Service Learning in Visual Arts
The integration of service-learning has increased dramatically in recent years resulting in many positive outcomes. The University of Central Florida recently began encouraging faculty to adapt service-learning into the curriculum. The goal of involving students in service activities in a visual art curriculum is to strengthen a student’s confidence through relevant experience before entering the professional world, and to broaden their portfolios through these opportunities. Establishing service activities through partnerships with various communities also create mutual benefits and opportunities for both students and outside participants. Students are challenged with using their skills and talents in visual art as well as professionalism in interacting with clients, and clients obtain the benefit of service produced by the student. However, the challenge lies in creating effective service-learning opportunities into a visual art curriculum. The act of service-learning does not necessarily produce a positive learning impact on students and takes longer than normal studio class assignments. In addition, it can be difficult to evaluate the quality of a student’s experience and control the quality of outcomes. The objective of this study is to determine how to best modify a curriculum to enhance the quality of service-learning in visual art. This study will also introduce a case study for implementing service-learning components to graphic design courses. Included is 1) a description of service-learning components, 2) students' reactions to service-learning, 3) and evidence of the improvement in the quality of students' outcomes.
Keywords: Art, Education, Service Learning, Community
Dr. Kim Joo
Associate Professor, Department of Art, University of Central Florida