Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Alma Flor Ada


The problems this study addresses are the purpose and the methodology of contemporary art education in middle school. The research explores art-making as a potent teaching/learning process when used in critical pedagogy and participatory research. The study seeks to inquire into the world of the young adolescent, identifying the needs, issues and problems specific to middle school age students. It does this through using personal and communal life as the subject of art-making and reflection. Specifically, the study looks at what students discover about themselves and each other and the strategies that facilitate that discovery. The study examines how art practice, through the use of the imagination, engenders self awareness, self esteem, personal voice and empowerment.

The study also investigates the ways art-making can reveal, construct and illuminate information. In using art-making as a research tool, the study offers a model for participatory research that amplifies the subjectivity and interpretive qualities of this approach by portraying and conveying information in an art form.

The purpose of this study is threefold. The first goal is to develop and deliver an art curriculum for middle school classrooms based on transformative education (Poplin, 1991) and new genre public art (Lacy, 1995). The study assesses the art projects from the point of view of the participants and the researcher and look at ways art-making can impact participant's lives. The second intent of the study is to investigate art-making as a tool for research using art-making processes and dialogic retrospection in a fluid and integrated way. The third purpose is to explore the world of middle school students.