California State University, Los Angeles

ART 400 Development of Literacy in the Visual Arts (with service learning)

Instructor: Dr. Carol Jeffers, Professor of Art Education Office/Hours: FA 357, Mon./Wed. 2-4 pm Phone/Fax/Email: 323-343-4021, 323-343-4045, or

Course Objectives: 

  1. To empower students (pre service teachers) to connect meaningfully with art and understand it as the carrier of social, cultural, political, spiritual themes; to understand art as the teller and creator of human stories, great and small.
  2. To empower students to connect meaningfully with area youngsters through art and to gain experience in facilitating the children's learning during their trips to Cal State L.A.
  3. To promote students' professional development and ethical behavior through the service-learning component incorporated in this course, based on the specially designed workbook titled: "Where is Art? Where is THE Art? A Guide for Students and Teachers Interacting with Pop and More from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation Collection, an Exhibition of late 20th Century Art in the Lickman Gallery at Cal State L.A."


  • identify a cultural icon that could also serve as a personal icon (for student identity)
  • take a Los Angeles area child, (ages 6-12), to a local art museum/gallery
  • bring an object to place on the class altar (altar art as spiritual story teller)
  • choose a work of art exhibited at a local gallery or museum to serve as your metaphor
  • present the metaphor to the class and turn in a 2 page, typed analysis of it
  • complete all art making assignments', individual and group
  • participate in all service learning activities and work with visiting children
  • complete all journal entries (typed). See the attached format.

Course Schedule:

Week 1:

  • Introduction to course themes, explanation of course objective and requirements, service-learning component, its goals and expectations for student performance, for ethical and professional behavior.
  • What is art? What is art for? How does art tell human stories, great and small? What stories do altarpieces tell? When is art? Where is art? What is Pop art? What is popular culture? What is a cultural icon? What stories are told through Pop art? What is context and its importance?
  • Metaphor and story telling; metaphor and special art, altar art (an example)
  • Visiting the Lickman Gallery, Choosing a work of Pop art Learning to look AND looking to learn in groups, Art criticism and story telling, seeing through the eyes of others, facilitating group dialogue, critical discourse.

Week 2:

  • Finding art; using found objects in art. Bring object to place on the class altar Bring cultural icon that also serves as your personal icon for class billboard

Week 3:

  • Using the guide, "Where is Art? Where is THE Art?"

Week 4:

  • Metaphors presented in class, 2 3 page typed paper due

Week 5:

  • Empowering children in art museums/galleries: Preparation for campus Visits, using the guide, "*Where is Art, Where is THE Art?"
  • Preparation for working with child guide in an art museum
  • Videos: "Learning to Look AND Looking to Learn: Constructivist Kids in the Art Gallery" and "Poetry of Pictures"
  • Feb. 6 (Thurs): Rockdale Elementary 5th graders visit the campus to work in the Lickman Gallery and make art with us Meet at Student Union to greet children and organize groups for the day

Week 6:

  • (Tues) Feb. 11: Sacred Heart High School visits the campus, work in the Lickman Gallery with LIS
  • Feb. 13 (Thurs): Longfellow Elementary first-graders visit the campus, work with LIS in the Lickman Gallery

Week 7:

  • Debriefing: Follow up discussion/reflections on school visits

Weeks 7-9:

  • Introduce "Art with Issues," group project Starting with issues, understanding their stories, translating them into media and materials that communicate a message
  • Work in class on "Art with Issues," (group)

Weeks 7-9:

  • Work in class, group art projects Complete Journal entry #6 in class

Week 10:

  • Turn in completed journal (all entries, including Final Entry)
  • Finish all artwork, must be ready for exhibition Final: Exhibition in the "COPA" Gallery, (our Classroom of Postmodern Art)
  • Class critique

The ART 400 Journal

Your journal provides a quiet place for you to express your thoughts and feelings, directly and indirectly related to your service learning experiences, throughout this course. It is your tool, intended to help link your personal learning and course content to your professional development as a future teacher. This journal includes a variety of entries, which involve personal reflection and narrative, reflective essays, directed writing, experiential research paper, analog drawing with reflection, and comparative analysis across entries. Journal entries, with the exception of the first and sixth, are to be typed and each should consist of 2-3 pages in length. Entry formats are provided as follows:

Entry 1: Analog Drawing (to be completed on the first day of class)

Entry 2: Art, Identity, and the Icons of Your Life: Representing Self in Context (Creating a Billboard, Creating an Altar) Describe the cultural icon you have chosen to serve as your personal icon. Why did you choose it and how does it represent/reflect your identity? What does it say about you (your personal/cultural narrative)? How do you interpret the meaning of your icon in context of the class "billboard" of collected icons? Describe the special object you brought to place on the class altar. What makes this object special to you? (What makes it become art?) What did the public acts of sharing its meaning and placing it on the altar mean to you? How do you interpret the meaning of your special object in context of the class altar?

Entry 3: Pop and More... Which piece in the Lickman Gallery exhibit first caught your attention? (title, date, artist, medium, subject, style). Include a brief description of the artist's background, themes, interests, historical period. (References). What about this piece struck you? (Why did you choose it?) What does this piece mean to you (its message) and what does it say about you?

Entry 4: Art, Metaphor, and Identity In this entry, you should clearly address the following questions and include references:

  • What is this artwork? (Medium, subject, genre, style, period, historical/cultural context)
  • Who created it? (Describe the artist's life, biographical info, and historical period)
  • Why have you chosen this piece to serve as your metaphor?
  • How does this piece function as your metaphor?
  • What have you learned about yourself, as a person, as an emerging professional through this metaphor and its revelations?

Entry 5: Reflections on Working with Children

  • Introduce your child guide(s), using first name only (also, give age, grade, family background, ethnicity, cultural heritage, previous art museum experience).
  • Briefly describe your gallery experiences with your child guide(s). (Indicate where you went and what you saw, the child's/children's impressions and interactions). Briefly describe your group's art making activities.
  • Reflect on what you learned; ask the child/group to reflect on what they learned. Discuss how and what you and your child guide shared and learned together.

Entry 6: Analog Drawing (to be completed in class in the last week)

Final Entry: Comparative Analysis, 1 page typed, due the last day of class) Compare/contrast your Entry 1 and Entry 6. Are there changes? If so, what has changed and why? (How have your views of teaching changed? How do you see yourself as an emerging professional today, as compared with ten weeks ago?