with many thanks to the art education students of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Our many conversations and planning meetings during which we developed the projects and themes for Spiral Workshop have aided me greatly in thinking about the qualities of a cool curriculum.

A curriculum is not only a structure for the dissemination of knowledge; the structure and content of the curriculum also involves the production of knowledge.

A curriculum should be rooted in the life experiences and interests of the students.

A curriculum should be rooted in the life experiences and interests of the teacher.

A quality art curriculum is deeply rooted in the experiences of art making.

A quality art curriculum involves students in a sense of history, of being part of the unfolding of culture and change. A quality art curriculum develops understanding of contemporary art and cultural production within knowledge of the history of art and culture.

A quality art curriculum foregrounds the notion that art production is rooted in discourse. It encourages students to become familiar with and able to use the languages of multiple art discourses.

A quality art curriculum is multi-cultural. It includes understandings of other cultures in the structuring of its curricular practice. Culture is more than what is taught; it always includes the how and why something is taught.

A quality art curriculum has beginnings in many traditions. It is not merely looking at other art traditions through Western eyes; it also attempts to look at Western art traditions with the eyes and insights of other traditions.

A quality art curriculum recognizes and foregrounds its roots in particular cultural choices. A quality art curriculum questions the idea of universal principles of meaning and beauty.

A democratic art curriculum actively seeks student and community input for choosing art works to be studied.

A fair art curriculum articulates its reasons for choosing particular works, movements, or concepts.

An intelligent curriculum has a discernable aesthetic and conceptual structure.

A meaningful contemporary art curriculum emphasizes contradictions, multiple digressions, complexities, and surprises.

A quality curriculum is more than the sum of its parts; it is more than a string of projects. It has a sense of flow; it has a sense of varied pacing. A curriculum should not be experienced by the students as slow, rigid, marking time, "the same old thing," or as only a preliminary to "real artmaking" or "real discourse."

A quality art curriculum makes use of drama and repetition, pauses and speed, surprises and re-evaluations to encourage creative engagement with its themes and techniques.

A curriculum should be fun for the students.

A curriculum should be fun for the teachers.

The structure of a curriculum is always an aesthetic and intellectual experience in its own right. The students should be able to sense, examine, and explain the structure of the curriculum.

A well thought out curriculum involves the entire department or school in setting goals and objectives. It is important that there be departmental decisions on themes, skills, and concepts that will be covered (and mastered) by students in the first year program or within other courses.

A flexible curriculum should not inhibit individual teachers from exploring individual conceptual, aesthetic, or technical interests.

A collaborative curriculum describes the common knowledge to be conveyed to all students while it encourages individual and collective experimentation.

A quality curriculum includes a range of projects, media, and skills. A quality curriculum respects breadth of learning and diversity.

A quality curriculum fosters a sense of accomplishment, development, and depth within particular areas of study. A good curriculum honors depth and nuance in learning and in art.

A curriculum should not be obsessed with comprehensiveness or fundamental skills. A lesson of living in a postmodern society of many cultures is that there are as many starting points as ending points in creating thoughtful, competent, aesthetically sophisticated people.

A good curriculum is developmentally appropriate. The curriculum accepts the students in the complexity of their skills and lack of skills. A curriculum is sensitive to the developmental issues of a given age group and place and should select art, projects, and goals accordingly.

A quality curriculum aids students in developing a visual language that allows them to communicate stories about their lives.

A quality curriculum is constructed so that students experience their own progress and development and the progress and development of fellow students.

A good curriculum pushes the students a little further than their comfort level, challenging them to stretch to new levels of perceptual ability, skill, and thought.

A well-designed curriculum recognizes the varying abilities of students within a single class and is planned to incorporate multiple ways to challenge all the students at the highest levels of their abilities. A quality curriculum does not create a hierarchy of the talented.

A meaningful curriculum takes seriously its role in fostering intellectual development, aesthetic sophistication, and proactive people.

A quality curriculum has a sense of humor.

A quality art curriculum is organic: it evolves over time.