Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher


Visual arts, Performing arts, Creative arts, Family


The myriad impacts associated with participation in the visual, performing, and creative arts and the importance of developing strong families have been discussed separately in available research literature, but few studies have specifically examined the experiences of multigenerational families who participate in the arts. This study describes, interprets, and appraises the artistic involvement of six multigenerational families in the United States through an examination of interviews, observations, and artifacts in order to provide an increased understanding of their experiences and to elicit general themes and lessons which may be applied to other educational situations.

The overall question guiding this research study can be summarized as: What are the experiences of family members from multiple generations who participate in the visual, performing, and creative arts? Related questions answered in this dissertation include the following: (1) How did family members become involved in the visual, performing, and creative arts?; (2) In what additional ways have family members participated in the arts?; (3) What benefits have family members experienced through participation in the arts?; (4) What challenges have family members experienced through participation in the arts?; and (5) What recommendations do family members have for other families who are considering participating in the visual, performing, and creative arts?

This dissertation employs educational connoisseurship and criticism as a research method and utilizes a creative data display which presents the answers to the research questions as a series of “documentary films on paper,” providing a complementary addition to other innovative methods of data presentation.

A primary conclusion indicates that multigenerational family participation in the arts offers a promising avenue for family members to develop both as individuals and as a family unit, as evidenced by growth in 21st century skills (life and career skills, learning and innovation skills) and growth in commonly recognized characteristics of strong families. Multiple themes related to each of the research questions—how family members became involved in the arts, additional ways that family members have participated in the arts, benefits and challenges associated with participation in the arts, and recommendations for other families considering participating in the arts—are also discussed in detail.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. This work may only be accessed by members of the University of Denver community. The work is provided by permission of the author for individual research purposes only and may not be further copied or distributed. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Hilary L. Burg


Received from author

File Format




File Size

262 pgs


Education, Music