UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Artmaking materials in the classroom during the depression era and World War II years as revealed in some art education texts for teachers Stephenson, D. Wendy Bullen


Using text analysis of art education texts for teachers, this study examines information on and attitudes to artmaking materials in the classroom during the Depression era and World War II years. This research was motivated by an interest in the extent to which recyclable materials or found or discarded materials were used in art programs during this 15 year period (1930 to 1945) when reduced budgets or material shortages threatened school art supplies or even art programs themselves. Fifteen art education texts are analyzed in the context of prevailing art curriculum models that existed as a result of changing social conditions. In this study these curriculum models are defined as Art for Industry, Creative Self Expression, Art for Daily Living, Art for Subject Integration, Art for School Art's Sake, Art for Art's Sake, and Art for Social Uses. This study documents the kinds of materials used and the types of art projects undertaken in classrooms during this time period. Questions addressed in the study relate to the basis of selection of materials and reasons why certain materials were chosen over others, economic assumptions of authors, information on scarcity of artmaking materials and reasons for or goals in using any recyclable materials, and sources of traditional and nontraditional materials. Other aspects of artmaking materials considered include attitudes to safety regarding the use of certain materials, the effect of subject integration on artmaking materials, and gender associations with materials. The study finds that some alternate artmaking materials were used in the art programs described in most of the texts but that the authors did not necessarily acknowledge use of such materials as a coping strategy. The attitudes in the texts range from no concern about adequate art materials to positing resourcefulness as one of the goals of the art program— resourcefulness in finding alternate artmaking materials in nature, the home, or the community.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.