The first conference of the World Alliance for Arts Education of which INSEA was a member, was held in Hong Kong.
The International Society for Education through Art (INSEA) was founded by UNESCO in Bristol, England, with the guidance of Herbert Read. The purpose of INSEA was to provide periodic forums for art educators interested in the philosophy, objectives, curricula, and methodology of art education, within an international framework. Tri-yearly meetings were held on a national and regional basis. Americans who have served as presidents were Edwin Ziegfeld, Al Hurwitz, and Elliot Eisner. Florence Cane, The Artists in Each of Us. Cane's book made connections between art therapy and the talented child through a series of case studies. Mildred Landis, Meaningful Art Education, a textbook based on theories of John Dewey. A doctoral dissertation from Harvard. Rosabel MacDonald, published Art as Education. The Canadian art educator Charles D. Gaitskell discussed the problem of motivation for picture making and writes of the power to picture making to clarify thoughts and feelings. Charles Dudley Gaitskell, director of art for the Ontario Ministry of Education, Canada, from the mid-1940's to his retirement in 1973, was invited by UNESCO to direct a seminar in Bristol, UK. It led to the formation of the International Society for Education through Art (INSEA) and set the stage for establishing a Canadian version.
One of Picasso's most quoted statements was "When I was the age of these children, I could paint like Raphael. It took me many years to learn how to paint like these children." Picasso said this to Sir Herbert Read at one of the British Council's Fine Arts Committee's series of international exhibitions of children’s art held in Paris. Read's involvement in these exhibitions reflected his belief as the (INSEA) International Society for Educational Art's first president in the role he thought that exchanges of student art could play in improving relationships among countries.
The Owatonna Project became a classic example of social reconstructionist or practical life centered curriculum. Not only does The Owatonna's high school offer a strong art program but it responded to the needs of the citizenry, promoting and advising on home decorations, art in public places, landscaping, and even window display, thus demonstrating that art can be public as well as private and personal as well as utilitarian, and that art teachers are capable of raising the general aesthetic level of an entire community. One of the teachers was Edwin Zeigfeld, later to become the first president of INSEA; head of the department of art education at Teacher's College, Columbia University; and author of Today's Art. The Owatonna Project lost its impact at the onset of World War II but retained its importance as an historic landmark in art education. NEA reinstated its Art Department. Adolf Hitler increased the number of art teachers in German schools. This increase permitted art teachers to spend more time studying German art of the Middle Ages, using Nazi symbols, slogans, and subjects related to war. Wartime art education lent a conservative political tone to the German Musiche, a program that included all of the arts. School Arts published graded texts for the elementary school, featuring sequenced lessons for correlation with other school activities. Language of form, arrangement, lines, proportion, color, picture study, tests on color skills, knowledge, and observation. In 1930, Clare Reynolds attended a lecture by Franz Cizek in Vienna. She was so impressed by Cizek she writes Child Art In the Vienna School in Vienna, wherein she described his use of slides which show visual development from ages two to eight years of age. Cizek asked his audience to attempt to paint as though they are six years old to better empathize with their students.