Designed primarily for the upper elementary and middle school grades, the ArtWorks program focuses on four high-level thinking dispositions which are central to making and responding to art:
1) To explore diverse perspectives,
2) To find, pose, and explore problems,
3) To reason and evaluate, and
4) To find and explore metaphorical relationships.
These areas of thinking are considered disposition-based, rather than skill-based, because they involve attitudes, emotions, and sensitivities, as well as cognitive skill. The areas have been selected because they satisfy three criteria which ArtWorks views as essential for teaching thinking with the arts:
1) Each of the thinking dispositions are authentic to responding to and making art in the sense that they are the things that people who view and make art actually tend to do,
2) Each have genuine cognitive power in the arts, in the sense that they significantly contribute to artistic learning and understanding,
3) Each have genuine cognitive power in other areas of learning, particularly traditional school subjects.
This project produced the ArtWorks for Schools Curriculum Materials, which includes a videotape, a teacher handbook, and slides of contemporary art. The use of the curriculum materials can be supplemented by access to museum resources and theater performances.