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* For the full Public School display, Honorable mention. | For the full Public School display, Excellent.
† These drawings arrived too late for exbibition. $ For the full display of Architectural and Mechanical drawings, Excellent. OCCASIONAL DUTIES. Though much of any time has been occupied in correspondence and conference with a large number of persons in various parts of the State, and the work connected with the Normal Art-School has been unprecedentedly onerous, I have had the opportunity of visiting and lecturing at several places, during the past year. Thus I have visited Danvers, Wilbraham, Williston, Lowell, Cambridge, Salem, Haydenville, Orleans and Orange, conferring with or addressing teachers or public meetings, or both, and repeating on a small scale what was my principal duty during the first two years of my service to the State. I have also visited for examination and instruction each of the State Normal Schools.
THE STATE NORMAL ART-SCHOOL. But the great work of the past year performed by me has been the care and direction of the State Normal Art-School, comprising lecturing to the students, directing individually their studies, holding the examinations, and deciding on the value of the exercises weekly presented to me. The two removals of portions of the classes, first from 33 to 24 Pemberton Square, and from the latter to 28 School Street, with all the details and organization involved in the development and increase of an institution by one-third of its entire number of members in a year, have not diminished either the work or the responsibility of the director of that school. Two new classes have been organized, C and D, making, with classes A and B, previously in existence, the complete curriculum of the school, requiring four years of steady work to pass through, a time too short by many years for a student's pupilage in fine art, but giving, with diligence on his part, a fair introduction to the first principles of industrial art. In these first years of existence, the Normal ArtSchool cannot display either the character of its courses of study, or the skill of its instructors, for its students come to commence the study of art, rather than to perfect their knowledge. To understand its true position with regard to more than 90 per cent. of its pupils, we should imagine one of the State Normal Schools having for entering pupils, year by year, those who can neither read, write nor cipher; that would place it in general education
in a corresponding position to the one occupied by the Normal Art-School in art-education. This may seem a strong statement, but it is absolutely true; for out of the 600 students examined for admission to the school during the past three years, there have not been ten whose drawing of a simple geometric solid was true in form, and I have every paper yet worked ready at hand to verify the statement. Let critics who may know what the word normal means applied to a school, remember this condition of things when impatient of immediate results from the establishment of the school. And when it is remembered that for the accommodation of our 300 students, we have not as much room as there is on any one floor of any other Normal School building in the State, it will be seen that even other circumstances are not particularly favorable. Nevertheless, the premises now occupied on School Street are such an infinite improvement on the past, that we are strengthened to hope for the future. It has been the task of the present officers to show, as pioneers, what may be done; it will be the more fortunate prerogative of their successors to accomplish this ideal of the future, what should be done. It has been found necessary to impose a small subscription of twenty dollars a year on the students, because of the expenses of the school; this is not deemed to be necessary in any of the other State Normal Schools (except to a nominal extent), and I trust that as soon as the legislature provides a rent-free building in which to conduct the school, it will be as free as other state schools are to the citizens of Massachusetts, whatever may be charged to non-citizens.
The appropriation for casts for the new classes will confer additional opportunities of advanced instruction on the students who continue their studies for several years, and when one student has graduated after a four years' course we shall see the living similitude of an art-master in our midst, only needing a quarter of a century's practice in teaching what he has learnt, and further study of it, to know as much about art-education as the average Grammar School master knows about general education. This should encourage the art-student to commence his studies early, if he desires to arrive at a fair amount of knowledge on this side of the grave.
The near approach of the Centennial Exhibition suggests the remark that the courses of study pursued in the Public Schools of this State, as well as of the Normal Art-School, will give the world an opportunity of informing us what is thought of our educational efforts. This will be a practical convenience to many whose knowledge of the subject does not enable them to arrive at reliable conclusions, and whose minds are occasionally disturbed by a cloud of local witnesses, having their judgments warped by being of homely experience alone. The cultivated critics of the Old World, having had very favorable opportunities to study the subject of art-education, will confer much satisfaction upon us by offering their opinion on the work in industrial art-instruction now being carried on in Massachusetts, remembering that it will be less than five years old when the judgment is delivered. And whatever may be the verdict, we must remember that in competition with the world, though we are tried by competent judges, we must be judged only with those who are our equals in experience. It may not be exactly the intention, nor will it be for long the exclusive privilege, of Massachusetts to provide the teachers of industrial art for the rest of the continent; but it is nevertheless a fact, that there are but few of the States, and fewer Provinces of North America, who have not received either impulse and inspiration, or living teachers of art, from the Massachusetts Normal Art-School. Perhaps this is not antagonistic to the instincts of her most public-spirited citizens; but if it be so, the burden must soon be shared by other States, such as New York, Pennsylvania, and even California, who are already active in imitation of the artistic enterprise of Massachusetts, the home of my pioneer fellow-countrymen, the Pilgrim Fathers.