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Finding aid for the Getty Center for Education in the Arts, Stephen M. Dobbs records, 1984-1989, undated (bulk 1987-1989)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biography
  • Administrative History
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Materials Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Stephen M. Dobbs records
    Date (inclusive): 1984-1989, undated (bulk 1987-1989)
    Number: IA20027
    Creator/Collector: Getty Center for Education in the Arts
    Physical Description: 10.0 linear feet (24 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Institutional Records and Archives
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The records comprise the correspondence and subject files of Stephen M. Dobbs, Senior Program Officer for the Getty Center for Education in the Arts(GCEA), from 1987 to 1989. The records provide insight into the programs of the GCEA and its efforts to shape contemporary arts education in the United States through the development of the K-12 art education theory referred to as "discipline based art-education" (DBAE).
    Request Materials: To access physical materials at the Getty, go to the library catalog record  for this collection and click "Request an Item." Click here for general library access policy . See the Administrative Information section of this finding aid for access restrictions specific to the records described below. Please note, some of the records may be stored off site; advanced notice is required for access to these materials.
    Language: Collection material is in English


    Dr. Stephen Dobbs received his B.A. (1964) and Ph.D. (1972) from Stanford University. He first worked as a university professor in the humanities and, later in life, he became adjunct professor at San Francisco State University and an adjunct faculty member at the Institute for Jewish & Community Research.
    He was a program analyst for the John D. Rockefeller III Fund and later joined the J. Paul Getty Trust. At the Getty Trust, as a Senior Program Officer of the Getty Center for Education in the Arts from September 1987 to September 1989, Dobbs' responsibilities centered around promoting a comprehensive approach to instruction and learning in art, called "discipline based art-education." DBAE, primarily developed for grades K through 12, focused on four foundational disciplines in art - art making, art criticism, art history and aesthetics - to encourage not only the creation of art, but also the understanding and appreciation of artistic processes and the role of art in society. Dobbs resigned on August 1, 1989; Philip Dunn took over his responsibilities.
    Following his work at the Getty, Dobbs served as CEO of the Koret Foundation and the Marin Community Foundation. He later became the executive vice president of the Bernard Osher Foundation and also served as the executive director of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture. Dobbs is also known for his work with Jewish community organizations. He is a former president of the Brandeis-Hillel Day School, vice president of the Bureau of Jewish Education, and vice president of Congregation Emanu-El. He was the founding director of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco Board of the Leadership Institute. He served as president of Mount Zion Health Fund and on the board of the Jewish Community Federation. In the general community, Dobbs served as director of Guide Dogs for the Blind and Words on Dance.

    Administrative History

    The Getty Center for Education in the Arts, later known as the Getty Education Institute for the Arts (GEI), was one of the original programs established by the J. Paul Getty Trust, an international cultural and philanthropic organization serving both general audiences and specialized professionals. The Trust is a not-for-profit institution, educational in purpose and character, that focuses on the visual arts in all of their dimensions. As of 2009 the Trust supports and oversees four programs: the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Foundation, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Research Institute. The Trust founded the Getty Center for Education in the Arts in 1982 with the mission of improving the quality and status of arts education in the nation's public schools. The GEI's programs were guided by three premises: the visual arts should be an essential part of every child's education because knowledge of the arts is a principal means of understanding human experiences and transmitting cultural values; art education's content must be broadened to include instruction in art production, art history, art criticism, and aesthetics-an approach known as discipline-based art education (DBAE); and the most effective art education programs are based on partnerships among teachers, administrators, artists, museums, universities, and parents.
    During its first ten years, the Getty Center for Education in the Arts / GEI concentrated on the implementation and dissemination of DBAE. This was achieved by advocating for the value of arts in education, through the dissemination of print publications and videotapes, national conferences, and collaborative projects; professional development for school and university personnel, through inservice programs such as the Los Angeles Institute; theory development to encourage evolution of DBAE, through seminars, doctoral fellowships, and the commissioning of scholarly publications; curriculum development to support creation of model instructional materials; and special initiatives to encourage others to champion DBAE. In January 1986 responsibility for administering arts education grants was transferred from the Trust's Grant Program to the Center for Education in the Arts. The goal of the arts education grant program was to support the development of model DBAE programs across the country. In addition to improving the quality of arts education in primary and secondary schools, the GEI also concentrated on the education of museum visitors. Focus group research and other studies resulted in a number of publications aimed at the museum community.
    Lani Duke was the founding director of the Getty Center for Education in the Arts / GEI and continued to lead the program for 17 years. Duke resigned at the end of June, 1998 upon notice of the GEI's imminent dissolution. President Barry Muntiz named Ted Mitchell, former dean of the UCLA School of Education, as the Getty Trust's Vice President for Education and interim director of the GEI until the program's dissolution in 1999. When the Getty Education Institute for the Arts was dissolved one of its last projects was to record the legacy of its programs, most specifically the DBAE program, through interviews with leading arts educators of the time. The Center for Education in the Arts commissioned Dr. Stephen M. Dobbs in 1998 to conduct, record and transcribe these interviews.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    The records described in accession 2005.IA.14 are available for use by qualified researchers.
    The following types of records are permanently closed: records containing personal information, records that compromise security or operations, legal communications, legal work product, and records related to donors. The J. Paul Getty Trust reserves the right to restrict access to any records held by the Institutional Archives.

