"Wow! I Didn't Even Know Black Artists Existed!" Advocating for Black Students in the Visual Arts through Autoethnography

Open Access
Leveston, Danielle Michelle
Graduate Program:
Art Education
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
June 23, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Karen Treat Keifer Boyd, Thesis Advisor
  • art education
  • qualitative research
  • autoethnography
  • art
  • visual art
  • African American students
  • Black students
  • intersectionality
  • gender
  • class
  • race
In this autoethnography, I critically examine my own educational and non-educational experiences as a Black woman in pursuit of degrees and a career in the visual arts field. Intersectionality theory, specifically the lens of a working-class Black woman, is used as the theoretical perspective. The purpose of this thesis research is to provide educators with an understanding of how they can make their classroom environments more welcoming for Black students, and thus, motivate Black students to become more involved in the visual arts. Furthermore, art educators need to understand the reasons why some Black students are reluctant to participate in the visual arts as educational and professional pursuits. Within this examination, it is my hope that educators, including myself, become reflexive about their own experiences as students and teachers in order to explore several ways they can make their art classrooms and philosophical stances as teachers more inclusive to the needs of all students.