John Dewey and Henry Schaefer-Simmern: The wholeness of artistic activity | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1743-5234
  • E-ISSN: 2040-090X



How can art as experience or education build a more humanized world? What are the benefits of an artful education that extend beyond the art itself? This work examines how two scholars of education and proponents of the arts have responded through their writing. The title of this article derives from John Dewey’s foreword to the book The Unfolding of Artistic Activity ([1948] 1961), which is a unique collection of case studies on artistic growth written by art educator Henry Schaefer-Simmern. In this text, as in John Dewey’s Art as Experience (1934), there is an underlying implication that creative activity which is supported by the individual’s life experiences leads to wholeness of the person, and, by extension, contributes to a revitalized society. This article is a further exploration of these exemplars’ thinking on the topics of art and education. The intention is to highlight their consonance and consider ways that their theories broaden the meaning of art, experience and education.


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