    Restrictions on Use

    Contact Rights and Reproductions   at the Getty Research Institute for copyright information and permission to publish.

    Preferred Citation

    [Cite the item and series (as appropriate)], Stephen M. Dobbs records, 1984 to 1989, Getty Center for Education in the Arts. Institutional Archives, Research Library, Getty Research Institute, Finding aid no. IA20027

    Acquisition Information

    2005.IA.14 was accessioned on October 25, 2005, the records are part of a defunct program and therefore fall under the custody of the Institutional Records and Archives Department. The records were recalled from Iron Mountain as a part of pilot testing the retention schedule roll-out in late October 2005.

    Processing History

    Physical processing and initial descriptions of 2005.IA.14 were performed by intern Daniel Feser. Archives Manager Nancy Enneking completed the project, October 2006.

    Related Materials Note

    The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the people, programs, and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.
    Dobbs, Stephen M. The DBAE Handbook: An Overview of Discipline Based Art Education. Santa Monica, Calif.: Getty Center for Education in the Arts. 1992.
    Related Archival Materials
    Art Education History Archives Project records, 1998-1999, Getty Education Institute for the Arts. Institutional Archives, Research Library, Getty Research Institute, Finding aid no. IA20034

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The records comprise outgoing letters with a few attached incoming letters, memoranda, proposals, notes, photocopies of checks, drafts, reports, resumes, agenda, printed materials, financial documents, iteneraries, and speeches dating from 1984 to 1989 (bulk 1987-1989), created and/or maintained by Stephen M. Dobbs, Senior Program Officer of the Getty Center for Education in the Arts (GCEA). Many of the outgoing letters were sent by Dobbs or his administrative assistant, Jerry Travers, to various professionals such as art specialists, art educators, curriculum supervisors, and classroom teachers on the subject of "discipline based art-education" (DBAE). Some letters include photocopies of checks for honoraria, presentations, and similar events. A substantial proportion of the internal letters and memoranda were sent to GCEA Director Lani Duke, as were Dobbs' monthly reports.
    Among the subjects of the correspondence are Dobbs' work on contracts for contractors who carried out GCEA programs, specifically finding university contractors for pre-service extensions; CSSO Sunbird campus projects (CSU Foundation); ERIC – Art Education Project (Indiana University); drafts of, and comments on, a policy paper on perceptions of discipline-based arts education and the Getty Center; advisory committees correspondence; budget planning; staff retreats; children's television; translations of DBAE materials into Chinese; general announcements about developments elsewhere in the Getty; work with a public relations firm to advertise DBAE; regional art education institutes; grants of art related special initaitives; and the traveling done and speeches Dobbs delivered to discuss art education theories. Finally, the material also provides some indication of the research that Dobbs conducted toward writing several books and articles on the subject of DBAE.


    These records are organized in two series:
    Series I. Chronological correspondence, 1987-1989;
    .Series II. Subject correspondence, 1984-1989

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Duke, Lani (Leilani Lattin)

    Subjects - Topics

    Art education in action
    Art museums--Educational aspects
    Art teachers--Training of
    Art--Study and teaching

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Agendas (administrative records)
    Drafts (documents)
    Financial records


    Dobbs, Stephen M.
    Getty Education Institute for the Arts
    J. Paul Getty Trust