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Upper School Academic Departments

Visual Arts

Two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) studio course work builds upon the fundamental artistic skills and expressions explored in earlier grades. Students are introduced to a variety of media, techniques, and processes that foster imagination and creativity, stimulate observation, and heighten analytical thinking skills. Students are equipped with the appropriate tools to translate individual ideas into personal visual expressions. 

The arts curriculum inspires and empowers students to develop a visual language. Student work is displayed in exhibit spaces and school publications within the community as recognition of artistic achievements.
  • Advanced 2D Art

    Grades 11-12
    Full Year
    1 credit
    Prerequisites: One year of Visual Arts courses and departmental approval.
    This course is specifically designed for serious, productive, and dedicated students who want to explore in depth two-dimensional media techniques such as drawing, painting, printmaking, and digital design. Instruction emphasizes design, composition, creativity, originality, and increased technical competence. Higher-order thinking skills, such as analysis, problem- solving, and evaluation will be emphasized throughout this course. A student’s performance is evaluated by completion of all projects in the specified time, process- documentation, effort, quality, and creativity of artwork produced.
  • Advanced 3D Art

    Grades 11-12 Full Year 1 credit
    Prerequisites: One year of Visual Arts courses and departmental approval
    Class size limited to 14
    This course is specifically designed for serious, productive, dedicated students who want to explore in depth three-dimensional art through the use of a variety of materials, which can include cardboard, plaster gauze, wire, and more. Extensive material investigations and alternative sculptural approaches such as performance art, site- specific installation, and the use of digital media will be encouraged. A student’s performance is evaluated on completion of all projects in the specified time, a written artist statement, effort, quality, and creativity of artwork produced.
  • AP Studio Art 2D

    Full Year
    1-credit

    Prerequisites: Successful completion of Advanced Art and portfolio submitted for departmental approval
    The AP program in Studio Art is intended for highly motivated students who are seriously interested in the study of art. This course has been developed to accommodate students who have expressed an interest in completing either the AP Studio Art: Drawing Portfolio Exam or the AP Studio Art: 2D Design Portfolio. Through direct teacher instruction, emphasis will be placed on the production of a volume of quality pieces of artwork. Students will create two separate portfolios: Sustained Investigation and Selected Works. Students will develop and demonstrate mastery of concept, composition, and execution of their personal ideas and themes through drawing and/or 2D design.
  • AP Studio Art 3D

    Full Year
    1-credit

    Prerequisites: Successful completion of Advanced Ceramics and portfolio submitted for departmental approval
    This course addresses a broad interpretation of sculptural issues in depth and space. Elements and concepts such as mass, volume, form, plane, light, and texture may be articulated through additive, subtractive, and fabrication processes. A variety of approaches to representation, abstraction, and expression may be part of the student’s portfolio, such as traditional sculpture, architectural models, ceramics, 3D wood projects, or assemblage. Students will create two portfolios, Sustained Investigation and Selected Works, which must be submitted to the AP Reading Committee at the completion of the course
  • Introductory 2D Art

    One Semester
    1⁄2 credit
    This course is a comprehensive introduction to drawing, painting, and digital design. Art history, criticism, and aesthetics are included. Higher-order thinking skills such as analysis, problem- solving, and evaluation are emphasized. Projects are designed to aid in the acquisition and development of basic observational skills. Emphasis is placed on the basic elements of line, color, value, form, space, and composition through the use of a variety of media: graphite, charcoal, watercolor, collage, and printing methods. Brief lectures, demonstrations, slides, sketchbooks, and written reflections are used to develop course content.
  • Introductory 3D Art

    One Semester
    1⁄2 credit
    Class size limited to 14
    This 3D studio art class explores the various tools and materials used to create ceramics and sculpture. Using clay, wood, metal, plaster, and stone, students will learn how to manipulate these materials and use the elements and principles of art to sculpt. They will study and learn to analyze other sculptures through readings, field trips, discussions, and group critiques. By examining geometric, abstract, representational, and organic forms, students will design and craft their artwork.
  • Intermediate 2D Art

    One Semester
    1⁄2 credit
    Prerequisite: Introductory 2D Studio Art
    This course continues to emphasize the elements and principles of design and their conscious application. Students consider the unique linear characteristics of the drawing medium combined with an array of surfaces and materials from which to choose. A variety of materials are explored such as graphite, charcoal, ink, chalk pastel, watercolor, acrylic, oil paint, oil pastels, printmaking, and digital design. This course gives students the opportunity to find their own solutions within a wide range of drawing and painting media. Instruction emphasizes design, composition, creativity, originality, and increased technical competence. Student performance is evaluated by technical growth and development, process-documentation, effort, quality, and creativity of artwork produced.
  • Intermediate 3D Art

    One Semester
    1⁄2 credit
    Prerequisite: Introductory 3D Studio Art Class size limited to 14
    This course continues to emphasize the development of form and mass through further exploration of three- dimensional materials including clay, wood, cardboard, plaster gauze, wire, and more. This course gives students the opportunity to find their own solutions within a wide range of media. Instruction emphasizes design, composition, creativity, originality and increased technical competence. A student’s performance is evaluated on completion of all projects in the specified time, a written artist statement, effort, quality, and creativity of artwork produced.
  • Graphic Design

    Grades 10-12
    One Semester
    1⁄2 credit
    This course offers an introduction to basic design problems using professional graphics software: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Premiere Pro. Students explore and apply principles of visual literacy to produce content relevant to today’s global, multimedia society. Students are taught industry- relevant technical skills and have the opportunity to work with a variety of technology, including digital photography, design software, and editing tools. Students design, print, and present professional-grade images. Students also have the option to translate these images onto fabric using digital screen printing techniques.

Department Faculty

  • Photo of Katherine Elkins

    Katherine Elkins

    Visual Arts Department Chair, Upper School Visual Arts Teacher
    703-212-2930
    George Washington University, Corcoran College of Art - Master of Arts
    Savannah College of Art + Design - Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Photo of Thomas Bunnell

    Thomas Bunnell

    Visual Arts Teacher
    703-212-2889
    American University - MFA
    University of Oregon - BFA
  • Photo of Joseph Wade

    Joseph Wade

    Upper School Visual Arts Teacher (3D Art)
    703-212-2864
Age 3-Grade 12 coed Episcopal day school in Alexandria, Virginia

Campuses

List of 3 items.

  • Lower School

    Age 3-Grade 5
    400 Fontaine Street
    Alexandria, Virginia 22302
  • Middle School

    Grades: 6-8
    4401 West Braddock Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304
  • Upper School

    Grades: 9-12
    1000 St. Stephen's Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304