Beneath the Hanging Moss: The Journey of African American Female Artist/Educators at a Historically Black College



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Background: Incorporating the histories and works of art of African Americans from a multicultural perspective could enhance understandings of American heritage and contributions in art education. African American artists have served as important artistic and historical figures; however, they have often been left out or minimalized throughout the history of art education. It is necessary to incorporate African American artists into art education to help shape students’ understanding, in a deliberate way, of African Americans on art and art education and the impactful role of historically black colleges in African Americans’ teacher training. Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative inquiry was to investigate the experiences of female African American artists/educators who are graduates of the same historically black college. The study explored how participants’ self-reported influences, obstacles, and experiences in art teacher education transcended into their development into art educators. This study is an important addition to art education literature in that it presents African American women perspectives on the effect of context and pedagogy on their development of style and method of teaching art. Methods: Data were collected using case study qualitative methods. The participants included five African American female artists/educators, which included the researcher. Participants were selected through purposeful sampling and then interviewed. The researcher transcribed and compared participants’ responses and established themes. Results: Data analysis showed common themes of choosing a historically black college, experiences and influences, and how these influences transcended into personal teacher practices. Participants’ narratives reflected unique experiences that prepared them in the field of art education. Conclusion: The conclusion reveals the historical relevance of historically black colleges and universities in educating African American female artists/educators. Their perspectives on how their teacher training influenced their development as art educators is important because it adds a voice that is seldom heard.



African Americans, Artists, Educators, African American Female, Historically black colleges and universities, Multicultural, Teacher training, Pedagogy