On behalf of the faculty at the Florida State University Department of Art Education, I am pleased to welcome readers to the inaugural issue of the Journal of Art for Life. The birth of the journal marks a milestone for the programs in our department: Art Education, Arts Administration, and Art Therapy. These programs have functioned under one administrative unit for over 10 years and yet it has taken the faculty this span of time to comprehend how these programs are linked theoretically and philosophically and to create a integrated identity. Thanks to the guidance of Tom Anderson, the art for life philosophy has become focus of our work and our values.
Often we are asked to explain this philosophy. At the root of our work is the notion that art is not solely for its own sake (although this is a perfectly sound notion); we believe that art is the cornerstone of exploring and building one’s self as a member of a community. Art illuminates how a person lives in the world. We teach that art can be used to critically analyze, re-construct, and improve our world and its people. We nurture professionals who are willing to question and critique society and to uncover unjust and oppressive aspects of our world. By exploring the cultures in which we live, we find that the world is not always moral. Therefore the art for life philosophy begs a commitment to social justice and a commitment to using art to shed light on injustices. As the mission of the journal states, we believe there is power in the arts that can lead to the betterment of the human experience.
The five entries that follow further clarify the mission of the journal. Tom Anderson’s editorial sets the tone for the inaugural issue and Melody Milbrandt’s article deepens the concept of art for life. Jeff and Monica Broome’s article provides an example of how the art for life model can be translated into the curriculum. Vanada presents a strong argument for the arts in education from a policy perspective. Finally, Alders explores how art has mitigated social stratification in Mexican-American cultures. I invite comments on our first issue of the Journal of Art for Life. I also invite you to submit manuscripts which highlight your thinking about art and social justice issues. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and ideas. Enjoy! -Marcia L. Rosal