Visual Arts

Foundations of Art is a prerequisite for all other visual art classes, as it provides basic understanding of both two- and three-dimensional design principles while exposing students to a wide variety of mediums and processes. In addition, students learn visual arts vocabulary, which is used throughout all of the upper-level visual arts electives. After completing Foundations of Art, students can go on to choose from more specific studio disciplines, which include drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, applied design, and book arts. Digital imaging is woven into several of these disciplines.

Foundations of Art

This course explores the basic principles of the visual arts through introductory experiences in design, drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Foundations of Art is a beginning course that will help students of all abilities develop their creative and perceptual skills. The concepts and vocabulary learned in this course serve as a common body of knowledge for all other visual arts electives.

Visual Arts Electives

Drawing and Painting

This course explores working on a two-dimensional surface in black and white as well as in color. While the emphasis is on observational drawing and the principles of composition, students also do work that is both imaginative and experimental. Students use a variety of drawing and painting media, including pencil, charcoal, pastel, and acrylic paint. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art.


Using clay, students create artworks that may be functional, decorative, or sculptural. An emphasis is placed on developing hand- building and modeling techniques while learning about a variety of surface treatments and glazing possibilities. Students are also asked to apply artistic elements and principles of design to create works that convey a message or function. Finished works will be glazed and then fired to cone 05. Students also examine works by ceramic artists and engage in spoken and written analysis. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art.


In this course students create three-dimensional artworks in a variety of media that may include plaster, cardboard, wire, found objects, and wood. In addition to studying general elements of art and principles of design, students work on understanding specific sculpture principles such as mass, volume, space, light, time, and location. Students also explore the work of historical and contemporary sculptors and engage in spoken and written analysis. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art.

Real World Design

In this class students explore the principles of design as they apply to contemporary, real-world applications. Using graphic, architectural, and industrial (product/furniture) design, students work in both two and three dimensions. Assignments include manual and digital work while referencing modern art and design history. Focusing primarily on matters of form and function, the class also examines the use of design as a communication tool in contemporary society. Note: This class is open to juniors and seniors only. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art.

Painting and Printmaking

This course focuses on different approaches and processes of painting and printmaking. Building on experiences gained in Drawing and Painting, students combine observational skills and personal interpretation. Handling the physical properties of paint and the graphic potential of different printmaking methods is stressed. Students also study the interaction of color and color mixing with both paint and ink. Prerequisites: Foundations of Art and Drawing and Painting.

Printmaking and the Photographic Image

This course combines traditional printmaking techniques and alternative photographic processes. Printmaking and photography overlap; both lend themselves to making images in multiples and allow students to make variations and work in a serial format. Some assignments may be strictly photographic while others may combine the two disciplines. Printmaking processes may include relief (working on a raised surface), intaglio (incised, etched printing), monotype (printing on a flat plate to make unique prints), and stencil (block-out printing). Photographic processes may include cyanotype, a variety of toner and other transfer techniques, and possibly photo silkscreen. Many processes include preparatory work using the photocopier and computer for digital imaging. Note: This class is open to juniors and seniors only. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art.

Wheel-Thrown Ceramics

In this course students focus on foundational skills at the pottery wheel, beginning with centering. Students produce several pieces made on the wheel, including cups, bowls, lidded containers and plates. A range of surface treatments are explored and may include slip design, printed patterns, pouring, brushing, and spraying glazes. Students should expect to work in the studio outside of class to practice and keep pace with the curriculum. Note: Preference is given to juniors and seniors. Prerequisite: Foundations of Art.

Advanced Studio

Advanced Studio gives the advanced art student an opportunity to work on skill development and formal thinking, as well as to develop creative solutions to aesthetic and conceptual challenges. While the course emphasizes visual image making, it is not necessarily limited to two-dimensional work. A variety of techniques and materials – both traditional and experimental, in both color and black and white – are used. Subject matter may vary greatly from the observed to the constructed to the imagined. Most importantly, the class focuses on different ways to think about the how and why of making art. Prerequisites: Foundations of Art, Drawing and Painting, and one other studio art course.

Word and Image

This is an advanced interdisciplinary course for juniors and seniors who are interested in exploring the interrelated worlds of the visual and written arts. Students combine their own words and art to make one-of-a-kind or small-edition books. Writing focuses on the imagery and form of poetry, the narrative qualities of personal essay, and the development of character through short story. Authors studied may include Annie Dillard, Sandra Cisneros, and a wide variety of poets. Writing includes extensive drafting and revision work. Students are also introduced to the work of several artists who combine word and image, while learning a variety of bookbinding structures. Students may use techniques such as drawing, painting, digital imaging, photography, collage, and printmaking. Students are asked to bring self-motivation, creativity, and enthusiasm for problem-solving to this class. This is the equivalent of two courses and meets as frequently. Prerequisites: Foundations of Art and a second studio art course. Completion of Essay Writing or Writers Workshop is encouraged.

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