Date of Award

Winter 1999

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Paula M Salvio


Concerns for the development of caring communities in our schools are being increasingly expressed by parents, educators, researchers, and school administrators. Accompanying this expression of concern is the growing acknowledgement that such communities are essential to the well-being of schools and children. If we seek the actualized development of such communities we must also attend to questions of means. I ask, if care communities are considered as essential components of our schools, then how can we develop such communities? I examine the arts and particularly the visual arts and children's engaged art-making as sources for being able to offer educators a sensitive means of developing these communities in school settings. Essential to this examination is the development of a conceptual framework for understanding community, the aesthetic experience, and the art-making experience in relation to empathy, engagement, and the learning process. I present a philosophical discussion that develops a palette for composing multilayered and multifaceted tapestries of care communities using engaged art experiences as fundamental threads. I also present a gallery of images describing the actual development of a compassionate community in a first grade classroom in Gilford, N.H. The pedagogical dimensions of this creative journey are addressed as concerns for curriculum, instructional methodology, time management, assessment, spatial environments, and communication are shared. Above all, this paper presents a contextualized and auto/biographical approach to the study of the relationship between engaged art-making and community that invites the reader's participation and future exploration.