From Picasso to O'Keefe, students at KPS are exposed to art as soon as they enter our schools.  Kearney Public Schools hosts an annual art show at the Hilltop Mall and at the Museum of Nebraska Art at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels.  Many KPS students go on to post-education for the arts, ranging from art education to graphic design, to studio arts.  

"Every child is an artist."  ~Pablo Picasso
Art education begins at the elementary level where students are instructed in two and three-dimensional art once a week. In addition to learning about color and perspective, students learn about the Masters and try their hand at reproducing Starry Night by Van Gogh. Students draw self-portraits and learn the joy of creating their own art.

In our middle schools, students begin to explore and discover their talents and preferences for different art mediums.  

  • 6th Grade Art Exploratory - Elements & Principals of Design  
    “Creativity takes Courage” - Henry Matisse
    Exploratory Art will develop student’s creativity and critical thinking capabilities, improve student’s technical/motor abilities through art production, and develop an appreciation and understanding of art through the study of other cultures, artists, and eras.  Exploratory Art focuses on the Elements and Principles of Art, explores a variety of techniques and media, and a variety of ways to use art materials. Students demonstrate technical knowledge and creative use of the Elements of Art (line, shape, color, value, form, texture and space ) and Design Principles ( balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm, and unity). They create both 2-D and 3-D hands-on projects, using a variety of mediums. 

  • 7th Grade Art Exploratory- Elements & Principals of Design  
    “Creativity takes Courage” - Henry Matisse
    Exploratory Art focuses on developing art skills, vocabulary, creativity, and concepts of good design rules and expand their knowledge of the Elements and Principles of Art. Students demonstrate and expand their technical knowledge and creative use of the Elements of Art and Design Principles and create both 2-D and 3-D hands-on projects using a variety of mediums.
  •  8th Grade Elective Art Class
    “Life is art, live yours in color” ~Anonymous
    Draw & Paint
    Students build drawing and painting skills through exploration and practices with materials, tools, techniques, processes, and technology. Students design and maintain a term-long sketchbook with assignments designed to learn the application of techniques and develop a personal style.  Students learn the rules of good design/composition. Students draw in 1 & 2 point perspective and paint in watercolor and acrylic using a variety of techniques and tools: sponge, straw, toothbrush, splatter, rubber cement, wash, wet on wet and wet on dry.

    Pottery & Sculpture 
    In Pottery and Sculpture, students are introduced to the properties of ceramic clay. Students learn four building techniques: Mold, Coil, Hand-Build, and Slab. Students design and maintain a term-long sketchbook with assignments and clay final project requirements. Students learn additive and subtractive techniques, required for clay projects and practice the process of glazing.
“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” ~H
enry Ward Beecher

More technical skills are taught at the high school level in painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture, and many other mediums.
Art at Kearney High School encompasses ceramics, sculpture, graphic design, and printmaking.  Art classes focus on developing design use and knowledge, developing drawing and painting skills, developing an appreciation for art history, an understanding of aesthetics, and the productive use of art criticism in developing a successful composition.  Projects in art classes include a pen and ink rendering, an abstracted watercolor/mixed media contour composition, a non-objective tempera painting, a limited abstract Nebraska acrylic landscape, a realistic graphite self-portrait,  a realistic human figure charcoal rendering, an abstract pastel still-life,  an architectural watercolor painting completed in the style of the student’s choice, a mixed-media collage emphasizing individual design, and a value study scratchboard, a modern art composition, a comparison of subject versus style, and a Prismacolor fantasy self-portrait. Sketchbooks are assigned for note-taking, frequent sketching assignment options, and to develop skill and creativity, and creative play.
Art courses meet for one term (9 weeks) every day for one block.  Courses include Art 1, Art 2, Art 3, Art 4, Printmaking, Plein Air, MONA Junior Curator, Graphic Design 1, Graphic Design 2, Graphic Design 3, Bearcat Design, Ceramics 1, Ceramics 2, Ceramics 3, Sculpture 1, and Sculpture 2
poster designed by studentssports poster designed by students
There are three graphic design classes. Students participate in Bearcat Design Project, an in-house internship focusing on client projects in the community.  (Two posters designed by KHS graphic arts students)
The National Art Honor Society (NAHS) is an organization that any art enthusiast can join.  NAHS meets twice a month and provides an opportunity to expand experience in art and in creating art, community involvement in visual art (MONA, guest speakers, etc), and traveling to Omaha or Lincoln to tour museums, artist studios, design companies, as well as other experiences in art.  NAHS won the Hastings Mural competition 3 years in a row.
KHS student artists have received Scholastic Art Awards at the local level as well as one student who received a Scholastic Art National Gold Medal in 2019.  Each year our students participate in the Governor's Art Show.  Several KHS students have been selected for the 'Mediums For Change' competition, with one selected as '2020 Visionary'. 
Many art students go on to seek a career in art or go to college for art, specializing in art education, graphic design, studio arts, and other degrees.  


We believe art education is important because:
  • Art builds problem-solving skills.
  • Art encourages critical thinking. 
  • Art builds creativity..
  • Art builds courage because it provides a safe environment for risk-taking.
  • Art improves our mental health.
  • Art gives all kids a chance to experience success, even if they struggle academically.