Fine Arts

Our robust Fine and Performing Arts Department offers a variety of opportunities for students to discover their talents and express themselves in innovative and creative ways.

Music, visual art, and theater are all part of the Fine Arts experience, cultivating creative intellectual leaders with an excitement for learning. Process is at the heart of the program, providing excellent studios and quality materials for students to take creative risks. Students are required to take a certain number of Fine Arts semester-long elective courses but many elect to immerse themselves in the arts above the requirement.

Courses may change yearly, so students have the opportunity to take advantage of an array of media and techniques.

Visual Arts

Design Foundations

Students explore a variety of materials and processes, analyzing and engaging with their surrounding environment. Many techniques are demonstrated and practiced, framed by art history, contemporary works, and the elements and principles of design. Students begin to understand and articulate—verbally and visually—how composition, subject, material, mark, orientation and craftsmanship work together, realizing that small differences can have a large effect.


Students investigate the making and finishing processes of both functional and sculptural ceramic objects throughout this introductory course. Many methods of building with clay are discussed, demonstrated and practiced to create works that use clay as the primary medium. Finished works will be self-evaluated and critiqued, considering art history and contemporary practice, process, and craftsmanship.


Printmaking is the process of applying ink to a form or printing plate to create an impression. This beginning course investigates unusual and standard printing techniques. Students learn the various tools of the printmaker and have the opportunity to explore many different processes, including block printing, etching, collagraph, and serigraph (silkscreen).


Sculpture students will have the opportunity to master the various tools and techniques of the sculpture studio as they explore additive sculpture, subtractive sculpture (carving), and relief sculpture (wall hanging).

Furniture Is Art

This course is part design and part construction techniques, as students create their own piece of functional furniture. Work may be constructed from a wide range of materials, including but not limited to, various woods, plastics, and non ferrous metals. Students gain inspiration from contemporary furniture makers, and the class also includes a field trip to a local contemporary furniture collection.

Art History from the Studio Perspective

In this hands-on art history class, students are inspired by the art masters of the distant and recent past, and then interpret the work in their own way. This proves to be a very experimental and interactive course, as the students explore, research, and execute new techniques and are influenced by challenging ideas. A sampling of drawing, painting, sculpture, and even installation and media art may be covered.


This drawing course is geared for not only the student who wants to draw more realistically, but also the one looking for a creative outlet. Students explore traditional and non-traditional drawing techniques and become aware of line quality, shading, modeling, contrast, perspective, negative space and proportions.

Sound Sculpture

Sound sculpture is merely art that makes noise. This is a perfect chance for the musician to immerse himself/herself in the sculpture studio, or for the visual artist to get in touch with his/her musical side. Depending on the students’ ideas, they will explore different sculpture and sound making processes in a collaborative or individual fashion, using a very wide range of tools and techniques.

Contemporary Painting

This course is an exploration of various acrylic painting techniques. Students investigate work from 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century painters to gain knowledge of the history of contemporary art. They may work in collaboration on large works or independently. Students enhance their knowledge of the principals of design while finding their own personal vision. Creativity is fostered and celebrated!


Graffiti is currently a world-wide art movement. In this class students have the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of the purpose of graffiti. They learn various graffiti techniques, including cutting stencils and becoming proficient with the airbrush. Past classes have made graffiti ceiling tiles, t-shirts, shoes, and auto magnets, just to name a few.


Mosaics is the art of adhering small bits of ceramic tile or glass to a panel or object. Students will have the opportunity to create both abstract pattern and realistic (figurative) mosaics. They learn to cut the tiles and also grout the final work. It is possible for students to work both two- and three-dimensionally.


Jazz Ensemble

This class further develops and diversifies instrumental skills in a rich and varied genre. Students learn tunes that span a gamut of styles: Blues, Latin, Rock, Funk, Bop, and Swing. Students listen to jazz greats, loading an arsenal of licks and idioms as they approach soloing and improvisation. The class has four formal performances and a handful of other appearances throughout the year.


The upper school choir is open to all students who are interested in singing in an ensemble. Artistic expression and excellence in choral singing is a primary focus in this ensemble. Students perform at festivals, competitions, and concerts throughout the year, both on and off campus. Students will continue their musical training in vigorous vocal pedagogy, ensemble singing, ear training, music literacy, and music content knowledge.

Music Technology

Music Technology explores digital music production from the ground up. We discuss the mechanics of sound production, amplification and digital manipulation, using professional-grade editing software in a state-of-the-art recording studio. Students have the opportunity to record their own original songs and also work as sound engineers for projects of their peers.

Music Theory

Building from the basics of melody, rhythm, and chord theory, students explore the component of music and discover how they interrelate to make a song. They spend equal time working in written, aural, and improvisational modes and should be prepared to express their understanding using a musical instrument of their choosing.

Appreciation and History of Popular Culture Music

Students discover, listen, and recreate music from the civil war to now and learn how historical events and technology have impacted the music we listen to. Students will have the opportunity to reenact important musical events and listen to and discuss different artists and musical styles.

Rock Band

Instruction for beginning musicians who wish to experience all the facets of playing, rehearsing, performing, and producing with a real rock band. Bands typically consist of three or more musicians. The lineup is frequently rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass, and drums with someone in the band also covering vocals. The format can be changed or modified depending on the student’s interest and instrument choice. Minimal experience with instruments is required.

Song Writing

This is the practical application and technique of the working songwriter. Melody, lyrics, “hooks,” points of view and song logic will be covered. Solo writing as well as the concept of collaboration are introduced. Students work individually and in small groups.

Performing Arts

Performing Arts

This performing arts elective teaches the fundamentals of onstage performance. Diving into scene work, vocal performance and dance, students are challenged to find personal and meaningful expression of their private truth in a public way. Classes culminate in a public performance.