American children and youth live in and through mass media and popular culture. They frequently fashion their sense of history, ideology, and multiple and ever-changing identities through popular visual imagery. These images penetrate and pervade every aspect of our students’ lives in the form of television programs, children’s books, advertisements, movies, comics, toys, cereal boxes, video games, fashion merchandise, sport shoes, fast food paraphernalia, and architectural and public spaces. These images help to shape students’ experiences by capturing their imagination and engaging their desires. These pervasive, immediate, and sometimes ephemeral images often construct students’ consciousness and their sense of citizenship and culture. In fact, as images become more prolific and powerful, students’ sense of agency and civic participation is understood as consumer choice while politics are relegated to somewhere beyond the everyday. It is clear that rapid proliferation of imagery has profoundly changed American children, youth, culture, politics (relationship between power and knowledge) and academia, yet the field of art education has not quite caught up.


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