Showcasing the Arts


Sept. 2011 Featured Artist: Patricia Ritter

Patricia Ritter After moving to Kentucky in 1979, I took up paintbrush and camera and worked at becoming an artist. Dance had been my art form previously, and although I had always enjoyed drawing, my only real instruction in the visual arts was taking evening sculpture classes at The Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. So when a friend in Kentucky gave me a set of watercolors, I decided to do a painting and entered it in a local art and craft fair. It won first prize — and sold — and, greatly encouraged by this, I continued to paint, enter exhibitions and show in galleries.

Over the years since then, I have created hundreds of paintings in watercolors and pastels, won numerous awards and have had my work exhibited at The Speed Museum, Headley-Whitney Museum and in many collections around the state. But along the way I also discovered I enjoyed teaching the visual arts. I volunteered a few times to work with a local teacher and came into her classroom to show the students my work, and we created pastel paintings. It was fun to convey my knowledge and my love of art to students and share a positive learning experience with them.

As a founding member of our local arts council, I began to access the Kentucky Arts Council for funding opportunities to bring the arts to our rural community. In 1996 I discovered the Arts Education Roster. I applied to be part of the program and began seeking residencies in schools through grants. Since then I have completed many short and long residencies, K through 12, across Kentucky, including in alternative schools, juvenile justice centers and classrooms with special needs students.

Innovative projects have included creating murals, puppets, expressive self-portraits, small sculptures, drawings, paintings, masks and more. Most projects begin with looking at different artists and their work, cultures from around the world, or historical periods to inspire students to have their own ideas and choose to express themselves using different processes and materials. These hands-on art activities address different learning styles and help all the students achieve their creative potential. It is very exciting to help students use the arts to develop critical thinking skills, make creative choices and express themselves.

Sometimes those seem like big goals, but I find students are ready, willing and able to jump in and try new things — to play with color and paint and ideas and, in the process, learn about themselves and the world around them through creating meaningful art.

Patricia Ritter
Kettle, Ky.



Page last updated: June 8, 2016
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