"The arts are fundamental resources through which the world is viewed, meaning is created and the mind developed"

Elliot Eisner

Eisner was born in Chicago on March 10, 1933. From an early age, he was set on pursuing a career as an artist. He graduated in 1954 from Roosevelt University in Chicago with a BA in art and education and the following year received an MS in art education from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He then spent two years as a high school art teacher and discovered that he was more interested in the students than the actual art they were making. Returning to graduate school in the late 1950s, he received a master's degree and doctorate in education from the University of Chicago. Eisner served as an assistant professor there before joining the Stanford faculty in 1965.Along with his lectures, writings and teaching, his involvement in such curriculum initiatives as the Kettering Project at Stanford in the late 1960s and the Getty Center for Education in the Arts in the 1980s brought him wide recognition, helping him become an influential voice for teachers, scholars and other educators. He wrote  books and  papers addressing curriculum, aesthetic intelligence, teaching, learning and qualitative measurement. Eisner's ideas reached beyond academia into the classroom: The National Art Education Association, of which he served as president, turned his list – "10 Lessons the Arts Teach" – into a poster, which can still be found today hanging on school walls nationwide.

Eisner proposed that the forms of thinking needed to create artistic work were relevant to all aspects of education. Incorporating methods from the arts into teaching of all subjects would cultivate a richer educational experience.His work with the Getty Center advanced the  Discipline-Based Art Education (DBAE) movement. The curriculum structure advocated in DBAE stresses four aspects of the arts: making it, appreciating it, understanding it and making judgments about it.  For his achievements, Eisner, served as  InSEA  President during  1988-1991 ,  was honored with the Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award from the American Educational Research Association, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, the Jose Vasconcelos Award from the World Cultural Council, the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education from the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, the Brock International Prize in Education, the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Education and five honorary degrees. He served as president of the International Society for Education Through Art, the American Educational Research Association and the John Dewey Society. He was a member of the Royal Society of Arts in the United Kingdom, the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters and, in the United States, the National Academy of Education.