The University of Illinois Saturday Art School Program
-Established 1964-


The School of Art and Design’s Saturday Art School and Summer Art Enrichment programs work on many levels to meet the goals of the Art Education Division. We are a community outreach program, enrolling a unique mixture of children and young adults from throughout East Central Illinois. As a teacher preparation center, we support the work of college level teachers in training from undergraduate preservice teachers to PhD candidates. We are also a research lab for curriculum development, artistic development, and innovations in instructional methods and design.


Conceived in 1964 as a site where art educators in training could gain vital experience, the Saturday Art School and Summer Art Enrichment programs provide an environment where research on early artistic learning and innovative curriculum design flourishes.  The progras are valuable to both the university and the local community in that both teachers and students benefit from our unique combination of experience, research, and innovation. We hope to reach students from a variety of cultures in order to provide a richly diverse environment in which to experience art in contemporary life. The Saturday Art School program meets for nine Saturdays each fall and spring semesters. The Summer Art Enrichment program is similarly structured, but meets on weekdays during the summer, for approximately two weeks for each class. Students are assigned to classes based on their grade level, from PreK through eighth grade.


In conjunction with the Krannert Art Museum, the Saturday Art School Program hosts an Open House/Kids@Krannert, which brings over 1000 visitors to Krannert Art Museum and the Link Gallery each semester to inspect student work completed during the Saturday Art School Program. Music, theatre, storytelling, demonstrations, and hands-on activities provided by KAM complement the students’ exhibit as well as current exhibits in the museum.


Advanced masters and doctoral students serving as mentors for younger teachers in training have produced numerous publications that have grown out of research at the Saturday Art School Program. Through a recently awarded PITA grant, we are creating an interactive website, training our education majors involved in the Saturday Art School Program to work with digital video filming and editing, and promoting reflective practice using the teachers’ videos.

Challenges in Development

The Saturday Art School Program is a complex enterprise, involving students at all levels, from our preschool through young adult pupils to our college level teachers in training and on up to graduate level mentors. We seek to keep curricula relevant to the lived experiences of our students at all levels and have recently expanded our programs to engage with electronic media, visual culture studies, and experimental approaches to art education.

For More Information

The Director of Saturday Art School is Tyler Denmead, School of Art & Design. You may contact

School of Art + Design
408 East Peabody, MC-590
Champaign, IL 61820
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
faa logo