Cathy Brooks


Childhood art experience reflects an apprenticeship to the taste systems which a child's family and the public school subscribe to. This paper sketches my own taste experiences as a school child advancing from age six to eleven. Taste is used here to mean a person's ability to discern among alternatives. Taste judgments rely on not only aesthetic criteria but also status and economic criteria that are part of the social context in which one makes choices in objects and images. Understanding this childhood apprenticeship reveals some of the factors influencing participation in art activity and aesthetic choice. I will outline a range of insights gained at home and in school (some 400 in all, retrieved from storage in my parent's attic). The study proceeded within the method of phenomenological description and the structure of hermeneutic theory. Although they will not be detailed here, severe consistencies, relationships and meaning that shaped the event of childhood art experience were identified, among them the implicit taste systems that underlie family and teacher choices and judgments.


© The Author

Included in

Art Education Commons