The 50th Anniversary of the textbook Children and Their Art by Charles Gaitskill, Al Hurwitz and Mickey Day (in later editions) was celebrated. This makes Children and Their Art the art education text with the greatest longevity. It was the most read and least quoted text in the field as opposed to John Dewey who was the most quoted least read figure in art education.
In her book Uncovering the History of Children's Drawing and Art, Donna Darling Kelly introduced two paradigms for the study of children's art, which she refers to as the "Mirror and Window." In the former, psychologists regard child art as a lens through which they can learn about the interior mind of a child and in the window, child art was studied and enjoyed for its aesthetic and artistic values. These two views are related to one of art education's perennial debates regarding product (the degree of success of an artwork) versus process, (the personal values gained by the child while executing the work.) Samuel Hope, a music educator, in his article "Art Education in a World of Class Purposes" took a stand against negative aspects of youth culture such as the desire for simplicity and sensation, rejection of any sort of evaluations and problems posed by the use of drugs and the substitution of slogans for serious discussion. Peter London and George Czekely exemplified alternate philosophies of art education. London for his belief in the spiritual nature of artistic expression, and Czekely for his use of theatrical activity rituals and unconventional forms of motivation. Peter London's third book Drawing Closer to Nature presented a holistic paradigm of art education that stressed the spiritual nature of artistic creativity. His ideas were developed in classroom situations with the support and assistance of Karen Carrol, Dean of Art Education at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Michael Parsons reviewed the history of theories of artistic development and concluded that the linear models of Piaget and Lowenfeld cannot be defended in postmodern contexts. In its stead, he argued Parsons' change in children's art resembled a tree with many branches rather than a single path of growth, which was shaped by western, modern goals based upon a realistic depiction of the world. "Endpoint, Repertoires and Toolboxes. Development in Art as the Acquisitions of Tools." Tools were used as a metaphor for the diversity of conditions that influenced change in child art.
Clare Golomb in The Child's Creation of a Pictorial World provided extensive parallels between development of imagery in sculpture as well as drawing.
Glyn V. Thomas & Angelo M. J. Silk An Introduction to the Psychology of Children's Drawings summarized and classified theories and research findings entered up such basic issues as why children draw, role of emotions, motives, the role of subconscious in drawing, the emergence and significance of symbols and other concerns. Personalities were listed which are spokespersons for various points of view. Judith M. Burton becomes Director of Art and Art Education at Teachers College, Columbia University with a mandate to rebuild the program to its former position as a leading voice for humanistic education in the field of art education.
Henri Michaux Essais d'enfants: Dessins D'Enfants (Children's Efforts: Children's Drawings). Michaux's ideas were unlike most of those of others. They were somewhat eccentric personal insights. Ex: He likens the love of circles to a child's "first drug." Sven Anderson Local Conventions in Children's Drawing: A Comparative Study in Three Cultures. The author asked Tanzanian, Swedish and African fifth graders to draw a house. The 232 drawings revealed one major difference between African and Western children was the placement of windows - Africans used the corners of buildings and Swedish the center areas. Anderson saw the African placement as a local convention.
Al Hurwitz wrote The Gifted and Talented in Art: A Guide to Program Planning (Davis Publications). Alexander Alland, of Columbia University authored Playing with Form: Children Draw in Six Cultures. Alland studied the drawings of preschool children of six countries: Japan, Taiwan, Micronesia (Panopea), Bali, France and the U.S. Some findings were as follows: Papean children do not undergo the scribbling stage. Children in Bali and Ponape were not interested in telling stories. Balinese children received instruction in all arts, but visual art. Taiwanese children had wide exposure to museums, performances, etc. Although art instruction was minimal at the time Alland wrote, today art is now an accepted part of the curriculum. Japan had a program rich in variety of media, and drawings from the US had an "aggressive quality." Alland's book calls into question the universal assumptions of developmental stage theories.
The first class of the NAEA distinguished Fellows was installed. Hilda Lewis' Tools and Tasks: The Place of Developmental Studies, An Open Letter to Brent and Marjorie Wilson. Lewis accepted most of the Wilson's criticism of developmental stage theory but argued that traditional views of the theory can be useful for the study of children's drawing in transition. Marjorie Wilson and Brent Wilson The Case of the Disappearing Two Eye Profile or How Little Children Influence the Drawings of Little Children. At least eight researchers acknowledged two eyed profiles that they saw as part of a natural stage. The Wilsons noted in their article that the two eyed profile which has waned was the result of peer influence and that the influence of adults also contributed to its decline. The same year this article was published, the Wilsons and Al Hurwitz wrote Teaching Children to Draw: A Guide for Parents and Teachers, which redefined certain graphic principles shared by western children such as the use of X-ray lines, multiple views of the same subject, peer influences, and media influence. The Wilsons urge adults to show children examples of drawing that are slightly more advanced in order to serve as a motivational strategy for art making. Ellen Winner, Invented Worlds: The Psychology of Arts. The author described her own developmental stages theory. She faulted previous researchers for not paying more attention to the importance of western bias that assumed that naturalistic representations was the end point of development. She offered five stages of change for children: scribbling, pre-representational design, use of proportion in drawings, more coherent representations and natural or optical realism. Like others she discussed the x-ray symbol, perpendicular structure and non-overlapping forms. She also mentioned the repleteness factor mentioned by Howard Gardner and cautioned against arguments confusing children’s art with work of adults.
A program on the gifted and talented in art was held at the NAEA convention in Chicago. This was to a large degree art education's response to a general interest in children with special needs and leads to a number of publication and conferences in art education, as well as new programs for children and adolescents, including the growth of Magnet schools. Brent Wilson and Marjorie Wilson, As I See It: The Use and Uselessness of Developmental Stages. This was one of the first articles to seriously question the work and assumptions of the many scholars and psychologists who have attempted to account for the process of change in children's drawing. The Wilsons felt that previous writers have misunderstood, neglected or omitted the influence of the child's culture, peers, genders, and subject matter on stages of artistic development.
Judith M. Burton authors a series of six articles in School Arts under the general title “Developing Minds.” The series offered a detailed account of various phases of artistic development, linked to thoughtful engagements with materials and group dialogues designed to motivate learning.