Professor Mark Graham, Department of Art Education
Evaluation of how well the academic objectives of the proposal were met
This project engaged students in arts-based research of the rock art of Anasazi, Fremont and other ancient cultures in central and southern Utah. Their research had three components: (1) A review of research literature describing the history and interpretations of this ancient art, place-based education, and the issues of educating the indigenous people of Utah and the American Southwest. (2) A visual documentation of this ancient rock art in its various locations that includes photography, drawing and painting. (3) A scholarly presentation of the background research and the visual documentation that incorporates arts-based research methodology. This project will began during the Winter and Spring Semester of 2008, with interpretive work being completed by September 2008.
The academic objectives of the project were met and surpssed.
Evaluation of the mentoring environment
The mentoring environment provided both opportunities for background research and field studies with the primary researcher.
List of students who participated and what academic deliverables they have produced or it is anticipated they will produce
Students who participated included:
Chelsea McCoy, Aundrea Framm, Glenn McMillan, Julia Baker, LeeAnn Worell, Karisa Price, Sarah J. Jensen, Teresa Ewell, Amy Ollerton, Miriam Chun, Emily Kruman, Laura Rowley, Jason Harmon.
An exhibition of student art work based on field studies was organized in the summer of 2008 and was exhibited as part of the annual faculty exhibition in the Harris Fine Arts Center at Brigham Young University. The research was presented at the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Annual Meeting in March of 2009. A book chapter in a book about material culture studies and art education was written and has been published by the National Art Education Association:
- Graham, M. A. (2011). The Art of Collecting, Material Culture, and Place-Based Education. In P. Bolin & D. Blandy (Eds.) Matter Matters. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association. This chapter describes this research project. Another version of this ongoing research project is being in process for submission for the journal Art Education.
Description of the results/findings of the project
Our study of landscape included the ecology of the desert. We walked for miles, camped, studied the names of the plants and animals and wondered at the enormous surge of gypsy moth caterpillars that covered the trees in some areas. Approaching artwork along trails in deep river gorges created an aesthetic experience that was different from viewing art in a gallery or museum. As we visited these ancient sites, we collected sand, rocks, and pieces of plants. We did drawings, took photographs, and talked about what the images might mean. What we saw and what we talked about led us to ask more questions, which led to further research. Miriam, a Navaho student, was particularly interested in how Native Americans and ancient rock art were being depicted as exotic relics. Her study led her examine contemporary Navaho and Hopi practices where rock art was a living art form. As part of our final exhibition, she constructed a collection of souvenirs that illustrated common stereotypes in these objects that was designed to disturb taken-for-granted assumptions about these kinds of artifacts.
Many rock art sites included writing and images added by pioneers and other visitors. Jordan focused her research on these over-writers and their stories. One name, Albert Webber occurred at several different sites. She found his granddaughter in Green River, Utah, whom we visited and interviewed. We learned about his life on a horse herding cattle and the story of his family’s struggle in this small desert town. Our study of ancient rock art was crisscrossed with other disciplines and raised many more questions than it answered. We renewed our awe, reverence, and appreciation of the desert. The desert rock research-art project culminated in a large installation consisting of objects we had gathered as well as drawings and paintings from our travels.
Many of our students, even students from Utah, have little idea about the rich cultural and ecological resources of the Great Basin desert. They are also unaware of the many issues surrounding the use of these resources. This research project gave them first hand experience in conducting research and field studies. The students who were involved felt that it was one of the most productive and enjoyable experiences of their college career.
Description of how the budget was spent
The Budget was spent on student research and field studies.