by: Kahlen Duffany
West Michigan is a prime area for the growth and utilization of creativity in Fine and Performing Arts. It houses a number of schools for a variety of age groups ranging from pre-kindergarten up unto elder adults. It does not matter the level of skill that one acquires because the schools listed below have programs or classes tailored to meet any artist’s needs. These schools being located in Allendale, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Holland, and Kalamazoo. Each one of these schools are well-known for giving students a quality education while fostering individual and creative growth. It is noted in each one of these school’s mission statements that they aim to promote learning that will aid to the community around them, create leaders, or professional skills through the use of the arts and technology. Art is an ever-changing field that has many sub-sets. Whatever it is that sets one passion for creativity on fire they can find a program in one of the schools that resides in the heart of Western Michigan.
1- Aquinas College
Aquinas College is a small, private college located in Grand Rapids. They pride themselves on the values of faith, learning, service, and community. Their Art Department is known to be one that utilizes students’ freedom of expression due to their studios being open 24/7; this allows for students to come and go as they see fit. Not only do they have accessible art studios, but they have smaller classes to ensure that each individual is receiving one-on-one attention. To add to this, Aquinas has many programs and internships that students can participate in to deepen their skills.
2- Calvin College is a Christian college located in Grand Rapids. They are a college who pride themselves on their faith and diving into new challenges head on all while still shaping their beliefs. Their Art Department offers multiple programs in the arts regarding Studio Art, Art History, Art Education, Film and Media, and more related fields. They seek to use the arts as a way of connecting students to the world and their belief systems.
3 – Grand Rapids Community College
Grand Rapids Community College is located in Grand Rapids. They are a college who focuses on shaping students to meet the needs of the community they live in and the world. Their Art Department is one that believes in promoting critical thinking to lead their students to enrichment whether it’s within their personal life or their creative life. They offer courses in Fine Arts, Interior Decorating and Design, and Photography.
4 – Grand Valley State University
Grand Valley State University is located in Allendale, and is a university of the Liberal Arts. They are a moderately large university that offer 124 degrees; three of them being Art-Studio Art, Art Education,
and Art History. Their Art Department focuses on using issues such as Science, History, morality, and culture to enrich creativity in their students; they also place an emphasis on student’s individual interests to help each student flourish.
5 – Hope College
Hope College is a small, private college in Holland. They are known to be a school who devotes themselves to preparing their students for leadership roles whether it is within their field or their community. They offer programs in Art and Art History, Dance, Music, and Theater; often, they offer performances and series to their students in order to demonstrate their creative abilities. They are a school who has produced many renowned artists.
6 – Kalamazoo College
Kalamazoo College is one of the nation’s oldest colleges and is located within Kalamazoo. They place their focus on the importance of truly understanding and succeeding in the world surrounding their students. They have a Fine Arts program that offers degrees in Art and Art .History, Music, and Theatre Arts. All of their Art classes are open to all students because they do not have a pre-requisite needed to be met. On top of their open availability, they offer a wide variety of internships and events such as galleries and museums for students to gain exposure and provide learning experiences.
7 – Kellogg Community College
Kellogg Community College is a public college that is located in Battle Creek. They are a college that believes that any individual is capable of succeeding and learning if they have motivation to do so. They offer courses in Art, Journalism, Photography and Multimedia, Theatre, Music, Performing Arts, and other related fields. Their Art Department emphasizes that their program be student-centered in order to reach self-growth and skill growth within their students.
8 – Kendall College of Art and Design
Kendall College of Art and Design is located within downtown Grand Rapids. This college is one that allows students to go in depth with their passion within the arts due to its large quantity of programs offered. They offer programs in the fields of Sculpture and Functional Art, Photography, Printmaking, Painting, Metals and Jewelry Design, Graphic Design, and other related fields; they even offer programs in Medical Illustration and Industrial Design.
9 – Western Michigan University- Gwen Frostic School of Arts
Western Michigan University is a university that is located in Kalamazoo. They are a moderately large university who place emphasis on diversity, international affairs, and learner-centered academics. They offer four programs that include Art, Dance, Music, and Theatre. To add to this, they have over 1,000 performances and exhibitions each year in order for their students to be able to demonstrate their creative abilities; they also offer hands-on experience with Art professionals.
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