designer education


Imagination is the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, fount of all invention, innovation, and the power to empathize.


The human urge to create has pushed our way of life from the trees to the moon, into a world beyond imagination. Art teaches creativity & the creative process.


As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. Art shall empower them all.


The Art Department of Traverse City Area Public Schools provides an art curriculum for all students in grades 1-12. The elementary curriculum is experienced in weekly forty-five minute lessons taught by a certified art instuctor, focusing on art production techniques connected with art appreciation and art history. Students explore ideas about themselves, their world, and other cultures through work in various art processes such as painting, collage, drawing, sculpture, and ceramics. References to art of the past and present teach how others have explored these ideas and media. Art history is a major component of the elementary art curriculum. The lessons are designed to allow the individual student to solve visual problems using her or his own unique vision.

At the middle school level, TCAPS offers a sixth grade elective, "Art Unleashed," in which students explore all foundation areas in 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional art. Seventh and eighth grade students may elect from a variety of media. Advanced level courses are available with instructor approval. High school classes are designed to offer a level of advancement into all students' concentrated fields of art study. Students have a multitude of courses to choose from including an Advanced Placement course in Studio Art for students who wish to participate in college-level courses and have the potential to earn college credit.


To achieve real change, we have to expand boundaries. Because what-could-be is unexplored and filled with opportunity.

Visual Arts Advocacy

The arts are essential. They teach students innumerable lessons—practice makes perfect, small differences can have large effects, collaboration leads to creativity. The arts also teach children that there a several paths to take when approaching problems and that all problems can have more than one solution.

Research has also shown impressive benefits of arts education on entire school culture—especially student motivation, attitudes, and attendance. Numerous reports discuss the ways that increased access and involvement in arts education encourage students to stay in school, succeed in school, succeed in life, and succeed in work.

And yet, despite the impressive benefits of arts education, not every student has access to these quality learning experiences, and opportunities have been reduced within our own district. Below are some talking points about both the importance of arts education, as well as the decline of arts education in our country.

Learn more to get started in supporting arts education in our community

  • Arts Education Navigator Series
    This series of e-books is designed to help educators, students, and advocates alike navigate the complex field of arts education. Each e-book in the Navigator series covers a specific topic, ensuring arts education supporters like you are equipped with the knowledge, statistics, and case-making techniques needed to effectively communicate with decision-makers.
  • Arts Education Field Guide
    This duo of a brochure and full report describes the ecosystem of partners, players, and policymakers in the field of arts education. It will help you to find the connections and partnerships that will strengthen arts education in your community.
  • Questions to Ask
    Need to know what questions to ask your education leaders to determine the quality of your school or district's arts program? Use our benchmarks to gauge how serious your school's commitment is to arts education.


To develop a deeper and more meaningful connection with students, we believe art must invite them to take part in the conversation.

Support Us!

Buy one of our student created magazines and all the profits go to supporting the visual arts department.

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From the purely practical to the richly philosophical, art is the solution to a host of challenges.


Art Unleashed
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Drawing & Painting
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Pottery & Sculpture
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Video & Animation
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Metals & Jewelry
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412 Webster St, 49686

(231) 933-1700

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