Gene Blocker directed a conference to define the meaning or meanings of multi-cultural issues in art education. The proceedings were published in the "Journal of Aesthetic Education" and make a valuable contribution to the professional literature of art education. Professional gatherings often provided major sources of information not readily available in conventional literature. Example, the Penn State Seminar (1965) which moved to be an antecedent of the Discipline Based Art Educators movement and "The Arts in Their Infancy" held at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
In the largest art education reform initiative to date, six art education institutes established since 1988 in Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas by the Getty Center for Education in the Arts supported discipline-based art programs in more than two hundred school districts in fifteen states, reaching close to a million students in kindergarten through twelfth grades. The institutes were based on findings from the Los Angeles Getty Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts (1982-1989), which served 1,300 teachers in twenty-one school districts in the Los Angeles area.
The Getty Center established art education institutes in Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas. They supported discipline-based art programs in more than two hundred school districts in fifteen states, reaching close to one million K-12 students.
A collection of essays, edited by Judith M. Burton, Arlene Lederman and Peter London, offers the first major critique of discipline based art education in the USA.
The NAEA, during its 40th anniversary, sponsored Ralph Smith's Excellence in Art Education: Ideas and Initiatives. Smith states a case for critical study of art works because it questions the traditional belief in the centrality of studio based activities. The slow erosion of belief in the importance of creative activity began at the Penn. State Seminar in 1965 and proved to be an antecedent of the J. Paul Getty sponsored Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE) philosophy.
W. Dwaine Greer introduced the term discipline-based art education in an article in Studies in Art Education.
The Getty Center for Education in the Arts was created as one of the Getty Trust's seven units. Headed by Leilani Lattin Duke, the Getty Center offered support for discipline-based art education in the public schools through a program of research, publications, conferences, grants, and regional institutes.
Art education in the late modern and postmodern era could be described as an amalgam of child-centered modernist philosophies and practices, Bauhaus-engendered "art fundamental" theories laced with American discipline based art education and a Canadianized version of "Arts Education," enlivened with a dash of multiculturalism and a recognition of the pervasiveness of visual culture in all its facets.
The Picture Study Movement thrived as an antecedent of the discipline-based art education movement. Encouraged by advances in printing technology and the use of color reproductions, art appreciation continues to be taken seriously as part of a balanced program. The goals of appreciation lie on the moralistic as well as the aesthetic side as sentimental narrative works take precedence over contemporary European exemplars. Pictorial images were regarded as natural vehicles for transmitting society's deeply held values such as patriotism, family values and religion.
In England, Marion Richardson's ideas on the teaching of art were developed at the Dudley Girl's High School and displayed in an exhibition mounted by Richardson. Richardson's practice, as reflected in the exhibition, was as follows: encourage but avoid direct assistance, do not rely on a syllabus, offer no direct training in technical skills, encourage the students to make their own choices. Children's Drawings were shown as exhibitions at the Galerie Dada in Zurich with Klee, De Chirico, Modigliani, Negro sculptures and other leading artists of the time. Walter Krotzsch in his Rhythm & Form of the Free Art Expressions of the Child demonstrated his interest in the relation of art to language and the implications of three stages of scribbling: the unrefined, the refined, and the naming of the scribble. He attributed the development of form, writing and ornamentation's to these earliest phases of expression. (Germany) In the U.K., critic Roger Fry in his article "Children's Drawings," included children’s art as part of his Omega Workshops, an organization founded on a perceived need to raise the level of designs through the incorporation of modern art into the design of objects used in the home. Two of Fry's associates, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, were also members of the novelist Virginia Woolf's circle. Fry was moved by the "vitality" of the untaught child. Fry's ideas regarding formal criticism would later be incorporated into Discipline Based Art Education of the 1980's.