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Upper School Academic Departments

Visual Arts

The JK-12 visual arts program is a cumulative and comprehensive approach to creative development. Students observe the world around them and manipulate tools and materials to communicate ideas visually. The personal growth of each student as an artist is encouraged through observation, reflection, interpretation, and expression of ideas. Students are exposed to a plethora of creative possibilities, including the artistic output of individuals and cultures worldwide so that they may learn, as well, through the artistic expression of others. Students learn to find and make connections among art and all other disciplines. Ultimately, they value originality and self-discovery through the creative process.
  • Art JK

    Meets Once a Cycle 
    In order to provide ample opportunities to develop JK students’ fine motor skills and spatial awareness, they are engaged in activities that allow them to experiment with a variety of media and tools. Line, shape, space, and pattern are a few of the concepts students focus on. In exploration of these concepts we look thoughtfully at artworks created by various artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Georges Seurat. JK students are guided to create works of art that reflect other cultures, traditions, and practices.
  • Art K

    Meets Two Times a Cycle 
    To further develop their fine motor skills and spatial awareness, K students are encouraged to explore and express themselves through a variety of media and multi-faceted projects, often in collaboration with their homerooms and other subjects. Students experiment with printmaking, painting, ceramics, origami and implementing elements of art such as line, shape, and color while exposed to principles of design such as pattern, balance, and contrast. In connection with these explorations, students study artworks created by artists from other cultures such as Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, and Frida Kahlo, which provides opportunities for students to look beyond their own world.
  • Art 1

    Meets Two Times a Cycle 
    To continue further developing students’ fine motor skills, spatial awareness, and expression, first-grade students are introduced to new media and artistic explorations such as Illustration, textile design, and architecture. To create a coherent learning experience, some of the units of study are in collaboration with student homerooms and other subject areas. The program encourages students to explore other cultures, reference well-known artworks, and make connections with the community beyond their immediate environment.
  • Art 2

    Meets Two Times a Cycle 
    To continue further developing students’ fine motor skills, spatial awareness and enrich their artistic expressions, second-grade students are encouraged to explore and express themselves through a variety of new media and multi-stage projects, often in collaboration with their homerooms and other subjects areas. These units of study expose students to a variety of cultures and raise student awareness of global concerns, while helping students implement their understanding of the elements and principles of art and design.
  • Art 3

    Meets Two Times a Cycle 
    Third grade students become more aware of and responsive to lines, colors, design, shapes, and textures in the environment. They are encouraged to use self-expression in their pieces and focus on the artistic process rather than just the finished product. Students use sketchbooks for planning, note taking, and experimentation and learn to rely on the sketchbook as an important tool in their growth as artists. Third graders explore drawing, painting, weaving, monoprints, stamp printing, collage, hand-built ceramics, and sculpture. As the year progresses, students delve into the art of the Mayans and ancient Egypt, Greece, and China. Through these explorations into the arts and crafts of specific cultures, they acquire greater understanding of the ancient people they study. Field trips to art museums and other cultural venues are an integral part of the third grade art program.
  • Art 4

    Meets Two Times a Cycle 
    Fourth-grade students initially examine contemporary artists, the influence of popular culture, and how everyday objects can be transformed into works of art. Fourth graders then move on to early American arts and crafts that were indigenous to colonial, European-influenced America and from other cultures, including those of Native Americans. Students continue to use sketchbooks as part of their artistic practice, as they pursue more advanced techniques in drawing, painting, graphic design, weaving, relief printing, hand-built ceramics, sculpture, and graphic novels. Field trips to the National Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of American Art, and to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown serve as inspirations for projects and to develop a keener awareness and appreciation of how the visual arts informs us about the development of a culture.
  • Art 5

    Meets Two Times a Cycle 
    The fifth grade art program emphasizes the close relationship between visual arts and the academic disciplines of math, science, and social studies. Students focus on refining techniques introduced in previous years and engage in more complex art tasks. Assignments are more time consuming, require a keener observational sense and a higher level of craftsmanship, and encourage students to examine their journey and growth as artists. As in previous years, fifth graders use sketchbooks as part of their artistic practice and explore drawing, architecture, painting, weaving, block printing, collage, and hand-built ceramics. Students are encouraged to delve into themes expressed in the art of their own and other cultures and to interpret for themselves using skills and knowledge gained in previous grades. To further enhance and enrich the fifth grade visual arts program, students visit the US Botanic Gardens, the National Zoo, and local art museums, such as the Renwick Gallery.

Department Faculty

  • Photo of Justin Pyles
    Justin Pyles
    Visual Arts Teacher
    Corcoran school of Art - MAT
  • Photo of Jade Xia
    Jade Xia
    Visual Arts Teacher
    (703) 212-2823
    Rhode Island School of Design - M.A.T
    State University of New York College of Buffalo - M.S
    Rhode Island College - B.F.A
Age 3-Grade 12 coed Episcopal day school in Alexandria, Virginia


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