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TN Academic Standards for Visual Arts

The fine arts standards (dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts) are organized using the same overarching framework. First, the standards are divided into four distinct artistic processes, called domains. Each domain includes a series of ideas that unite the fine arts within those artistic processes, called foundations. Each foundation includes standards that move students towards a deeper understanding of the visual arts. Standards are building blocks that form a comprehensive, sequential education and describe student learning. Included with each foundation are enduring understandings and essential questions that connect each grade level and provide a context for the standards. Altogether, this framework sets the goals for the development of artistically literate citizens, preparing students not only for college and career, but also for a lifetime enhanced by and with the arts. 
There are four artistic processes in which our standards can be grouped: Create, Present, Respond, and Connect. These domains are explained in more detail below.

Creation is the dominant foundation for the visual arts and is listed as the first domain in our content area due to its importance. The Create domain can be divided into three spiraling behaviors: 1) generating and conceptualizing artistic ideas and work; 2)
organizing and developing ideas and work; and 3) refining and completing artistic work. In the prior versions of the standards, using materials and developing technique were found in the Perform domain. This version of the standards includes materials and
techniques as part of Create behaviors. 

The skills included in the Present domain have not been included in prior versions of the standards. However, Present will seem familiar to educators and students since the content of the domain is already happening within most visual arts curricula. High
school students selecting work for their portfolios, middle school students planning, creating, and displaying art to inform their peers on social issues, and kindergarten students selecting one work of art to leave at school to display and one to take home to share with their family are all examples of how to meet standards within the Present domain.

The content of the Present domain is organized into three big ideas about the presentation of artwork: 1) selecting, analyzing, and interpreting artistic work for presentation; 2) developing and refining artistic techniques and work for presentation; and 3) conveying and expressing meaning through the presentation of artistic work. In other words, the standards in foundation P1 focus on the process that supports the selection of art for different purposes, the standards in foundation P2 are centered around consideration for preservation and presentation of art, and the standards in P3 explore the role of presentation spaces and the interactions that occur between the space and the people who view it.

The phrase “traditional and emerging spaces” appears several times within this domain. This phrase captures the inclusiveness of where and how art can be displayed without placing boundaries on the time, space, or format of the display. The spaces to display
artwork within schools and communities vary throughout the state. Therefore, more autonomy is given to districts and educators to determine the most effective ways for students to master these standards. Also, since these standards will be used to guide
instruction over the next six years, listing specific presentation spaces might have the unintentional consequence of excluding presentation spaces, which have yet to be created.

The Respond domain outlines standards in three overarching areas: 1) perceiving and analyzing artistic work; 2) interpreting intent and meaning in artistic work; and 3) applying criteria to evaluate artistic work. While the 2016 Respond standards closely align with the prior Respond standards, there are several notable differences. 

First, the term “image” was selected for use in R.1.A, while the term “art” was used in R.1.B. The intent of using “image” is to provide educators and students autonomy to explore visual culture and the impact of images as a way to develop visual literacy. In
contrast, R.1.B focuses more on analyzing images that were intentionally created as artwork. Another difference can be found within the R.2 and R.3 standards. In R.3, students critique artworks, which can include interpretation. However, interpretation is a valuable process in itself, used to gain insights into the meaning of artwork. In R.2, students use a variety of strategies of interpretation including analyzing context, media, or subject matter while using appropriate art vocabulary (e.g., the elements of art and the principles of design).

The Connect domain includes two foundations: 1) synthesizing and relating knowledge and personal experiences to artistic  endeavors; and 2) relating artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context. The visual arts standards are also
connected to other fine arts content areas by the standards framework, including the domains and foundations. Cn.1 asks students to make connections between art and other life experiences (which can include their study of other school subjects, like reading, math, science, and social studies). Cn.2 is very similar to our prior standards for history and culture.