Advocacy & Policy

NAEA Position Statement on Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and AI-generated Imagery in Visual Arts Education

[Adopted April 2024]

NAEA believes that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and AI-generated imagery offer both opportunities and challenges to the field of visual art education. Visual arts, design, and media arts educators must remain alert to the technological developments relating to AI, highlighting its potential as a valuable resource while acknowledging the challenges it may pose. AI-driven tools and machine-generated images should not overshadow traditional art forms, individual expression, and human-created art.

Since the use of AI has directly challenged the roles of artists and designers in society, a quality art media arts, and design education program should highlight the technical skill and use of formal qualities for producing conceptually rich content that trained artists and designers provide. AI should be used responsibly and ethically to generate imagery derived from public domain or creative commons licensing, rather than copyrighted works. Educators and students must understand that image generation without proper attribution is a breach of academic integrity akin to plagiarism. The emphasis should be on fostering creativity and innovation while respecting the intellectual property rights of creators and artists. This balanced approach ensures that the use of AI in image generation is both legally compliant and morally respectful of the rights and efforts of original content creators. By approaching AI-generated images with caution and thoughtful guidance, art educators can harness its benefits while preserving the unique aspects of human creativity.

AI can be a useful resource for visual arts educators and their students, augmenting their teaching methods and encouraging student experimentation, including, but not limited to the following::

  • AI software can assist students in generating initial concepts, ideation, enhancing digital design skills, and experimenting with different artistic elements.
  • AI can offer students a platform to explore their creativity, fostering innovation and critical thinking skills.
  • AI can support teachers in lesson and material development, and support differentiating curriculum through providing translations, closed captioning, and other resources.
  • AI can be a powerful tool to assist.all students of varying abilities.

AI poses potential challenges for visual arts educators and their students, including, but not limited to the following::

  • AI raises significant concerns about the authenticity of artistic expression and the ideation process.
  • AI algorithms, while capable of producing visually appealing artworks, can lack the human emotional and conceptual depth that is often found in traditional art forms.
  • Over-reliance on AI-generated images may lead to a diluted understanding of the creative process, stifling students’ ability to develop their artistic voices and practice the skill of ideation.
  • AI-generated imagery often prioritizes efficiency and speed, potentially overshadowing the importance of hands-on artistic practices and technical skills.
  • Efforts should be made to support informed interactions with AI. Ongoing digital literacy skill development is needed to comprehend what is taking place within these algorithms and datasets.
  • The quality of the data used and functioning of algorithms have been shown to perpetuate racism, sexism, and ableism through AI generations, frequently harming already vulnerable and marginalized communities. As such, AI generated content for ideation and art generation must be critically reviewed to ensure harmful content and biases are not perpetuated.

Art educators must recognize and embrace our role in addressing evolving issues of AI within educational settings. By integrating AI-generated imagery into the curriculum thoughtfully, responsibly, and ethically, educators can expand students’ artistic horizons, foster creativity, and encourage exploration. If AI tools and algorithms are used, it is crucial to balance their use with traditional art methodologies to ensure students develop a well-rounded skill set and a deeper appreciation for art as a form of human expression.


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