The Lower School visual arts program is designed to help students develop capabilities for creating, understanding, and appreciating symbols and images – in short, visual literacy. Students participate in a wide range of activities to encourage and expand creative expression, to broaden their understanding of the arts in a historical and cultural context, and to begin developing a personal sense of aesthetics.

Students explore a variety of arts materials through both teacher-directed activities and individual experimentation. Sequential instruction in drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and printmaking forms the core of materials-based learning. Students are encouraged to value the art-making process.Sincere effort and a spirit of exploration are valued more than specific product outcomes.

Children become familiar with world cultures, individual artists, and stylistic movements in concert with their own exploration of art materials and techniques. This helps demonstrate art’s vital connection with a myriad of other aspects of society. Cultural and historical content is selected to represent a wide range of aesthetic belief and practice and to provide thematic connection with other academic areas, as well as in response to student interest.

Students are encouraged to observe and respond to all aspects of the visual world, sharing thoughts, forming opinions, and participating in discussions. They make significant personal and aesthetic decisions regarding their artwork and then reflect on and evaluate the results of these choices. In other words, in moving from personal experience to an examination of widely held principles and practices, students begin to develop an individual sense of style and aesthetics.