Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2016 Jena Gilbert-Merrill. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, Art Department

First Advisor

Elaine Allard

Second Advisor

Randall Exon


Dewey's conception of the role that experience should play in learning and development has implications for art education. This essay explores Dewey's philosophy of experiential education and the ways in which his theory resonates with artistic experience and practice. It overviews the history of art education in the United States, as well as various arguments for and trends within it; and contains three case studies—Montessori schools, Waldorf schools, and Black Mountain College—whose practices, pedagogies, and underlying philosophies are examined from a Deweyian, experiential perspective. Throughout this investigation, implications for contemporary art education are considered. Dewey's writings and the case studies together reveal that a holistic art education in which artistic, aesthetic activity and experience are integrated into all aspects of the curriculum and classroom environment and emphasized by virtue of their ubiquity, students may develop a perceptual awareness and aesthetic sensibility that benefits them in their learning and their daily life.