Visual Arts

Artist-in-Residence Program

Darrow’s visual arts program supports the School’s hands-on approach to learning and the commitment to developing a variety of talents in each student. Teachers encourage students to learn the techniques and skills necessary to take risks in their work and advance their craft and their confidence. Courses in basic studio arts, drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, and woodworking encourage students to explore their interests in both two-and three-dimensional media. Classes are taught in the Joline Arts Center, a facility dedicated to visual arts study. Darrow's visual arts program continues to be our strength and hallmark. Our course electives feature an array of offerings that rival and eclipse those of larger schools, both in breadth and depth. Each year, arts colleges select and accept students from our Portfolio course.

See images from recent Senior Art Shows:


Studio Art is an introductory art course offered in both the fall and spring semesters and is a prerequisite to all other art electives. Students have the opportunity to explore Drawing, Painting, Photography, Ceramics, and Graphic Design. With each new medium, students will explore and incorporate the elements and principles of art and design into their artworks. This course emphasizes process as a means to liberate students from preconceived notions of inability or lack of skills necessary to create. Students will learn how to craft an artist’s statement, develop research and presentation skills, and study both historical and contemporary art practices. This class may be waived for students with previous art experience. Students will be requested to meet with the Art Department faculty and present a portfolio of their artwork. Studio Art is a prerequisite for all other Visual Arts courses. The requirement can be waived only with a demonstration of prior experience and a conversation with the Department Chair.

This is an introductory course in working with clay as an artistic medium. Students will learn various hand-building techniques used to make both functional ware and ceramic sculpture, in addition to basic wheel-throwing skills. Students are encouraged to explore personal interests and aesthetic through the assignments. Projects assigned will require productive use of in-class time and possibly additional time in the studio after class. Inspiration and art historical exploration will require some research and analysis, and students will give presentations and maintain an active sketchbook. Come prepared to play.

NOTE: This class is a prerequisite to all Advanced Ceramic classes.

Prerequisite: Studio Art or Equivalent Art Experience

This course is designed to help students develop their perceptual and rendering skills through sketching and drawing. Assignments will build upon each other as students grow in their perception of edges, spaces, relationships, and lights and shadows. A final project will explore contemporary drawing and develop a new definition of drawing. Students are required to keep a sketchbook for weekly, take-home assignments. Students are expected to participate fully, challenge themselves, apply their best effort, and have fun.

NOTE: This class is a prerequisite to all Painting classes.

Prerequisite: Studio Art or Equivalent Art Experience

Furniture Design is an introductory course in working with wood as an artistic medium. Students choose one of three Shaker-inspired furniture pieces to plan and execute in a local hardwood of their choice. The class provides an introduction into the use of both power and hand tools essential to woodworking, and several basic techniques of construction and joinery. Skills gained include drawing, planning, shaping, and finishing. Students are expected to apply a high level of craftsmanship to their projects.

NOTE: This class is a prerequisite to Advanced Furniture Design.

Prerequisite: Studio Art or Equivalent Art Experience

This course is designed to introduce the foundations of black and white photography and darkroom techniques. Historical development and technical aspects of the photographic process will be studied. Assignments are designed to help budding photographers begin to look more carefully at the world around them and explore a vision of their place in it. Assignments will require productive use of in-class time and additional time in the studio after class. Inspiration and art historical exploration will require some research, analysis, and presentation. Students are encouraged to take 2D Design before enrolling in Photography 1. A 35mm SLR camera is required.

This class is designed to guide students through the process of preparing an art portfolio for entrance to BFA programs and liberal arts colleges that accept portfolios. Students will choose colleges, create some impressive original drawings, have their work photographed, and consult with various art admissions personnel to create the most effective presentation of their work. They will view various presentations by different art programs and apply to their choice of schools by the end of the semester.

Prerequisite: Three art classes or prior experience and permission of instructor.

In Animation students will learn how to create their own stop-motion films for presentation. Students will work with several different art forms, potentially with clay, puppets, or paper cutout. The choice is theirs what kind of films they want to make and with what medium. The goal is several short animated films to present to the public.

Printmaking will introduce students to various tools, techniques, and methods that will yield an understanding of the printmaking process. Wood cuts, linoleum, mono-printing, and silk screening methods will be explored as a means of investigating imagery and texture, while generating both one-of-a kind and multiple prints. Through research on historical and contemporary applications of this medium, students will explore traditional and nontraditional methods and modes of creating and printing. Discussion and application of color theory will guide students in the ability to choose and mix colors for various layers and effects.

In Form and Design, students will explore the Elements of Art and Principles of Design, learning how to incorporate these principles into their artwork. Through researching both historical and contemporary artist’s approaches, student will create works that reflect an investigation of materials and consideration towards installation methods. Projects (to name a few) will include creating sculptures with everyday materials, repurposing found objects into altered books, using natural materials to construct temporary art works, and exploring printmaking processes. Student are expected to participate fully, challenge themselves, and apply their best effort.

Prerequisite: Studio Art or Equivalent Art Experience

In this intermediate- to advanced-level course, students will design and execute original furniture in wood. Students are encouraged to apply personal interests and aesthetic while considering the basic requirements of a furniture form, such as a table. A basic understanding of the process of working with wood is required.

Prerequisite: Furniture Design (or similar prior experience and permission of instructor).

In Painting, students will be introduced to both watercolors and acrylics. The first half of the semester will be devoted to understanding and exploring watercolor as each assignment builds off the next, investigating the potential of this medium. The second half of the semester will be spent painting with acrylics on canvas. There will be a balance of in-class assignments along with students selecting their own images to depict and render. Research of both historical applications as well as contemporary approaches will be part of this course as students discover their personal aesthetic with the material. Concepts presented in class will be further explored through weekly sketchbook assignments.

Prerequisite: Drawing

This class will focus on learning how to use the potter’s wheel. Students will learn how to center clay, explore various forms, trim cups and bowls, add handles to make mugs, and glaze plates and vases. Students will also have the opportunity to explore various firing techniques and finishes. While learning these new skills, students will also focus on pairing techniques as they discover their personal aesthetic with the material. Research of both historical and contemporary ceramics will enrich and inform students’ working visual vocabulary. Weekly sketchbook assignments are given that further examine concepts presented in class.

Prerequisite: Ceramics I

Graphic Design is a one-semester course that explores the use of typography, illustration, photography, digital manipulation, color theory, and design theory to create effective online and print-based visual communications. This course’s objective will be to teach students the effective use of messages and graphic products rooted in sustainability, environmental protection, social equity, cultural vitality, and economic well-being. Projects may include the design of web pages, motion graphics, digital presentations, digital prints, advertisements, advertisement packaging, as well as other media for emerging technology, and will be evaluated through individual and group critiques. This course will be taught in the Joline’s Macintosh Design Lab and will use Adobe software, as well as other online web tools. Students will need to complete homework and projects using these computers or software. No additional equipment will be required, although a digital camera may be helpful. A lab fee will be assessed for digital printing costs.

Prerequisite: Studio Art or Equivalent Art Experience

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