Countless studies point to arts education improving cognitive functions like memory, concentration, reasoning, retention, and overall student performance. Arts and Culture El Dorado partners with local schools to bring outside teaching artists into the classroom to introduce more hands-on art experiences. Engaging with local artists to enrich student experiences helps to connect and empower the communities we serve.

Playmaking at El Dorado High School


Teaching artists from See the Elephant Theater & Dance Company provided students with education and training in devised work, adaptation, and storytelling with an emphasis on research, ensemble development, and community engagement. Students in this class were able to create an original script, present it to the public, and then finally put it into production.

The emphasis throughout the process was on working collaboratively with their peers. In doing so, students were able to share ideas openly and identify topics and interests from their own experiences. Teaching artists created a container for creative development and provided guidance when needed, but always encouraged students to create with their own voices.

In May students will present their full play to the public, experiencing the transformation of “page to stage”. 

Visual Art at Jackson Elementary

Acrylic Painting hands

Arts and Culture El Dorado partnered with Jackson Elementary to employ artists to teach 18 classes for a total of 54 meetings with curious, excited, and engaged students from Kindergarten to 5th grade. Four teaching artists created lesson plans varying from plein air painting to mask adornment, from acrylics to printmaking.

Classes were created for each grade level, Kindergarten was treated to Mask Adornment, decorating blank masks with paint and applied items; First Grade learned Torn Paper Collage, making designs using oddly shaped pieces of colored materials; Second grade students engaged in Acrylic Painting, learning about composition development and basic color theory;  Third Grade learned about Nature Drawing and Collecting, learning to employ found objects both as subject and drawing implement; Fourth Grade students were treated to Acrylic Painting lessons, an overview of the practices, equipment, techniques and sources of inspiration of a working artist; and Fifth graders enjoyed learning about Printmaking and Embossing, creating a 3-D image that can be printed with printer’s ink.  

Local artists engaged were Oran Miller, Alison Tomei, Andrew Vonderschmitt, and David Yapp.