Visual Arts

A balanced life explores all facets of a liberal arts education. In addition to our courses, we offer several ways to explore art and to exercise creativity outside the classroom.

Students must complete two semesters of arts electives as part of their graduation requirements, but some desire to continue their study. For those interested in pursuing an arts career, we have created course sequences to encourage an early and organized start. All pathways encourage an Independent Study in the fall semester of senior year so a student can spend time focusing on his particular passion and polishing off his portfolio for college. Here are some suggested pathways, but we will work with any student on his goals.

Architecture and Design
· 2D Design
· 3D Design
· Theater Production
· Independent Study

Visual Arts, Digital Media and Technology
· Photography
· Digital Design
· Theater sound and lighting design
· Film Production
· Independent Study

Studio Art
· 2D Design
· Sculpture
· AP Art History
· Independent Study

Where students gather to create, invent, and innovate
· The Lower School Maker Club – Get supervised access to tools and materials. Your wildest imagination is the only limitation.
· 3D Printing – Spend a quarter creating objects with our 3D printer.
· Film Club – Spend Monday afternoons working with the Film Club shooting videos and editing them in our video editing room.
· Build an Instrument – Turn pieces of wood into a ukulele or guitar. It’s fun and challenging. Let’s work it into your schedule.
· Theater Tech – Work after school to help build and design theater props, and theater or concert sets.

List of 9 items.

  • 2-D Design and Printmaking

    2-D Design (first semester, Grades 9-12)
    This introductory course in studio fundamentals includes intensive study in painting, drawing, 2-D design, and printmaking. The content is structured systematically, walking students through the basic elements and principles of design. They begin with drawing fundamentals and gradually progress through more sophisticated concepts, such as color theory, and more complex media.

    Printmaking (second semester, Grades 9-12)
    This course reviews fundamental drawing techniques as well as basic elements and principles of design. Students continue the drypoint intaglio printing begun in first semester, while incorporating introductory etching and engraving techniques. They work with relief printing through linoleum and wood blocks and learn various silk-screening processes. Each student is encouraged to experiment with printmaking media and to develop an appreciation for the history of printmaking.
  • 3-D Design and Sculpture

    Art 7 (one semester, Grade 7)
    During a semester-long project, students create a sculpture of the head of a man, animal, or monster. Beginning with sketching, they develop their concepts and then convert those ideas into 3-D cardboard armatures. Modeling with putty, they flesh out the sculpture and incorporate teeth, beaks, horns, claws, or ears by carving wood with a band saw and power sander.

    3-D Design (first semester, Grades 9-12)
    This course introduces students to the vocabulary of architecture and its role in their environment. Using paper, cardboard, tape, and hot glue, students complete a series of studies to understand the architectural terms of volume and contained space. As the class progresses, students sculpt a miniature house using the techniques of modeled, carved, and cast plaster.

    Sculpture (second semester, Grades 9-12)
    In this course students work in wood using the band saw, table saw, miter saw, disc and spindle sanders, lathe, and drill press to make more advanced sculptures based on their drawings and cardboard studies.
  • Art History

    (full year, Grades 11-12)
    This is a survey of humankind’s artistic expression through painting, sculpture, and architecture from the cave paintings of the Stone Age to the abstract compositions of our day. Students develop sophisticated ways to interpret the monuments of Western civilization, and, by mastering skills of analysis and description, they claim for their own this rich cultural legacy. This course prepares students for the Advanced Placement examination.
  • Artist-in-Residence

    We host a local professional artist for a week every fall for the Artist-in-Residence program. Students watch and paint or draw alongside the artist creating a work, learning about the techniques, motivations, and personality behind the art. The completed painting then becomes part of our permanent collection. Previous resident artists have been Birdcap (Michael Roy), Nancy Cheairs, Hamlett Dobbins, Pinkney Herbert, George Hunt, David Lynch, Jared Small, and Tad Lauritzen Wright.
  • Cinema Studies

    (Co-Edge, Tuesday evenings, first semester, Grade 12)
    The primary goal of this course will be to teach students how to understand and interpret film through cinematic techniques and narrative conventions. Specifically, students will examine the visual, aural, and narrative conventions motion pictures employ to participate in or comment upon significant social and cultural experiences. Through screenings, readings, discussion, and writing, we will explore the aesthetics, history, and theory of movingimage media, focusing on narrative fiction and nonfiction cinema. 
  • Digital Design

    (one semester, Grades 9-12)
    This course teaches effective design and communication through digital technology. Students acquire a working knowledge of the foundational design elements and principles while developing a variety of computer-based skills. The design concepts, in concert with the tools of the design software, allow for the creation of material that effectively communicates information. Technology instruction is focused on general principles of design and not dedicated to the specifics of particular software packages. The principles taught in the class have general relevance for students in a variety of fields and are not intended strictly for students pursuing a career in graphic arts.
  • Film Production

    (one semester, Grades 11-12)
    This course introduces the fundamentals of film production. Students will learn and use the basic techniques in each of the several departments in this highly collaborative medium. Students will follow the various steps of film-making, from pre-production planning to shooting to post-production editing.
  • Photography

    (one semester, Grades 9-12)
    This course begins with instruction in basic camera operation and darkroom procedures. Each student builds his own camera in order to gain a working knowledge of how cameras operate. The class then focuses on expanding technical knowledge and skill as well as artistic perception, as they complete digital assignments covering various topics and themes, including studio lighting.
  • Visual Arts Independent Study

    (first semester, Grade 12)
    This course is designed for students who have completed at least two semesters of visual arts and are preparing a portfolio for college. Depending on the student’s area of focus, this course will be led by an appropriate faculty member for one-on-one guidance and critique. This class should be taken only by students pursuing further arts study in college.