All Lower School students, under the creative instruction of artist Kathryn Czarnecki, experience art in a joyful, magical, and creative manner, guided by the National Standards for the Fine Arts. Students explore a variety of materials and techniques, including drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking, puppetry, and dramatic play. As part of the Specialty Program, the visual art curriculum incorporates interdisciplinary and multicultural projects, art appreciation, and art history. Students enjoy field trips to museums and galleries, art exhibits of their own works, discussions, and nature field studies.
Middle School and Upper School students enjoy a wide range of class offerings in the visual arts, designed to introduce design and media concepts to students with little art exposure and also to fulfill the intellectual and creative needs of students who may pursue visual art and design in college or as a profession.
Middle School exploratory classes invite students to participate in and enjoy a wide range of visual art experiences. The curriculum, taught by full-time professional contemporary artist and teacher Rob Mellor, provides opportunities for exploration, experimentation, skill development, and expression through a variety of art media and processes. In addition to making art, experiences are provided to promote the understanding and valuing of art.
Many Upper School students will take Studio Art I and Studio Art II during their course of study at the Upper School. These introductory and intermediate, hands-on classes explore drawing, painting, printmaking, assemblage, sculpture, computer design, and color theory through a variety of projects. Each class strives to create a challenging and positive environment that places concepts, materials, tools, and understanding in the hands of the student. Students actively explore both two-dimensional design and three-dimensional construction including group projects such as installations. Art historical perspectives are continually reinforced as are issues presented through contemporary art.
Advanced Studio Topics, a class taken in the junior or senior year provides a challenging year-long academic study of the visual arts. Students enrolled are introduced to a wide variety of art making media in a structured environment. They are challenged to find individual solutions to projects that meet the criteria of well rendered, well conceived, thoughtful artistic study and practice. The resulting student works demonstrate a year of technical and conceptual achievement, and in some cases provides the individual artist a foundation on which to pursue more self-guided discovery in AP Studio Art Grade 12.
AP Studio Art is a class offered to art students in grade twelve who are thinking seriously about careers in visual art and the pursuit of visual art at the university level. Students enrolled are introduced to a wide variety of art making media and they are challenged to find individual solutions to projects that require a growing level of creativity, and confidence. The goals of the second year of AP Studio Art are twofold: to prepare motivated students for the Advanced Placement Studio Art exam and submission of a comprehensive portfolio of work in May, and to provide the serious student of art a rich and rewarding experience that provides a better understanding of the demands made by strenuous studio practice and consistent production of work. Advanced Topics provides a challenging yearlong academic study in which students explore Intent versus Chance to improve aesthetic understanding, critical vision, and the ability to read visual media.
Also at both the Middle School and Upper School levels, students may choose to expose themselves and excel in the wheel and hand building techniques of ceramics, classes in which they also learn about cultures from around the world, different clay artists, new ceramic terms, properties of clay and glaze, the firing process, and equipment used in the studio.
The digital world is a native land to our students and they are exposed to various design and presentation software from their earliest elementary years. However, in the Middle School and Upper School, students have the opportunity to explore their interest in graphic design and photography through a variety of electives and exploratory options through beginning and advanced level classes. These students and many of their peers learn to use photography, digital illustration, and design in a hands-on manner by conceptualizing, designing, and producing both divisions’ literary magazines and yearbooks.