Finding Art's Place showcases three artistic/educational experiments located outside of school settings. Nicholas Paley presents the texts, voices and the teaching and learning practices of Tim Rollins + K.O.S. (Kids of Survival); the video work of Sadie Benning, the adolescent filmmaker who has won critical acclaim for her sensitive self-explorations of her lesbian sexuality; and the photographic efforts of Jim Hubbard, who shares his expertise with homeless and urban children in Washington, D.C.
Finding Art's Place explores the many ways education occurs in each of these experiments. Allowing the children and young adults, their mentors and their work to speak for themselves about their educational experiences, Paley brings forward multiple standpoints on educational methodologies and materials, identity, literacy, and the configurations of art in the lives of urban youth.
"Paley's book documents his investigation of the "educational forces that engage children with the arts outside the academy"...Instrumental values ascribe developmental, intellectual, and expressive advantages to the study of art...He acknowledges the important role of community in shaping young people's world views, and he depicts their art activities as essential to their lives. In describing and analyzing the work of three different youth art initiatives, Paley presents children's artistic activity as a legitimate cultural contribution..." -- Journal of Educational Thought, Winter '96
"The critical core of Paley's premise is engaging: his positionings of the young people he discusses as art practitioners subverts our response to them as students, victims, or simply precocious teens. His introduction situates their projects in a theoretical discourse, consciously removing the trite language of art education from our reception of them. In examining each experiment, Paley uses voices not only of critics, scholars and mentors but also of the young practitioners themselves, showing us not only what these children have been taught, but, more important, what they've learned." -- ookForum (ArtForum)