Information about Copper Canyon's

Art Program

with Mr. Michael Delahunt


At least half of every student's time in art class is spent on art production, using a variety of materials, including many drawing and painting media, modeling and ceramic clays, plaster, wire, papier-mâché, fibers, plastics, and more. The most popular medium here is ceramics, and all students work at handbuilding sculptures and pottery which we fire in our kiln. 6th graders, additionally, take turns at using our potter's wheel throughout the year.


At each grade level:


  • Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd creativity with color, pattern, large tools, ceramic sculpture and pinch pots.

  • 3rd landscapes, an illusion of depth, self-portraits, ceramic sculpture and pottery.

  • 4th Arizona's art heritage, realism and abstraction, game theory & maze design, drawing from a model, and ceramic sculpture and pottery.

  • 5th surrealism, achieving a likeness, especially of the human head, using an ever wider variety of media, including plaster and papier-mâché for making masks; America's art heritage, and ceramic sculpture and pottery.

  • 6th architectural design and history, slab-constructed pottery, and the world's art history, and first work on a potter's wheel.

    Soon you will be able to click on each grade level to see more about the program at that level.


    Mr. Delahunt's students also study visual culture this includes what we have conventionally called art, but much more. Visual culture includes everything in our visual world, imagery in all kinds of media, in electronic games, in sports, cosmetics (and other fashion-related settings), comic books, and politics. It involves the imagery associated with holidays and terrorism. Certain works that a Eurocentric audience might call art are not called art by the cultures that produced them can be included in discussions of visual culture, but might not be in discussions of art. Examples of such work might include kachina dolls, bonsai, and boomerangs.

    Students in several grades may go on a field trip this year to the Phoenix Art Museum.

    Students have various opportunities to exhibit their work at Copper Canyon, and also away from school, including the annual district student art show at Paradise Valley Community College in the spring.

    I frankly don't put much store in the notion of talent. I'm convinced that every student simply needs the best opportunities I can devise for him and her to excel. So my goal is to design my lessons in such a way that all, or nearly all students succeed at art challenges which are satisfying and meaningful to each. I assess each student's work on the degree to which each achieves the objectives of their assignments. Please contact me if you have any special interests in or concerns about the art program. And if you'd like to know about ways for students to employ their art enthusiasms beyond their Copper Canyon experiences, look at a list of other art classes for kids in our area.

    The Arizona Dept. of Education has said that our Paradise Valley Unified School District's visual art curriculum is among the best in the state a program involving art production, its history (context) and criticism, and aesthetics. In more than half of the schools in the U.S. (and in this state) art is left to the classroom teacher to jam in along with the myriad of other subjects she must fit into her schedule.

    ArtLex Art Dictionary

    ArtLex has thousands of articles about art terms used in art production, art criticism, art history, aesthetics, and art education. I've produced ArtLex as a learning resource for my students and others studying art. Some of the hyperlinks found on the pages about my elementary art program will take you to ArtLex articles about terms on these pages.


    I have taught art at three elementary schools and one secondary school in the Paradise Valley Unified School district (northeastern Phoenix and north Scottsdale) from 1986-2005. I began publishing information about my classes on the Web in 1995. I began teaching at Copper Canyon Elementary School in the fall of 2002, and will be posting more information for and about these classes as time permits. I received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1986, and am currently a graduate student at Arizona State University, pursuing a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in art education.

    Please send your comments.

    Copyright © current year , M.F.A.

    This page ( URL ) was last modified on December 28, 2008