Launched in 1964 by the University of Illinois’ School of Art and Design, the Saturday Art School (SAS) is an art teacher development program housed in the studio classrooms of a “Research I” public university’s school of art and design, a building adjacent to a national leader among university art museums. Today, college level teachers, children, and young people benefit from SAS’s unique position. Through thematic-based art inquiry inspired by exhibitions at the Krannert Art Museum, SAS’s college level teachers engage with and contribute to contemporary art and art education research while developing enriching art encounters for children and young people from Champaign County.
The Saturday Art School program meets for nine Saturdays each fall and/or spring semesters. Undergraduate student teachers are partnered with graduate level teaching assistants and this pair is partnered with one of five K-12 age groups. Through the guidance and the support of faculty and their teaching assistants, undergraduate and graduate student teachers explore a diverse range of approaches to planning and implementing the latest innovations in arts education teacher development, curriculum development, pedagogy, use of technology, student assessment, and teacher evaluation.
SAS culminates in a public exhibition each semester, presenting its discoveries of SAS’s selected theme. The exhibit is structured more as a “process-folio” than a traditional, unit-based exhibition of student artwork: student artwork is contextualized within its process of students’ participation in the classroom.