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Fine Arts

The Fine Arts Department endeavors to inspire appreciation of and participation in the fine and performing arts, encouraging each student to celebrate his individuality, develop his creativity, and enhance his positive perception of both himself and the larger world.

Initial engagement in the arts is experiential, enabling each student to discover for himself how artists create. Further study introduces significant work in drama, music, and studio art, improving each student's ability to perceive and evaluate art critically. The student's experience of art as both creator and critic contributes to an enriched perspective from which he will benefit throughout his life.

In the required two-year Middle School course, students are exposed to four main fine arts disciplines. The Upper School program builds on each student's broad previous exposure to the arts, delving deeper into the areas of studio art and music. By the time of his graduation, each student who joins the School in the seventh grade can expect to have completed at least three full years of study in the fine arts. Opportunities for AP study are available in studio art, art history and music.

Perhaps more than any other department, the Fine Arts Department is inextricably linked to the extracurricular life of the School. The Drama Club, with the participation of girls from neighboring schools, stages two major productions each year: a full-length play in the fall and an evening of one-act plays in the winter. Canonical, contemporary, and musical plays have all been staged with great enthusiasm and success. For our annual Spring Revue, students write and direct their own short plays and skits. Students with musical interests are encouraged to supplement their coursework by participating in vocal and/or instrumental groups, which perform regularly during the year. A student-centered liturgical music group plays an essential role in the celebration of monthly Masses. The work of student artists is frequently put on display for the benefit of the School community and in recognition of the artists themselves.

Available Courses:

Introduction to Fine Arts 7 & 8

Focusing on different disciplines in each of the four quarters, this required course in grades seven and eight develops enthusiasm and appreciation for the arts in a variety of forms; introduces students to the fundamental elements in the study of Studio Art and Ceramics, Art History, Music, and Drama; and develops each student’s creative interests and capabilities.

Introduction to Fine Arts, 9-12

Meeting five times a week, this course includes one semester of Music and one semester of Studio Art, and it fulfills a student’s Fine Arts requirement for graduation. Music covers the history of pre-20th century music, the innovations of atonality, the invention of jazz, and the evolution of popular music. The semester concludes with a workshop in which students compose short pieces and learn the basics of notation. In our Composition Lab, students use the latest software and keyboards to assist them in writing their own music. Studio Art offers an introduction to drawing and painting by exploring the study of line, form, value studies, perspective, composition, and color theory. Trips to area art museums and classroom visits by local artists enrich the students’ experience.

Studio Art II

Offered to students who have completed their requirement, this five day a week course in Drawing & Painting or Ceramics helps self-motivated and accomplished artists to find a personal approach for their art. This course is ideal for aspiring artists in developing a college portfolio. Students are able to work in various drawing mediums, watercolor painting, acrylic painting, ink, block print, ceramics, and three-dimensional sculpture. Periodic guest artist demonstrations, slide presentations, and occasional trips to art museums augment the work in the studio.

AP Studio Art

This elective, college-level art course is designed for the talented and highly motivated art student who wants to explore and develop his own personal style. Prerequisite is completion of the Fine Arts requirement plus evaluation and acceptance by the Chair of the Fine Arts Department. Each student refines his skills and creates a body of 30 works showing quality, breadth of experience, and an area of concentration. The portfolio submitted for evaluation to the College Board in May consists of four original works and 36 works in slide form. This class meet five times a week with additional studio time and weekend assignments required. The following courses are all offered: AP Drawing and Painting; AP 3-Dimensional Sculpture; AP 2-Dimensional Design/Photography.

AP Art History

This elective course is offered to Juniors and Seniors in preparation for the College Board Examination in May. Various political, social, gender issues, economic and religious conditions affecting the relationships of artists to their culture are explored. Students study and review the Paleolithic Age through the present to understand better the consciousness and creativity of culture and the critical impact of Art. The class emphasizes critical writing and analysis to prepare for the essay portion of the exam. Students present often, investigating art beyond the European tradition. The class makes frequent trips to local museums and listens to art related lectures.

AP Music Theory

This elective course is designed for students with musical backgrounds who are interested in taking a detailed look at the fundamental elements of music theory. Discussions of scales, modes, chords, composition, and sight-singing—the material of this class will be equivalent to that found in a college freshman music course. Students will prepare for the Advanced Placement exam given in May. Most importantly, this course enables the diligent student to hear and enjoy music in a completely different way.

Computer Assisted Composition

Because technology is an important tool when composing music, this elective class features an in-depth study of music composition and enables students to create original pieces in a variety of styles with computer assistance in writing and organizing the music on the page, playing the music back, and printing the finished project. Students have the opportunity to learn about various styles of music composition as well as become familiar with MIDI and composition software.

Fine Arts Foundations

Available to all ninth to twelfth grades students during free periods or after school, individualized offerings give students a foundation in their chosen discipline. The goal of these courses is to inspire a further appreciation for the Arts and nurture each student’s creative interests. The following courses allow a student to fulfill his Fine Arts requirement or to deepen his study of the arts if he is not pursuing Advanced Placement courses in the arts.

Art History

Deepens a student’s understanding of art from the Paleolithic Age to the present by surveying paintings, drawings, archeology, architecture, sculpture, philosophical movements and photography.


Includes an introduction to clay forming and surface decorating techniques; emphasizes hand building with slabs and coils, pinch and modeling methods, under glazing, scraffito, and mishima; and instructs students on the use of the potter’s wheel.

Dark Room & Digital Photography

Focuses on basic black and white photographic procedures from film exposure in a manual camera, to the development of negatives, and finally, to the finishing of a photographic print. Digital photography includes instruction on camera technology and manipulation of digital images on a computer.

Drawing & Painting

Helps an artist to explore his approach to his art by analyzing other artists and by working in various drawing mediums, watercolor painting, acrylic painting, ink, and block print.


Empowers students in all areas of filmmaking from planning and shooting footage, to editing material in the School’s state of the art studio. Through peer workshops and the study of other films, the course also fosters an understanding of and appreciation for the medium of film.


Students focus on practice exercises, technique drills, scales and chords, while learning improvisation, soloing, accompaniment, and transcribing music by ear to instrument.

Courtney Bent

Courtney Bent

Titles: Faculty
Meyer Chambers

Meyer Chambers

Titles: Music Ministry
Barrett Ellis

Barrett Ellis

Titles: Faculty
Mark Rogers

Mark Rogers

Titles: Department Chair
Deirdre Rynne Annan

Deirdre Rynne Annan

Titles: Faculty, Head Varsity Skiing Coach, Head Varsity Sailing Coach