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Chuck Close Speaks Out About Arts Education

…and more. Actually, I would have to call this one taking a very big swing…for those baseball, hockey, or even golf fans.

Okay, very quickly I received about 50 emails about these two news items:

First, is an interview on The Newshour:

CHUCK CLOSE: Well, I think the problem with the
arts in America is how unimportant it seems to be in our educational
system. I grew up in a town that was a mill town, very poor,
Appalachian-like, except that it was in the state of Washington. And we
had as a guaranteed right from kindergarten through high school art and
music every day of the week. Today that is considered to be far less
important than the three R’s. There is teaching for testing, and for
those of us who, especially for us who are learning disabled or for
those of us who learn differently, we had a chance to feel special.
Every child should have a chance to feel special. If they are not good
at math or science — I can’t memorize and I don’t know the
multiplication tables even today — I had something that I could excel
at. And that I think, that is the most troubling thing that’s happened,
especially with teaching through testing, that we are trying to get
people to know the same thing as a kind of a litmus test to allow them
to go to college or whatever. I’m a product of open enrollment. I went
to a junior college that took every taxpayers son or daughter. And if I
hadn’t had that and hadn’t had that exposure to art and music and
something that I could excel at and something I could feel good about —
I’ve always said if I hadn’t gone to Yale, I could’ve gone to jail. And
it was a tossup. It could’ve gone either way.

Second, it was a interview in, this one is a keeper:

In New York City, every time they have a budget cut, the first thing
to go is art. Teaching for testing is ruining education, and it is
certainly ruining alternative ways of learning because they are so
intent on having you know the right facts and things to spit back that
it has taken the creativity out of the hands of the teacher. It is
terrible! I can’t imagine how depressing it is to get these people out
of high school going into the college system who have had such a limited
notion of what success can be.

I am an advisor to Mayor Bloomberg and [New York City Schools]
Chancellor [Joel] Klein, and I argue with them all the time. “You have a
high drop out rate. Why do you think you have a high drop out rate?
Because you have such a narrow notion of what success can be!”



  1. I just came across this information. Bravo!
    I have followed Chuck Close’s career for a long time.
    I coach freshmen artists on business/survival after art
    school. I do it because of the disrespect given to
    the fine arts by the education system and much
    of the lay public. This is good in formation.
    Bob Ragland-Non- Starving Artist/Denver

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