This study explores the breadth of, and role for, sustainability in art education in Greenville, SC schools and the extent to which art education links with the larger Greenville public arts sphere and sustainable creative placemaking. I examine art teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge and classroom involvement in the larger art community, and sustainability present in the interconnections between my three participant groups: teachers, public artists, and organizations. This study analyzes responses from ten semi-structured art teacher interviews stratified by school level and type, seven public artists using an online survey, three semi-structured organization interviews, and thirteen works from the virtual Greenville Public Art Tour. The data were coded inductively and deductively to dissect factors that play a role in these interconnections. Although no explicit state standards exist regarding sustainability, many teachers believe art can be used as an educational tool for environmental and social awareness, systems thinking, heightened creativity, and enhancing placemaking.
Every art teacher from my sample has sustainability embedded into their curriculum explicitly or implicitly. Art teachers at Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics schools are more likely to engage in explicit sustainability practices, which are associated with past experiences and the school culture. Students participate in sustainable creative placemaking most often through public murals and community art events. The established art scene in Greenville allows for teachers to connect kids to the arts through project-based learning and collaborative problem solving. This research created achievable goals for action within schools and communities to improve health and education in Greenville.
Keywords: Sustainability, Art, Education, Greenville, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Creative Placemaking