The visual art program introduces students to a variety of two-dimensional and three-dimensional art forms in a sequential curriculum designed to:
- Inspire a lifelong appreciation for art.
- Strengthen each student’s confidence in his/her own creativity and imagination.
- Develop the foundational skills necessary for advanced levels of visual art in high school and beyond.
Lower School Art
Nursery - Kindergarten
Visual, hands-on projects are an integral part of the learning experience starting in nursery.
Illustrating their own stories with crayons, decorating the letter “M” with macaroni, or building a space station out of recycled materials, our students discover the power (and fun) of using visual expression to understand abstract concepts.
Grades 1 - 3
Formal studio art begins in first grade for all students.
Guided by art teacher Jane Keenan, all students in grades one through three explore the elements of art—color, line, shape, and composition—as they create both representational and nonrepresentational artwork in a variety of media, including paper collage, watercolor, acrylic paint, colored pencil, and clay.
Each project develops their technique and draws inspiration from the study of artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, and Kandinsky.
Middle School Art
Grades 4 - 6
All students in grades four through six study visual art.
The Middle School art program taught by Betsy Isles challenges students to incorporate increasingly advanced concepts and techniques in their artwork, such as using perspective to create the illusion of depth and learning to use the pottery wheel.
Many projects are closely integrated with their academic coursework. For example, when the fifth graders research birds in science, they draw life-like illustrations to accompany their reports; and as the fourth graders prepare for Fiesta Mexicana, they create Papal Amate, a style of Mexican folk art.
In addition to regular art classes, Middle School students have the opportunity to work on their projects in the art room during the daily sign-up period from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Upper School Art
Grades 7 - 9
Art is one of the arts electives offered each term for seventh through ninth grade students. Taught by Betsy Isles, the curriculum focuses on traditional studio arts, establishing a strong foundation for further study in high school and beyond.
Painting and Drawing
During the fall term, students study compositional elements of painting and drawing—line, value, texture, shape, form, space, color, balance, rhythm and movement, variety, emphasis, and unity. For their final project, students create a still life, landscape, or study of a painting by a well-known artist, working in acrylic on canvas.
In the winter term, students learn to make cups, bowls, plates, and pots with lids using the pottery wheel. They also complete a hand-built project such as a slab box or coil pot.
The spring term focuses on several types of printmaking—including relief block printing, silk screening, and monoprinting techniques using the lithograph press.
In addition to regular art classes, Upper School students are welcome to work on art projects during their free periods.
Spacious and well-equipped, Country Day's two art studios each have a kiln for pottery. The Middle and Upper School art studio also includes a lithograph press for printmaking.