Several main areas were considered in developing Eyes on Art. Each is discussed below:
Using the Art Resources on the Web
With the advent of the World Wide Web, students have access to the world's art treasures as they never have before. Some of the great museums have online Web sites that feature works from their collections and exhibitions. Some particularly good sites are The Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the virtual museum Mark Harden's Artchive.
The only drawback to most of these sites is that they do not offer the activities or projects that teachers typically use (and learners need) as a basis for arts education. One exception is the ArtsEdNet by The Getty Center for Education in the Arts which devotes quite a bit of expertise to providing educators with online activities and projects.
Thus, Rationale #1 for Eyes on Art: to make educational use of the wealth of Internet resources.
Choosing Instructional Strategies
The California State Visual and Performing Arts Framework identifies four components to an effective arts curriculum:
Thus, Rationale #2 for Eyes on Art: given the goal of creating an instructional Web site for the visual arts, the above components would be included whenever possible.
Using Arts Education to Promote Higher Level Cognition
Research and writing by such people as David Perkins and Howard Gardner suggests that looking carefully at art is both a fulfilling activity in itself as well as a superior way to develop more expert thinking strategies. Their work has informed many of the activities in Eyes on Art. The best article I've found on this idea of using viewing art to promote thinking is Art and the Art of Intelligence from David Perkins' The Intelligent Eye: Learning to Think by Looking at Art (David N. Perkins, The Getty Center for Education in the Arts, 1994).
Thus, Rationale #3 for Eyes on Art: Specific activities will challenge higher level cognition whenever appropriate.
Viewing Art: an Aesthetic Joy
Even though the analytic/synthetic approach and higher-level cognition are promoted in Eyes on Art, it must be remembered by teachers using the Web site that viewing art can be an inherently pleasurable activity and that we should not risk missing an opportunity to share one of life's joys. As stated in "The Art of Seeing," by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly & Rick E. Robinson (The J. Paul Getty Trust and the Getty Center for Education in the Arts, 1990),
Thus, Rationale #4 for Eyes on Art: An emphasis on the affective, aesthetic nature of viewing art must infuse each activity.