University Cooperative School

5601 University Way NE

Seattle, WA 98105

Claire Heineman

At University Cooperative School, ART is on the main menu.

Claire is our talented and much beloved art specialist. She cares deeply  about the importance of art and its role in creative expression.

“My last career (before teaching) was as an art therapist and family counselor with kids and families in transitional housing.

“Many of the families I worked with were refugees who needed help to cope with the everyday stresses of life. One of the things I did was to help their kids express themselves through art.

“Working with kids through art inspired me to become a teacher because I saw I could reach kids through art on a deeper level.”

Claire’s art studio is a haven for creativity. It’s a bright, cheerful world, alive with light and color, bursting with supplies and possibilities – with its own kiln in the basement. 

Claire works with kids from kindergarten through fifth grade, introducing age-appropriate materials, concepts and techniques to each class. Students take on 2 and 3 dimensional projects, exploring a variety of media and approaches to graphic expression, from free-form scrounge-art sculptures and splatter paintings to fantasy playground designs, color studies and formal self-portraits. 

Working with teachers, Claire integrates art into all-class and all-school curriculum. Student art shows up in plays and parades projects and presentations. Abundant and colorful, it sneaks out across the walls, and dangles from the ceiling in celebration of exuberant creativity. 

Claire also offers popular after-school art programs and summer camps for students and their families. 

Claire grew up in Boston. As a girl, she loved Richard Scarry books with all the illustrations of animals doing everyday things. She played Jacks every single day her entire third grade year and had a very eclectic way of dressing that might seem fashionable today – stripes with checks with flowers – you name it!

Claire shares a home in Seattle with daughter Maille, son Griffin, a weird little dachshund, Blue, and a very large, clumsy dog named Otis.

Her favorite color is bluish, greyish, greenish, turquoiseish, and her favorite animal is the Tree Kangaroo. They look like stuffies!