Art may be understood by considering it as a social institution in which particular artifacts are presented as candidates for appreciation. This institution includes the domains of production, distribution, and consumption, all of which are regulated according to rules and standards relating to both art objects and behavioral roles for those people involved. In the paradigm case all participants in the institution are of the same cultural group. This is important for art educators to understand because of the diversity of cultures represented in the classroom. Because a person's greatest opportunity for meaningful involvement in the arts comes from within his or her native culture, art education which is excessively tied to the fine arts represents a form of cultural imperialism which alienates most students as potential participants in the arts.


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