July 2009


A Bastion of Traditional Art Training

To the Editors:

Thank you for the favorable mention you gave to the Department of Art at Hillsdale College in "What About the Other Face of Contemporary Art?" [Art Education, March 2008; reprinted Aristos, June 2008]. I have chaired this department for thirty years and have labored to make it a reputable bastion of training in traditional art. You can therefore imagine my delight when your article was brought to my attention last year, by an art teacher in Flint, Michigan, who saw the article, had a good opinion of our college, and wrote to alert me about it.

Since you had no prior contact with me regarding the program here, reading the article was like receiving manna from Heaven. I was particularly heartened that your voices were given a hearing in the journal of the National Art Education Association. I have long held the view that the NAEA was helping to lead K-12 art education toward excessive experimentation and flirtations with modernism and postmodernism.

You mentioned the success our students have had in sculpture. We have a good number of success stories among our graduates who specialized in painting as well. We also have successful graduates in the field of illustration. The new Hillsdale Art Department gallery website, which did not exist when your article was published, includes much that may be of interest to your readers, including examples of faculty and student work and links to the personal websites of faculty members.

Our best to you as you raise your voices for Reason in the arts.

Samuel Knecht
Chair, Hillsdale College Department of Art