Welcome to Art at Prairie Ridge - see what we are doing in Art!


Hello, my name is Doug Duncan and I am the art teacher at Prairie Ridge. I have been an elementary art teacher for 18 years. I hold a B.A. in Art from Adrian College and a M.A. in Elementary Education from Aquinas College. Additionally, I have earned National Board Certification in the field of Art. In my class, students will learn about the basic elements of art, the history of art, and the cultural aspects of art, while using many different kinds of art media. We use pencils, crayons, oil pastels, watercolor and tempera paint, yarn, clay, paper mache, markers, chalk pastels, and assorted materials for collage during the process of making art. Why is art important? Art helps students... Learn how to attend to subtle relationships. Make judgments in the absence of a rule. Learn how to exploit the possibilities of new and unexpected or unanticipated opportunities. The art making process also allows students to understand that there is more than one answer to a question and more than one solution to a problem.



The 11th annual Empty Bowl Event is happening again this year. Families and the general community are invited! For $5 per family you are each invited to a light meal, live music from a Prairie Ridge family, and you will get 1 coupon to exchange for a bowl to take home. All 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders will have made a bowl for this event. In addition, all Prairie Ridge staff will have made bowls along with local artists and students from KVCC. These adult made bowls will be auctioned off during a silent auction that will end at 7:00 pm the night of the event. All proceeds will be donated to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes. Last year we raised $1,750!


Meet The New Student Teacher: Tanner Bosma


Hello!  I am so excited to help teach your children in the art classroom this semester alongside Doug Duncan!  I am from Holland Michigan and will graduate in December of 2019 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Art Education with hopes of moving back towards my hometown to find a position teaching art.  My favorite mediums to work with are painting, charcoal, and ceramics.  Growing up with three younger brothers I discovered my passion for teaching and working with children.  Teaching art combines my two passions and I look forward to an exciting semester!  Below are some images of art that I have created in my three favorite mediums.


Ten Lessons the Arts Teach
By Elliot Eisner

The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.
Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution
and that questions can have more than one answer.

The arts celebrate multiple perspectives.
One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.

The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving
purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.

The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor number exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.

The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.
The arts traffic in subtleties.

The arts teach students to think through and within a material.
All art forms employ some means through which images become real.

The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said.
When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.

The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source
and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.

The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young
what adults believe is important.

SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications. NAEA grants reprint permission for this excerpt from Ten Lessons with proper acknowledgment of its source and NAEA.

Can the arts boost critical-thinking skills in the classroom?
Schools nationwide are suffering from what one study referred to as a "creativity crisis," while support is growing for a greater emphasis on critical thinking in the classroom. Lori Meadows, executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council, said the best way to increase original thinking is through arts education, which goes beyond creating works of art for art's sake. "It's about developing skills for careers and lifelong learning," she said. District Administration magazine online (11/20/13)

Arts programs help students improve in all areas, group says

Arts programming was a factor leading to improved standardized test scores at three schools in Chicago over three years, according to a report released today by the educational arts non-profit Changing Worlds and Loyola University.

The study is just the latest calling for more arts education in Chicago Public Schools. With the district moving to a longer school day next year, the Chicago Teachers Union and parent groups like Raise Your Hand have called for more time devoted to enrichment classes like music and art and less time devoted to test preparation.


Arts Education improves student achievement

-  "Research shows that a program of arts education taught by qualified teachers improves school achievement and develops skills in creative problem-solving and group dynamics that students will need for success in the 21st century.” - Richard A. Disharoon, Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance

Baltimore Sun 1/22/08

"My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status."

Sir Ken Robinson

(Read more quotes concerning creativity on the Art Quotes page.)