For Educators and Educatees

AVAM's Seven Education Goals

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Bluebird of Happiness by Dick Brown

  1. Expand the definition of a worthwhile life.
  2. Engender respect for and delight in the gifts of others.
  3. Increase awareness of the wide variety of choices available in life for all ... particularly students
  4. Encourage each individual to build upon his or her own special knowledge and inner strengths
  5. Promote the use of innate intelligence, intuition, self-exploration, and creative self-reliance.
  6. Confirm the great hunger for finding out just what each of us can do best, in our own voice, at any age.
  7. Empower the individual to choose to do that something really, really well.


The American Visionary Art Museum seeks to build upon the ancient Native American Vision Quest, and other similar self-revelatory journeys undertaken by visionaries in different times, cultures, and places. We seek to draw attention to America's history as a mecca for forward-looking innovators, optimists, dreamers and doers -highlighting the sense that America is at her best when she actively remembers that many of her greatest citizens were very much self-taught, self-made pioneers. Peabody and Smithson, for example, left us great institutions of learning out of their own distinctively uninstitutional, self-taught and self-authored educational experiences. The genius of the young Wright Brothers, likewise, shines most when the full measure of their remarkable accomplishments is understood. Without benefit of a college education, these two young brothers engaged in the greatest scientific battle of their day against some of the most famous, highly trained, best-educated and highly esteemed scientists from both America and Germany. The Wright Brothers also competed against the tremendous financial resources of a set of shrewd competitors in the race for sustained manned flight. Yet, as we know, the young brothers not only succeeded in making the crucial breakthrough in manned flight before many noteworthy opponents, but they in fact solved the enormous problem of discovering just how to steer a plane in flight.

We believe that being overly indoctrinated with ideas of what is not supposed to work, or what cannot work, only stifles human innovation and idea making. A freethinking educational environment opens the self-taught innovator to a greater range of dynamic possibilities. It is this total openness to the many potentialities of change that remains at the heart of true invention -and it is in this spirit that we offer these educational goals, which we believe apply equally well to people of every age and background.