The History of Art Education Time Line 1930-1939
Decades of art education history in contexts of schooling and artworlds

  • In February 1931, finger paints were first used by one of Ruth Faison Shaw's elementary school children at the Shaw School in Rome. The idea of finger paints came to Shaw when she sent a student to the bathroom to put iodine on his cut. When he did not return, she found him painting iodine all over the bathroom walls. Finger-painting was later instituted in America in April of 1936.
  • 1932 brought an end to the Bauhaus, a renowned arts and design college located in Dessau, Germany. The school met its demise when the National Socialist party--which would later gain power as the Nazi party--declared it too "Bolshevist" to stay open. Accredited architect Mies van der Rohe made numerous attempts to save the school, yet despite his efforts, the Bauhaus utlimately fell. Rainer K. Wick claims, "after the closure of the Bauhaus, its members were dispersed across Europe and the USA." Thus the closure of the Bauhaus allowed talented, experienced art educators to teach their skills throughout American higher education. For example, Walter Gropius began teaching at Harvard while van der Rohe "settled in Chicago, becoming Director of the College of Architecture, Planning and Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology" six years later in 1938. "The Bauhaus established concepts for the teaching of art and design that remained relevant more than half a century later."
  • In 1933, Owatonna Project was started in Owatonna, Minnesota. This was an educational project conducted in a small town in the Midwest to gauge the importance of art in general education. The project continued until 1938 and the findings were published in 1944.
  • Professor Franz Cizek’s ideas about the nature of children and art education become widespread through his Exhibition of Children’s Art in London in 1934, and 1935. Cizek first founded his Juvenile Art Class in Vienna in 1897. Cizek's approach to juvenile art education opened the minds of many educators to a new way of teaching art. Cizek's main belief was that children should let their natural talents unfold freely, unhampered by vocational, or technical training from their teachers.
  • In 1934, the Federal Art Project (FAP) was incorporated into the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the New Deal plan. The goal of the FAP was to provide work for some of the many unemployed artists of the time. Those chosen artists were responsible for the decoration of public buildings and parks. The FAP served its purpose to not only employ citizens, but also to beautify the environment for the public, allowing the arts to raise the spirits of people from the time of depression. Participating artists in the FAP produced large quantities of work, as well as educated children and adults. The artists also lectured, and led a variety of other arts activities.
  • Finger paints were introduced to America in April at the Young America Paints exhibition. An elementary school teacher, Ruth Faison Shaw, first developed finger paints in 1931. The idea of finger paints first came to Shaw, when she sent a student to the bathroom to put iodine on his cut. When he did not return, she found him painting iodine all over the bathroom walls. Finger paints allowed children to express themselves creatively in a new way free of restrictions.
  • The Museum of Modern Art was given a five-year grant through the General Education Board of the Rockefeller Foundation to establish its own Department of Education to promote collaboration between secondary school curricula and museums. The Young People’s Gallery was one educational program, which started at the museum. The gallery’s main focus was to showcase the works of children.
  • Fredrick G. Melcher suggested the Caldecott Medal to the American Library Association. The medal, which was named after the nineteenth century English illustrator Randolf J. Caldecott, was to be presented annually. The Caldecott medal was to be awarded to the artist “of the most distinguished American picture book for children published in the United States during the preceding year." The Caldecott medal assists the world to recognize the importance of art in children's lives. For centuries, illustrations have helped children to learn by providing them with a visual stimulus to aid in their reading.
  • The Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) was established in 1914 by five prominent artists (Charles Hawthorne, Oscar Gieberich, William Halsall, Gerrit Beneker and E. Ambrose Webster) and ten local business men and women. "The objects and purposes of this association shall be to promote and cultivate the practice and appreciation of all branches of the fine arts, to assemble and maintain in the town of Provincetown and environs a collection of works of art of merit, to hold exhibitions, and by forums, concerts and similar activities to promote education of the public in the arts and social intercourse between artists and laymen. To these ends it shall operate strictly within its charter as a nonprofit, educational, artistic and cultural organization." Provincetown’s reputation as an art center provided ample income for several art schools. Outdoor art classes were and still are used as part of the PAAM art curriculum. In 1937, "separate juries installed opposite gallery walls, with a coin flip determining that the modernists' work hung on the left. Throughout this period of conflict the basic business of PAAM continued: much of the artistic argument and discussion took place in the forums and discussions organized at PAAM by one side or the other."
  • The International Style building of the Museum of Modern Art, designed by Philip L. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone, opens at its 11 West 53rd Street location. The building is the Museum's first permanent home. The Museum had originally opened in 1929 in the Heckscher Building (corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street). The first site of the museum had only six rooms which were rented for galleries and offices. It moved for the second time in 1932 to a townhouse at 11 West 53rd Street, which is now part of the present site.
  • Many classic movies came out in 1939. Some became very popular at the time and still continue to be popular today. Some of these movies include, Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Heights, Stagecoach, and The Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of Oz used innovative technology of the time and created a movie that was at first black and white, and then became color when the main character entered the fantasy land of “Oz”. The Wizard of Oz went on to win six Academy Awards, including, “Best Color Cinematography,” and “Best Special Effects.” Throughout the 1930’s the movies provided an inexpensive, brief relief for people to escape the often-harsh realities of what was going on in their lives.