Visual Arts

2 students point a hairdryer at a cardboard art sculpture
A 3rd grade student adds blue paint to a screenprinting screen

Creating, Understanding, and Appreciating Art

Art is developed around the six formal components of design: color, line, form, shape, texture, and space. Students explore these concepts using many different kinds of materials and techniques through a variety of projects and experiences. Beyond acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to create and respond to visual art, students explore the artistic achievements of cultures, past and present. The art curriculum is often integrated with other school subjects such as science, social science, and language arts.


Lower School visual arts provides students with a well-rounded and cumulative understanding and knowledge of the elements and principles of design. Starting with our three and four-year-old students, we help students develop a basic understanding of color, shape, and line, and teach them how to appreciate art. As we go through the grades, the students begin to explore these concepts on a more challenging level. In addition to exploring key concepts and ideas, students will also use a range of media, which will give them a new perspective on working with their hands and creating their own art.


The visual arts curriculum in Middle School focuses on building a vocabulary of skills and understanding used in conjunction with design principles. Through the explorations of line, form, color, negative space, texture, shading, three-dimensional forms, and a variety of materials and techniques, middle school students will develop an array of skills. The visual arts curriculum also encompasses digital media where digital photography, film-making, the use of apps, and other emerging technology is explored.

In 5th grade Visual Art students focus on a variety of drawing techniques as students developed organizational skills through the artistic process and experiences that helped students bring attention to line, texture, form, and design as an inherent part of the world. Students begin the trimester studying everyday objects and learning 6 different drawing techniques to render an object from life on large format paper. The second half of the trimester students learn how to use Adobe Sketch to create drawings that show their understanding of color and line. Students also create a three-frame animation showing a progressive action or movement.

Who am I, really? This question kicks off 6th grader’s investigation into self-portraiture. Discussions and visual analysis of artists like Amy Sherald and Chuck Close provided context for students to imagine and create their own expressive self-portrait. Drawing using a perspective grid as well as facial feature mini-lessons allows students to create portraits with accurate proportion and dimension. Peer critiques push students to strive for their personal best while exposing each other to new techniques or ideas which provide additional inspiration for their final work.

Throughout the year in visual arts, 7th and 8th grade students have the opportunity to exercise more choice and specificity in their arts curriculum by choosing a different elective each trimester. Classes become more specialized in a particular visual art form. Past classes include fiber arts, drawing foundations, experimental drawing, digital photography, stop motion animation, graphic design, and sculpture. During the last trimester of the school year, an independent study course is offered for motivated students who want to pursue an independent project.




Gina Griffiths

Gina Griffiths

Lower School Art Teacher, Instructional Assistant
Colleen Barry

Colleen Barry

Middle School Art Teacher

A student adds paint to a cardboard sculpture
A kindergarten student sticks colored pipecleaners into a styrofoam tray