Art educators have a sacred responsibility—to awaken and elevate the consciousness of our students through the recognition of the relationship between art and the spiritual. Spirit is commonly defined as that which “animates” or breathes life and vitality into all existence. The spiritual in art manifests as the creative impulse, the origin of all artworks. We know of its existence through our dreams, imaginings and visions. It has been the realm of knowing and creating for artistic prophets in all eras. Thus, the spiritual connection between the inner life and the divine has provided sustenance to art making for more than 25,000 years. Yes! We are art educators and spiritual teachers. We have appeared in every age, and within every culture throughout time to guide people forward into the future.
As we approach the second decade of the 21st Century, we have reached a point in human history where the paradigm of fear, separation, competition and self-centeredness is collapsing. We are witnessing unprecedented global influences on the future. It is our responsibility, as art educators, to prepare students for a future that will be decidedly different from the past - a future that will even be quite different from today. The old paradigm can no longer safely lead students, or civilization, towards a peaceful and prosperous future for all humankind. A new paradigm of honesty, cooperation, unity and consideration for others and Nature is emerging. It is time for us to help students perceive their existence, as people with physical and mental capacities, but also as a special species among all others – a species with the spiritual qualities of self-awareness for the purpose of transformation and transcendence - both within their artworks and their own lives.
Art educators have firm positions in the center of this new paradigm. The twenty-five thousand year old history of art clearly shows the relationship between the spiritual and the arts. We only need to unite with one another by respectfully working to form an academic environment where we can teach students the truth about the relationship between art and the spiritual with clarity and honesty, and without fear of reprisal.
The Caucus on the Spiritual in Art Education (CSAE) is growing rapidly, having almost tripled in membership during the past two years. We are working to define the boundaries for the teaching of the spiritual in art. We believe in diversity and our members come from a variety of faith traditions. However, these faith traditions are not the content or focus of our research or work as art educators.
Members of this caucus are active artists and professional art educators who are conducting research, creating artworks, making presentations, developing lessons, designing curricula and writing books with the intent to bring the dynamic relationship between the spiritual and art into the mainstream of art education pedagogy. We are a diverse, yet dedicated group, and we invite you to join our caucus and work side-by-side with us on this important issue.
Please enjoy this website and come back frequently to track our progress.
Susan Nakao, Chair