Anne Emerson Hall – Skill-Based Art Training: Its Promise and the Problems It Poses. 

After a successful career in book publishing, Anne Emerson Hall returned to the serious study of art. During the last fifteen years, she has been mentored by Nelson Shanks and Steven Assael. While studying fulltime at Studio Incamminati, served as secretary of the board of directors, taught with Nelson Shanks at the Art Students League, and developed and led two weekly discussion groups with her classmates. In 2009 she earned a Certificate of Completion with Excellence from Studio Incamminati. In Atlanta, she leads a Color Study group at the Atlanta Artists Center.

Anne presented a paper on “Meaning and Purpose: Morality and Politics in 21st Century Representational Art,” at The Representational Art Conference 2015 in Ventura, California. She shows her work at Kudzu Gallery locally and elsewhere such as the Brennen Gallery, Santa Fe; the Lore Degenstein Gallery, Susquehanna University; Freeman Galleries, Philadelphia, and Avery Galleries, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Skill-Based Art Training: Its Promise and the Problems It Poses.

Skill-based art training does indeed provide assessable outcomes for educators.

The Studio Art portfolio review conducted by the readers of student portfolios submitted for Advanced Placement credit is a striking example of this. As described at the College Board website, each year “in early May, students submit actual works of art and digital images of works for their portfolios. These works should demonstrate artistic growth and development. All portfolios are assessed by at least seven highly experienced studio art educators (AP Studio Art teachers or higher education faculty) who apply standardized scoring criteria.”

High school students studying 2D Design, 3D Design and Drawing following the College Board’s prescribed curricula across the country are thus assessed against criteria that are well defined and broadly understood. At stake for these students is the opportunity to earn college credit and to advance into higher level courses when they enter college.

This paper will describe the College Board system to explore the way their skill-based art training provides assessable outcomes for students. Further, I propose to explore the exquisite dilemma such systems present by discussing what is known about the education and training of three outstanding individual artists: Bruegel, Tintoretto and Goya.

For as Rosemarie and Rainer Hagen write in their monograph on Bruegel, “That which renders a picture art cannot be described in words. The interpreter can give some indication regarding the selection of colours, or the aesthetic function of [a pictorial element]. He is unable to explain the artistic process–how the painter succeeded in conveying the variety of information contained in an actual winter landscape onto a piece of wood 38 by 56 centimeters large.”

Their words are echoed in the title of James Elkins’s book, Why Art Cannot Be Taught. Can anything worth knowing be taught to an art student? I will examine the arguments for and against that prospect.