Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

Second Reader

Suresh Appavoo EdD


A democracy is healthiest when civic engagement is valued and demonstrated by its citizens. Although many have studied ways to increase civic engagement, the relationship between civic engagement and fine art education has not been included. The purpose of this study is to identify the relationship between art education and civic engagement in a select sample of eight AP visual art students from a high school art program in Northern California, as well as identify the level of civic engagement demonstrated by the students. The students will be interviewed and evaluated according to Hauptmann (2005)’s seven elements of civic engagement activity. Three themes emerged from the findings: A high awareness surrounding civic issues, a failure to satisfy Hauptmann (2005)’s requirements for civic engagement activity, and noted factors by the students which possibly inhibit their ability to participate in civic engagement activities. A greater emphasis on art education in schools may benefit the goals of civic education, as well as raise students’ awareness regarding civic issues. However, the study did not find any evidence supporting art education as having a positive influence on the civic engagement activity of high school art students. In most cases the activities by the students fell short of legitimate civic engagement, but nonetheless there was an effort to stay informed and active within their abilities and around their day-to-day responsibilities.