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The 1950s saw the concepts of art education most influenced by psychology reach their highest level and become an integral part of the U.S. educational system. Children's art products were seen as significant data revealing both their intellectual capabilities and the quality of their adjustment to everyday problems. At the same time, working with art materials—necessarily, of course, in a free, uninfluenced, spontaneous manner—was thought to provide a unique and important means of emotional therapy and, of course, creativity in art.)

1947 - Viktor Lowenfeld wrote Creative and Mental Growth, which detailed the natural stages of development in art. National Art Education Association (NAEA) was founded.

1958 - In the wake of Sputnik, The National Defense Education Act (NDEA) was passed by Congress and heavily supported by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The act emphasized concentration on math and science. The result was a drastic decline in the emphasis placed on art education. 

With newfound support and academic efforts, the field of art education began to reevaluate its role in society in the 1960s-70s. Art educators were encouraged to participate in “meaningful examination of social issues relevant to the young and helping to reform society" (Lainer, 1969). Academics in the field introduced a variety of curriculum alternatives in hopes of justifying their place in U.S. public education, including “Artists in the Schools,” “Environmental Arts,” and “Art Therapy" (The Art of Education Timeline). Contrary to years prior, the new, broad curriculum of the time expanded beyond traditional drawing techniques and included “drawing (in many forms and with many materials), painting (various types of paint and application), modeling, sculpting, constructing, weaving, and creative crafts of different types.” 

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