. As a middle school art teacher, this was my first introduction to Eisner’s work, and I had no idea how influential he would be in my life.

Elliot Eisner and Rachelle Doorley

Elliot Eisner and Rachelle Doorley, 2004

Early in my career as an arts educator I read many articles and books by Professor Eisner. His eloquent words resonated with me and affirmed that this was a field that I could dive into deeply and make a difference in.  I went on to graduate school at Harvard and learned that Professor Eisner was scheduled to speak in one of my classes. I couldn’t believe my luck!

A couple years later when I took on a job as an art museum educator in California, I reached out to Professor Eisner. He was unusually gracious and invited me to meet with him for lunch. We soon struck up a friendship and met frequently to talk about a book he was working on. Amidst the “business” of our conversations, he challenged me to think more deeply about the importance of arts education through a philosophical lens that varied so greatly from my natural tendency towards hands-on making.  

He enjoyed pushing me to defend my ideas and never allowed me get away with a pat response. I had to choose my words carefully, as he did, and think hard about how my actions defended my beliefs. I loved these afternoons with Elliot where I took copious notes and fretted over holding myself together in the presence of such a distinguished scholar and kind soul.

Not too long ago, I asked Elliot if he would share his 10 Lessons the Arts Teach in my forthcoming book. I waited on pins and needles, and by some stroke of luck he agreed! By including this in my book, I hope to help spread his enduring words to new generations of parents and teachers who are in the business of raising creative children. Here’s the full text for your reading pleasure. If you’d like to help spread this message, I’d encourage you to pin this image and/or pass it along to a friend. I’ve known many teachers over the years who have this text hanging in their classrooms as a reminder of the importance of an arts-rich education.

Ten Lessons the Arts Teach

10 Lessons the Arts Teach by Elliot Eisner, Arts Education Leader and Visionary - TinkerLab

Carrying on the work of Elliot W. Eisner

As I reflect on my brief encounters with Elliot, I think about how we can each carry on the urgency of his life’s work. What would Elliot want? I really don’t know. But an advocate for the arts and learning through the arts, I can only imagine that he would be thrilled to see:

  • Teachers who put children at the center of learning
  • Arts curriculum that is includes problem solving, aesthetic reasoning, and critical thinking
  • Parents who advocate for arts education
  • People who live life more fully with art in their homes and lives

If you’ve also been touched by Elliot Eisner’s work or life, I’d love to hear from you. And if you’d like to make a contribution in his honor, his family requests donations to the National Art Education Association‘s Elliot Eisner Lifetime Achievement Award, established by the Eisners to recognize individuals in art education whose career contributions have benefited the field.  The address for the NAEA is: 1806 Robert Fulton Drive, Suite 300, Reston, Virginia 20191.

Articles and Talks by Elliot W. Eisner (all PDF’s):

What do Children Learn when they Paint? The Arts and the Creation of Mind (first chapter of this book)

What Can Education Learn from the Arts about the Practice of Education?, International Journal of Education and the Arts

The Kind of Schools we Need, Phi Delta Kappan

Art in Mind: An Agenda for Research 

Multiple Intelligences: Its Tensions and Possibilities