Aesthetic Operations and Loose Parts

…the joint origin of love and art is not only theoretical but also has practical or tangible implications for the way we live today. (Art & Intimacy, Ellen Dissayanake, 2000, xiii)

I had the honor of interacting with an amazing group of educators and artists in Liora Bresler‘s The Arts in Elementary and Early Childhood Education course at the University of Illinois. Throughout the evening our group explored the five aesthetic operations [repetition, formalization, dynamic variation, exaggeration, and surprise!] identified by EllenDissanayake_HandbookEducResArtsRevWe uncovered their individual and collective power by manipulating loose parts, searched for evidence in beautifully designed spaces, and wondered about the potential to design and assess engaging learning environment for all learners from my latest publication with Emily Verba Designing and Assessing Aesthetic Learning Environments .

Enjoy a slide show of our loose part design and feel free to comment on their creativity, individuality, and felt sense. These loose parts designs, reminiscent of Reggio inspired nature designs, document the creativity, individuality and felt sense of mutuality.

Loose Parts Designs

“Taking the arts seriously means arts for everybody, not simply as enrichment or appreciation but — in schools and communities — as encouragement and opportunity to participate from the first years of life and throughout life, as was the human birthright.” (Dissayanake, 2000, 185)  The arts infused into our everyday work, in the simple manipulation of objects in a space or arrangement of space to create a sense of place, imbues the viewer and visitor with a sense of mutuality, belonging, competence, meaning and artifying. 


One thought on “Aesthetic Operations and Loose Parts

  1. Richard Caplan

    Good Morning Pat: It has been a long time since we communicated. I wanted to let you know that I have formed Arts to the Core Schools, Inc., a non-profit company to promote, establish and operate primary schools featuring an arts-infused curriculum. We expect to receive, momentarily, from the IRS, 501(c)(3) status as a public charity. We are about to submit a school charter application to the Central York School District. I would again ask you to consider joining our Board of Trustees, which now numbers ten members. Professor Grapenthin and Dr. Ocasio remain among are trustees as are the executive directors of two major arts organizations in York County. Even if you decline this renewed invitation, I was wondering whether you would be willing to contribute to our charter application a concise discussion of the theory and methodology of an arts-centric curriculum, as described in your book “Arts As a Way of Learning”. We would, of course, formally attribute this discussion to you. None of our Trustees matches your depth of knowledge of this crucial subject. If you would require compensation, I would be prepared to pay for your time out of pocket. Because we hope to file by mid March, please let me know ASAP whether you are prepared to help. We really need your insights. Given the educational turmoil in York City, it is likely that our application for a charter will be approved.
    Finally, we are currently searching for a head of school. Would you consider assuming that role a year from now? Our charter application anticipates our k-8 school opening in September 2016. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 717-380-5957, and many thanks, Richard


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