July 17th, 2020

Here is my draft abstract for what I have analyzed and collected so far:

This study explores the breadth of, and role for, sustainability in art education in Greenville schools and the extent to which art education links with the larger Greenville public arts sphere and sustainable creative placemaking. Although there are no explicit state standards about sustainability, many teachers believe art can be used as an educational tool for environmental and social awareness, systems thinking, heightened creativity, student ownership, developing community wellbeing, and enhancing placemaking. This study analyzes data from seven participants in an artist Qualtrics survey, ten semi-structured art teacher interviews, three semi-structured organization interviews, thirteen pieces from the virtual Greenville Public Art Tour, and forty literature reviews. I examine art teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge and classroom involvement in the larger public arts sphere, and sustainability present in the interconnections between my three participant groups: teachers, public artists, and organizations. The data was coded using tenets of Grounded Theory in Excel and MaxQDA to determine the volume, characteristics, and factors that play a role in the interconnections.

Every art teacher from my sample has sustainability embedded into their curriculum either explicitly or implicitly. Art teachers’ past experiences influence their background knowledge of sustainability and are one main catalyst for expressing the importance of sustainability concepts in their curriculum. Art teachers, regardless of grade level, at STEM focused schools represent the most cases of explicit incorporation of sustainability in their curriculum. Additionally, there is a variety of student participation present in the public arts sphere through public art in the form of murals, and community art events. However, there are challenges and risks to involving schools in sustainable creative placemaking, but the outcomes are unparalleled. The established and valued art scene in Greenville allows for teachers to show why the arts are important and connect kids to the arts through project-based learning and problem solving.

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