Students in all divisions have many opportunities for aesthetic expression and appreciation of art and music. Young children use a variety of art media including watercolor pens, paint, and clay, and they work with line, color, form, texture, space, and composition. By the time they reach Upper School, students are producing sophisticated work in painting, printmaking, photography, and other media.


The Lower School art program operates on the premise that children have an abundance of creative ideas and love to learn about and manipulate a vast array of media and materials. The program endeavors to bring these two elements together in a way that results in a rich mixture of experimentation, learning, and self-expression. Topics in art are integrated into the curriculum at each grade level.

First and Second Graders build on a platform of skill and knowledge and become involved with specific techniques. Emphasis is placed on understanding simple elements of design (line, form, color, texture, symmetry, etc.) Experimentation and expression are emphasized, and creative problem solving is encouraged.

The Third and Fourth Grades are years of experimentation with a wide variety of media. They start by drawing faces, including self-portraits, and then follow that theme in other media such as clay, water colors, and pastels. In Fourth Grade they create family crests, developing their own symbols. Creative problem solving is encouraged, and famous artists are referred to and examples of their work are shown.

Fifth Graders explore some fascinating techniques and art history, and they focus on famous artists, from Leonardo da Vinci to Picasso. Students study the artists’ lives and the artwork they have created. Then they make artwork “in the style of” these famous artists.


Middle School art classes consists of the elements of art (line, shape, texture, color, value), principles of design (balance, rhythm, harmony, dominance), the nature and artistic potential of various art media (paint, pencil, clay, etc.), a brief introduction to art history, and some experience evaluating works of art.

Middle Schoolers are taught to carry an idea from inception through intermediate stages to final form, always being open to redesign as may be necessary. Within given parameters, students are encouraged to solve usual design problems as innovatively as possible, while still being considerate of good craftsmanship.

Students can work in the ceramics lab and learn to use the pottery wheel.


Art Trek offers an introduction to art both culturally and historically. The course covers Cave Art, Primitive Art (African and Northwest Indian), and the art of Egypt, India, China, Japan, and Greece. Other major periods of art covered include Byzantine, Medieval, Renaissance, Impressionism, and Modern. The class is primarily a studio class, which allows students to use a variety of media and methods in making projects for each unit, including ceramics, calligraphy, painting, and drawing.

In drawing class, students learn the fundamentals of drawing objects as they appear to the human eye. Emphasis is on developing hand-eye coordination and SEEING. Students learn to use and understand the draftsman’s language of line, form, mass, texture, and shape. Projects include perspective, circle, cylinders and ellipses, texture, geometric and nature drawing, positive and negative design, interior and exterior drawing, and presentation of work. Students with good drawing skills can proceed to the Advanced Drawing and Printmaking class. Some of the work created during the first half of the semester is used in printmaking during the second half for monoprints, block printing, and zinc and copper plate acid etching. Students also can elect to take the Painting class, which covers color theory, color mixing, brush control, and other technical aspects of handling watercolor, oil, and acrylic paints. They can also choose to take a course in papermaking and advanced printmaking.

The Ceramics course provides an introduction to and the mastery of basic ceramic construction techniques and glazing methods. Students use hand-building techniques and wheel-throwing to create both functional and non-functional forms of increasing complexity and sophistication with glaze coloration and methods of effective application. Firing methods include electric kiln and raku, and students with a strong interest in ceramics can continue their work at an advanced level.

In Digital Simulations the students explore the use of computer graphics in a 3D virtual environment.  The curriculum focuses on translating the fundamental skills learned in traditional art forms onto a digital canvas using advanced graphics applications, particularly Maya, a high-end 3D modeling and animation program. 

The photography course includes both film and digital techniques. Students learn to use a single-lens reflex camera, bulk-load film, process film, and print photographs. They also explore studio lighting techniques, digital photography, and image manipulation with a computer. They also can elect to take a course in film and video in which they learn to appreciate film and video as a vehicle for creative expression and information as well as producing high quality films in digital format with computer editing and effects.

Other Fine Arts Links

Upper School Visual and Performing Art Classes

  • Actor's Studio
  • Advanced Drawing & Printmaking
  • Art Trek
  • Beginning Drawing
  • Ceramics
  • Contemporary Studio Art 
  • Digital Simulations
  • Graphic Arts/Visual Communication
  • Paper Arts/Printmaking
  • Photography
  • Stage and Screen
OES bell

More Info

Contact Arts Chair

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