Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Thomas Nelson

First Committee Member

Marilyn Draheim

Second Committee Member

Roger Coss


In the ever-changing world of visual arts education, there is a gap in the literature about the incorporation of creativity, risk-taking, and play in the curriculum. The purpose of this study was to understand how high school visual arts educators teach visual arts and creativity in the age of digital media, including the practices art teachers use to engage their students in their development of art-making and ways teachers encourage students to take risks in art-making practices. Utilizing an arts-based research method focusing on four case studies in the Central Valley of California, this inquiry examined the way visual arts educators teach the arts at the high school level. Further, this study used data sources of classroom observations, surveys, and one-on-one interviews. Data analysis utilized the theoretical lens of multiple intelligences to examine the different ways each visual arts teacher teaches visual arts. Findings indicated that there is a need for a common definition of creativity, student-teacher relationships are critical for improving students’ efforts in the arts, learning about the visual arts develops skills that students can use throughout their lifetime, and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds tend to be more willing to take risks in their artwork. Recommendations for further research and policy for school leaders conclude this study.





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