Every year, the MAT Art Education Department focuses on training art educators and preparing them for careers in schools and educational programs around the city and across the country. Barbara Salander, the program’s thesis director, has also been studying the people who are studying at SVA: she recently completed a five-year investigation of the artistic development of people who completed the College’s MAT program.
Using multiple sets of questionnaires that were distributed at strategic moments in the three-term program (the first day of the first semester, first day of the second semester, the last day of the third semester and a post-graduation follow-up), Salander tracked how the students developed as artists and as educators, along with how the art education program impacted their growth as artists. “I was looking for the aspects of our program that had an impact,” she says, “things like peer interaction, new approaches to material use, process and methods.”
Having recently completed the study, Salander was invited to present her findings at this year’s National Art Educators Association conference, which took place on Wednesday, April 14, in Baltimore. Over the course of the presentation, titled “Artistic Development of Students in the MAT Program at SVA,” Salander showed the different approaches students took to creating their own artwork during the program, the impact of certain courses on their artistic development, and how their perceptions of themselves as artists shifted over the course of their classes and internships. “[In the first questionnaire] I answered that I am not yet an artist, but I am studying to be one,” said one of the study’s participants. “But through this program, I have come to realize that how I think makes me an artist…I now consider myself an artist. This program has helped me realize this.”
Image: A slide from Barbara Salander’s presentation, “Artistic Development of Students in the MAT Program at SVA.”