College for Kids: Arts Hall of Fame

Did you know Grant Wood AEA’s College for Kids program has been around for three decades? That’s right! Since 1987, College for Kids has been a popular summer alternative for gifted middle schoolers in the area. Known for its wide range of fascinating courses, College for Kids has filled students’ summers with life-long learning and memories that wouldn’t typically be offered in middle school general education.

Of course, behind every College for Kids course is a talented instructor with extensive knowledge and experience in a unique subject. For example, many of the fine arts courses in College for Kids’ Art Program are led by many artistic professionals. Some of these instructors have even taught at the program for over 20 years! Check out some of these amazing instructors at College for Kids who have shared their artistry and expertise with students for many years:


Kim OMeara

Kim OMeara is an art educator with an interest in fine arts. She has experience with painting, drawing, sculpting, and even jewelry making. For about 15 years, Kim has enjoyed sharing her artistry with talented art students at College for Kids. “College for kids is a great extension for me to enjoy art,” she says. “My Students really inspire me as well, they’re a great dose of energy.”

Kim currently teaches Watercolor Painting, and has also taught Pastel Chalk and Charcoal in previous years. Kim was also an art educator for the Cedar Rapids Public Schools for 36 years, until she retired five years ago. She now teaches art part-time in California to 2nd and 3rd graders, and returns every summer to Iowa to continue instructing with College for Kids. Such dedication!


Jeanne Dudley


Basket weaving professional Jeanne Dudley has been an instructor at College for Kids for 20 years, since 1997. She says “College for Kids is a wonderful program for students to learn new skills in the summer from experienced and passionate teachers.” Consider Jeanne’s Basket Case course as an example; She teaches students the essential techniques to basket weaving so that they too can become skilled basket weavers. Some students have enjoyed creating large beautiful baskets with Jeanne so much, they even have taken Basket Case three years in a row. Their homes must definitely be filled with extraordinary basket pieces!


Richard Butschi 


Richard Butschi has been an instructor of Arts for 23 years at College for Kids. Throughout his years in art education, Richard has taught a variety of courses that focused on charcoal drawings, watercolor painting, photography, cartooning, finger drawing, and self-portraits. One of his first courses was Charcoal, Chalk, and O’Keeffe – based on the american artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

His current course, The Portrait in Pencil, emphasizes the importance of “seeing” before actually drawing. “It’s called Portrait in Pencil but it teaches students how to see,” he says. “It’s like a singer – you have to hear yourself in order to become a good singer.” Richard believes this is an important step to self-portraits because it helps students become better observers before they draw the world around them.

One of Richard’s previous students actually won first place in the Chalk The Walk festival at Mount Vernon for her recreation of the Afghan Girl portrait. “She was up against adults, professionals, semi-professionals… and she won,” he says. “She says she owes it all to me, but it actually comes from the individual. I just lit the fire.” Richard says his student has since then returned to the program as an aid and occasionally speaks to his students about her experience with College for Kids.


Jim Jacobmeyer

Meet Jim Jacobmeyer, College for Kid’s instructor of Altered Books and Claymation. Jim has been teaching with the program since it began 30 years ago!  He has taught a variety of arts courses throughout his years with College for Kids and enjoys challenging students academically and creatively. After receiving a degree in Art Education with a focus on filmmaking, Jim became interested in the animation process. Through his Claymation course, Jim shares his expertise in animation by integrating 3 dimensional objects with film.


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