The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

Brent Wilson’s journals featured in library exhibition

Brent Wilson Journals

Visual journals chronicling Penn State art education professor Brent Wilson’s four decades of journeys across North America, Europe, Egypt, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and Brazil are on display through Sept. 13 in the Eberly Family Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library. “Brent Wilson: Journals and Journeys Too” features art journals from the Wilson archival collection, housed within the Penn State Special Collections Library.

The 90 art journals contain a wealth of visual and written records documenting Wilson’s travels from the 1980s through 2013, where he taught, conducted research and lectured in many countries and in the United States. They chronicle his visual and verbal responses to national and international professional conferences, his eight years as head evaluator for the Getty’s discipline-based art education regional professional development institutes and his time spent in Washington preparing “Toward Civilization,” a report to the president and congress on the status of arts education, in 1988. In addition, the journals highlight the struggles involved in developing an art structure for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Wilson taught in Penn State’s art education program from 1974 until 2004. During his tenure he pioneered the study of children’s image making in natural settings and developed a paradigm-changing theory relating to how children learn to draw by borrowing images from popular culture. Among his research interests were the study of language used to describe and judge works of art, the assessment of art educational outcomes, the extra-structural dimensions of art teaching and the nature of child art.

The journals reveal the outlines for books, book chapters, journal articles, diagrams and rudimentary theories. There are plans for thousands of paintings and sculptures and draft pages for artist books. They contain hundreds of pages of playful collaborative drawings made with children — graphic conversations that Wilson describes as “third-site pedagogy.”

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