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Walnut Hill School for the Arts

Program & Faculty


Visual art students are enrolled in 3–4 studio art courses per semester. Most often, these courses meet Monday through Thursday during the Arts period from 2:00pm to 5:20pm. Occasionally, classes are also offered in the evenings on these days.

Scheduling for every visual art student is arranged individually in conversation with the visual art faculty. Across the board, all students take studio classes in a broad range of media each year, and they are also required to take drawing for a minimum of one semester every year.

Every day of the week, students spend 3.5 hours engaged in a single discipline. For example, a student may take Painting on Mondays, Photography on Tuesdays, Printmaking on Wednesdays, and Ceramics on Thursdays. In this way, students are able to fully engage with a medium over the course of the 3.5-hour class period. These long class periods offer ample time for formal instruction, experimentation, and “unpacked” art-making.

Additionally, there are required open-studio periods on Friday afternoons when students work in the studios to develop projects started earlier in the week.

Courses in Visual Art

Drawing

With a strong emphasis on observational work, students explore basic problems of line, composition, and tonal/value relationships, as well as issues of content and personal expression in their artwork.

Ceramics

The fundamentals of hand-building, wheel-throwing, glazing, and kiln-firing techniques are covered in class. Students work on a variety of projects ranging from simple vessels to more elaborate functional objects and sculptural projects.

Painting

Students in this class learn the basics of the oil painting medium. They explore the unique challenges of value and color relationship as used to create the illusion of space. Over time, students move on to more advanced exploration of painting concepts in terms of both technique and personal expression.

Painting: Murals and Public Art

Beginning with a historical overview of public art, students work together in small groups of three to five students to design and create actual large-scale paintings in an existing public space. Good communication and sharing of responsibilities is crucial to the successful completion of each group’s project. Students will be guided through the unique challenges and rewards of working on a very large scale in a very public process.

Sculpture

This class is designed to familiarize students with three-dimensional problem-solving in terms of both content and materials. Students work with a variety of materials ranging from plaster and wood to found objects.

Photography

Students learn use of the camera, film development, darkroom techniques, and photo composition. Students work on a variety of projects ranging from photograms and pinhole photography to portraiture, documentary, and alternative printing processes.

Books as Art

In this course, the students make art in book form, designing and constructing their own books. Ideas of sequence, narrative, and development of text and image inform class discussions. Students work on unifying the design of the page and the book as a whole to create a sculptural object.

Printmaking

This course introduces students to various methods such as linocut, woodcut, copperplate etching, monotype, and collograph. Each process creates distinctive marks, which transform drawings in exciting and unexpected ways. Students use the printing press to create thematic variations and limited edition prints.

New Media I and II

Students in this course are introduced to the foundations of digital image making and print media; they learn to use the computer as another tool in the art-making process. Working with a variety of software programs, students start by exploring the possibilities of drawing, scanning, digital photography, and printing in the development of still-imagery. As they advance to working with digital video cameras, students also learn to use the computer in the editing and production of short films, both stop-motion animation and live action.

Illustration and Narrative

Working with a variety of two-dimensional media, students develop and describe personal themes and stories through drawing and painting.

Senior Studio

Working within the framework of assignments based on specific concepts and/or limited to specific materials, students in this class are learning to work in an independent manner as mature artists. Every few weeks, seniors are given a new technique to work with or a theme to which they must respond. The assignments can be interpreted in many different ways. The students must plan, problem-solve, and generate individual solutions to each new assignment. Through individual and group critique sessions, they are then asked to explain their work and to participate in discussion about their choices and their process.

Visual Art Faculty

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Ria Brodell

Ria Brodell

Visual Art Faculty
Rachel Chambers

Rachel Chambers

Visual Art Faculty
Eileen de Rosas

Eileen de Rosas

Ceramics Instructor & Visual Art Studio Assistant
Jake Fried

Jake Fried

Visual Art Faculty
Kathleen Grevers

Kathleen Grevers

Visual Art Faculty
Stephen Lacy

Stephen Lacy

Writing, Film & Media Arts Faculty, Visual Art Faculty
Stephanie Macklin

Stephanie Macklin

Visual Art Faculty
Jessie Nickerson

Jessie Nickerson

Visual Art Faculty
Stephanie Stigliano

Stephanie Stigliano

Visual Art Faculty
Ken Tighe

Ken Tighe

Visual Art Faculty, Westerly Dorm Parent
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