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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts and the black revolution II

Rouse, Mary J.; Reynolds, Douglas
Editorial comment: art education in the negro colleges,   pp. 419-[430] PDF (11.3 MB)

Page 421

other predominantly-Negro institutions.
In view of the fact (as will be discussed
later) that the majority of these programs
offer art education majors rather than
studio majors, it follows that most of these
individuals pursued art education programs.
This faculty group does not differ much
from the other in numbers holding master's
degrees, but does differ considerably in the
kind of master's degree held, for many more
of the non-Negro college art faculty hold
Master of Fine Arts degrees. Similarly only
4% of the predominantly-Negro college art
faculty hold doctorates, a substantially
lower figure than that of 16% reported
by the other group. Only 28%of this group
reported spending more than 25 months
in graduate study as against 58% of the
While the majority of predominantly-Negro
college art faculty had attended similar
institutions at the undergraduate level, their
choice of graduate institutions was not so
restricted. They received graduate degrees
from 33 different institutions with Teacher'
Colleges cited most often. (Parenthetically,
it should be stated only one of the
predominantly-Negro institutions, Howard
University, currently awards graduate
degrees in art or art education.) These
faculty members evidence a major interest
in graduate degrees in art education or
painting, and very rarely in art history.
Somewhat surprisingly, these faculty
members usually teach fairly small classes
whether these are classified as lecture or
studio. 75% of their studio classes, for
example, are composed of less than 15
students. They also teach fewer kinds of
lecture classes and a rather limited variety
of studio courses.
They differ from the comparison group,
also, in the amount of outside creative work
produced during the last two years or at
least in the amount of outside creative
production for which they were paid. 11%
of this group report receiving $1000 or
over for such work during this period,
while for the non-Negro college group, the
figure was 34%. Many more of the
predominantly-Negro college group report
receiving no income from this source. They
also published fewer articles and books
than members of the other group. Only
16% published one or more papers during
the two year period as against 36% of the
other faculty.
What We Learned About the Students
There appears to be a majority of female
art majors at these institutions, (judging
from the response to our questionnaires).
If so, this conforms with what is generally
known about the make-up of the student
population of these colleges. Very few of
their art majors are non-Negro.
The largest portion of the students came
originally from either the southeast or the
middle-south. 61% of their fathers hold
jobs classified as "less than skilled."
Although we did not inquire into family
income, the recent McGrath study, which
dealt with the more general aspects of the
Negro colleges, reported that in 1964
some 42% of the students' parents earned
less than $4,000 and 68% earned less
than $6,000. The job descriptions of the
parents in our study indicates that these
figures probably apply for this group
as well.
The Negro group of students, like their
instructors, tend to come from larger,
rather than smaller high schools and also
give a great deal of credit to their high
school art teachers and their high school
art programs for interesting them in an art
career. In fact, the high school seemed to
be more influential with this group of
students than was the case with the
non-Negro college students. It seems likely
that the predominantly-Negro college art
student has his first and strongest
encounters with art within the school
setting rather than elsewhere, including
his home. This points to the critical
importance of good secondary school art
programs for this group of young people.
With respect to career choice, a surprisingly
low percentage of these students indicate
that they hope to become either an
elementary or secondary art teacher and a
surprisingly high percent expect to become
commercial artists, painters, or sculptors.
It would appear that these responses
represent a somewhat unrealistic
assessment of possibilities, since, as will
be shown, most of the programs in these
colleges offer art education majors rather
than studio majors. Of the latter, few
appear to offer sufficient depth of instruction
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