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ART BLOCKS art history classes, from cave drawings through contemporary art, are designed to enrich the lives of adult students through exploration, discovery and lively conversation.

ART BLOCKS is the culmination of a lifelong passion: creating, exploring, embracing, engaging and finally sharing a love of art.

ART BLOCKS goal is to engage and energize through the JOY of ART!

About You:    



ART BLOCKS students vary from emerging artists, retired professionals, collectors, world travelers, arm chair travelers, to curious life-learners without a trace of art history background. The common thread tends to be a lust for life and learning.

Thanks to ZOOM, we now claim students from Palm Desert, Martha's Vineyard, St Louis, Vancouver, Toronto, Houston, Traverse City, Los Angeles as well as many from our Kansas City area. 


About Us:

ART BLOCKS Instructor
Donna Houtteman


The Kansas City Art Institute sought out Donna Houtteman to develop an art history program to engage adult students to enter into the world of art. Donna’s twenty-three years’ experience as a docent at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art was a perfect fit for approaching art history from an everyman’s perspective. 

With contagious enthusiasm, Donna developed ART BLOCKS, and has taken her classes on the road to empower new audiences, including Junior Leagues, art galleries, retirement homes, churches, country clubs, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Powell Gardens, International Master Gardeners Convention and culminating recently with a tour in Italy.

Donna’s latest passion is to empower gardeners to tap into their inner artist and apply foundational art skills to their garden masterpieces.


Donna's background includes:


Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, New Docent 2023



The Kansas City Art Institute, Instructor & creator, Art Sofa, Conversational Art History, Pre-Collage Art Lab


The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Docent, 23 years’ experience

2020’s ART BLOCKS Special Presentations:

Museum Of Arts and Sciences,  Daytona Beach FL

2023 International Master Gardeners Convention

Powell Gardens- Artful Gardens, festivals enrichment

St. Anthony's Senior Living, Kansas City MO               

Claridge Court Retirement Community, Prairie Village KS                    

Cure of Ars Catholic Church – Christian Art                        

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Church – Christian Art            

Numerous Christian Art Tours @ The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

2010’s ART BLOCKS Special Presentations:

OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at Cal State San Bernardino        

Junior League of Kansas City, MO                        

Bishop Spencer House                                

Milburn Country Club                                    

Open Spaces 2018, (KCMO 9 weeks arts festival)                        

Eva Reynolds Fine Arts                                

Country Club Christian Church                                 

The Art Museum of Texas Tech, Lubbock, TX                        

The Warwick Society, KCAI                                

The Vanguard Club, KCMO

Just a Little Something, Toronto: children’s wear designer                    

Heart’s Design, Lenexa: children’s wear designer

The Canadian Craft Council, Toronto, Ontario, guest presenter 


1980’s - until my last daughter was married in 2017, 
Creative Options Design: Custom Bridal gowns and couturière


1979 Graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC, Fashion Design

1977-1981 My Coming of Age in Manhattan, New York, New York


Student at Shawnee Mission South and the University of Kansas        

Helping hand for 5 years at Ranchview Floral & Interiors, Leawood, KS    

1970’s Learned to sew (and did so every day for the next several decades)

1960’s Self-proclaimed artist and future fashion designer


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