May 18, 2013 – Saturday – NVAS: Standard 5

*Note: This is a day early because I am curious as to the comparison of a late Friday post versus a Saturday post. Any feedback? Let  me know!



National Visual Arts Standards – Standard 5
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of the visual arts

Frank Korb

Click HERE for a look at the RUBRIC for EVALUATING WORK I have implemented in MOST of my art courses. This document follows the process of making art through a Formative and Summative, Self – Evaluation and COLLABORATIVE Critique.


Welcome to another weekend of thinking about the 6 OVERARCHING GOALS that all students ought to work toward and focus on EVERY DAY during the year in all of their art classes. These Goals are unpacked from the National Standards for the Visual Arts so that they make more sense to the students and parents who are working with them through their art making and other art experiences. As I use goals in my classroom it OPENS THE FOLDER to learning.

The National Standards for the Visual Arts are now GOALS that are clear, measurable, observable, and understandable to the students, parents, and community. The use of goals is to keep the mind open to the idea of learning and focused on the act of learning, By combining both declarative (mind) and procedural (application) knowledge the intentional actions are focused on the combination of art theory and art making and art critiquing as well as the reflection on the close relationships.


Standard #5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of the visual arts

As an art student you will demonstrate the ability to:

  • 5.1 identify the rationale behind making art

All too often the ideas behind the art is forgotten or never fully realized and the art is made because it was an assignment. Through this focus, the artists are asked to think about why they are making the art they are. Does it matter? The use of a reason in the process has helped the artists I have worked with stay focused on the work as well as taking pride in the work they are completing. It is more than just making art for art’s sake… it is for their sake and the sake of an artist’s job of communication.

  • 5.2 stand behind your criticism of art

Critiquing is SO important in the process of the art making procedure. This objective forces the artist to think about the choices they have made as well as the responses they verbalize (both in speech and in writing) and to be able to back it up with fact and experience. The novice, the uneducated, can easily throw off a “this work is terrible” or the opposite “this work is great!” The educated, the thoughtful artist / critic will have the words, facts, and personal experience to back up their thoughts. If they are critiquing others’ work, the facts and experiences are helpful… so long as the other artist is open for critique.

  • 5.3 describe meanings of artworks by analyzing
    •      5.3.1 techniques
    •      5.3.2 how they relate to history and culture

How is one using materials and techniques to make art? The Impressionists had a certain brush stroke that the German Expressionists didn’t have. A minimalist would approach a work with a very different intent and hand than a Romanticist or der Blaue Reiter. What is happening in the young artists society and culture that they can relate to the work they are creating? What are they able to pull from the annals of history that impacts their artwork? To look at and JUSTIFY the work, once again, gives the work a strngth and rationale that simply “completing an assignment” does not do.

  • 5.4 reflect on interpretations as a means for understanding and evaluating art

When a group sits down and has a conversation about the work in front of them, there are bound to be a variety of thoughts that are far different from the original intent of the artist. Is this a bad thing? When a young group of artists is able to listen to the variety of interpretations their classmates have about their work, the knowledge that their message may or may not have been communicated well can help them in the next work… or come to a realization that they need to go back and rework something in the current work in front of them.

  • 5.5 evaluate responses to works of art for communicating
    •      5.5.1 rationale
    •      5.5.2 ideas
    •      5.5.3 opinions

What was the artist trying to say? What was the impetus behind the work? Where are they deriving their ideas and thoughts from? Society, spirituality, politics… what do they hope to impress upon the viewer? As a professional, an artist should be thoughtful regarding the ideas they are trying to put out in the world. All that said, what do they think about how others are thinking about the works they are creating? One needs to put all of this is mind as they design, draw up, plan, create, and move forward with their works.


Lastly, once you open the door to learning  you also need to close it.  During the last couple of minutes of my classes, we take time to reflect, to GENERALIZE the relationship to the goals and the day’s work / lessons onto what the students know or think they know about the world / practice of the arts.. This is the CLOSING THE FOLDER that allows the brain to settle down and pack away the learning, the experiences, until the following day.

You can find these (and more) in my Visual Arts Handbook HERE.

Thanks –


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