In the years before he died Al Hurwitz worked on a timeline project which grew into mammoth proportions. He would call friends and colleagues exhorting them to provide entries, particularly those from overseas, in which he was particularly interested. There was, perhaps, no one better than Al to undertake a task of this size for he had read most of the significant material pertaining to art education as he undertook the eight revisions of his influential book Children and their Art; moreover, he was able to draw upon the knowledge of a multitude of overseas friends from his time as President of INSEA and with his wife Helen was a warm and entertaining host to anyone and everyone who counted in art education from almost anywhere. One has the impression that he had read and been everywhere and now bequeaths his insights and knowledge to us.
Yet, this project is more than a simple enumeration of dates and happenings for Al intersperses his own takes on events in the field with the inclusion of significant moments from world history as signposts of their times, beginning in 400BC. Many of the entries are rich and elaborate, some straight forwardly descriptive, some more interpretive, while others are more sketchy as if waiting for him to return to their development. Here too we find Al’s own fascination with movies, music, literature and important discoveries which like threads enclose art educational events with a more personal cultural significance. Al died in 2012 and the entries to the Timeline close in 2007 when the physical act of writing became very difficult for him (he never did take to computers).
The Timeline Project is presented here much as Al left it when he died and with only minimal editing. We present it in the hopes that it will be useful to colleagues in the field but with the reminder/warning that to date there has been only minimal fact checking-this is very much Al’s take on things! Fact checking we undertake as our project in his honor at Teachers College through the work we do in the history of art education. We will make revisions as we go along and will continue to expand the index so that unheralded items maybe brought to light. We also invite our colleagues to offer their revisions or new items by submitting them to Arted@exchange.tc.columbia.edu for inclusion.