I have been a faculty member at The Dalton School since 1978. Over these three decades I have been involved with the art department as well as participated in numerous independent programs and initiatives. Our school was first established in 1919 by progressive educator Helen Parkhurst. It was first known as The Children’s University School located at 10 West 72nd Street in New York before expanding, changing its name to The Dalton School and moving in 1929 to its permanent residence at 108 East 89th Street (currently with two additional nearby locations).
Parkhurst established The Dalton Laboratory Plan, building on the progressive foundations of her mentor, Maria Montessori. The Plan championed freedom and child centric learning and included emphasis on language and the arts. Today, The Dalton Plan is represented around the world and is still a model for an evolving progressive pedagogy.
As my own history with Dalton has grown, so has my curiosity with regards to my predecessors, those early artist / teachers who gave shape to the art program and school, while struggling to make a meaningful contribution to the art world. I have been granted a sabbatical leave from teaching for the academic year of 2009 -2010 with a purpose of investigating those early individuals and to give voice and recognition to their early contributions.
It is my aim to use this blog to be part of my research process, a place to chart progress, and organize information. I am also excited to share what I find about those first art pioneers who, like Parkhurst represent new thinking for a new time in America. Many names are forgotten, but their contributions were substantial.