This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
SO many complaints have lately reached the Editor in regard to the present system of the National Competition, in general, and of the late awards, in particular, that he has thought it desirable to invite, through the medium of the magazine, a full expression of expert views on the subject. With this view he sent a circular note of inquiry to a hundred art masters throughout the country, and a few others, in the following terms:
(a) Do you consider that the present system of the National Competition is the most representative that could be devised of the work of the Art Schools of the Kingdom;
(b) If not, how would you modify it in order to make
It will be seen that the responses to the above have been numerous and suggestive, and the Editor thinks he need offer no apology for surrendering, this month, the page usually devoted to his "Note Book," so as to afford room for as many of them as possible.
Too Much Help from the Master.
To the Editoi of Arts & Crafts
(a) In many cases the National Competition awards are gained solely by the fact of the master having been constantly at the student's shoulder, and thus the National Competition is more representative of the work of a school than the true capabilities of a student.
(b) No student shall submit a work for National Competi-tion unless be has previously gained a first-class in that subject - that is to say, that each work submitted for the National Competition shall bear a certificate by the teacher to the effect that the student has been assisted in its production solely by criticism, and has gained a first-class in its tag( - Willam H. Bond, Municipal School of Art, Brighton.
The Large Schools Have the Advantage.
To the Editor of Arts & Crafts as the names of some colonial schools used to appear in the lists.
I consider that the present system of the National Competition, whilst producing each year much excellent work, is not as representative of the work done in the art schools of the Kingdom as might be expected. Under the present systern, and owing to the decrease year by year in the number of the awards, the tendency is to give the schools in our large industrial cities and towns a ureal advantage over the less favoured small schools. I understand the chief aim of the National Competition to be that of fostering the study and practice of art in every part of the Kingdom, and to encourage, by offering awards, students to develop any artistic ability they may possess. 1 think some system might be devised which would offer more encouragement to those schools where practically all the advanced work is done under the supervision of one art master, who, under the present exclusive system, can only envy the large school where each branch of art. such as inc. design, painting, etc, has its specialist. - Bootle
From ot's Point of View.
To the Editor of Arts & Crafts.
"If the National Art Competition were really national as well as so in name, how much more significant the annual exhibition might be of our progress in art instruction," says our Editor in a recent issue of Arts and Crafts, and he-then deplores the isolation of the work of the students of the Royal College of Art at its Midsummer Exhibition.
Now it seems that the situation is worse than this when we find that there are no Scotch art schools competing; that is, the competition is confined practically to the English (and Welsh) and a few Irish art schools.
The withdrawal of the Scotch art schools seems to have begun after the Scotch Education Department took the responsibility of the science and art instruction of that country, the old Science and Art Department being incorporated, I suppose, with the Board of Education,which seems to be the Department tor the remainder of the kingdom.
All this suggests a number of questions. Assuming that there is a sum of money put aside yearly for the National Competition of Science and Art Work, has the whole of it been retained and used by the Board of Education ? Would it not be a better arrangement than at present to have a National Competition Committee or body elected to superintend the National Competition alone ? At present we can only gel information regarding the competition by procuring a copy of the directory or syllabus issued by the Board of Education.
The Scotch Art Schools are working under a different regime and homological system of work from what they did formerly, but the studies or works done can't be changed so much that none can be sent into competition. The studies ought to lie of greater value than ever. This fact concerning the Scotch Art School strikes one forcibly when lists can be got to show that a few years back Glasgow Art School had taken top place for the kingdom, and Aberdeen School well up in the list to mention two leading schools as examples. The competition is, or was, for the art schools of the Empire.
The statistics of the results of the present National Competition are of no use for showing how the work of the art schools compare with each other, It seems, then, that the work of a large proportion of the art schools of the kingdom. which it will be granted would likely take a leading place ill a National Competition, is prevented from being there. The statement has been made that students would spend time on works for the sole purpose of gaining awards, which time would be of greater educational value if spent in other directions of study. If this is the evil of the National Competition, then it's the place of the art teachers to fight it. Has Scotland cut away from it while the reminder of the Kingdom is still under its influence ?
Why should there be a national institution supported by public money if about one-hall of the nation is not to be allowed or tabooed from having any benefit from it ?
All This Suggests That There Should Be A Remodelled National Competition