Visual Arts


The Lower School Visual Arts program provides the opportunity for students to broaden their knowledge of, and appreciation for, visual art. Emphasis is placed on students’ creative experiences and overall development. Students are introduced to a variety of media for expressive purposes, learn about designs in natural and human-made forms, and discover a range of artwork originating from different traditions and cultures. The elements of art, principles of design and art history are reinforced through a rich art curriculum. Cross-curricular themes such as science, language arts, social studies and math are incorporated in the lessons at each grade level. Students acquire a comprehensive foundation to continue on to middle school visual arts.


Art education in the Middle School provides a unique learning experience to broaden knowledge in four major areas: visual perception, creative expression, cultural heritage, and discriminating judgment. Through artistic experiences, students observe, compare, explore, organize, understand, express, and evaluate. In Middle School Visual Art, methods and skills gained in the Lower School program are built upon, to develop a greater awareness of line, color, texture, value, form, proportion, and design structures. Most importantly, students refine their artistic awareness and sensitivity through visual expression.


In the Digital Studio program, students are responsible for all stages of the production process. They learn to create content, critically evaluate their work, manipulate footage and produce a finished piece. To achieve this, students grow in respect and appreciation for the tools and equipment used in all stages of production. Simultaneously, the Digital Studio program promotes integration among students from a variety of cultures, languages, and experiences.


Photography in the Middle School provides an accessible, yet challenging, means of creative expression and technical mastery. Students learn the mechanics of a camera, methods of production, as well as composition strategies and storytelling. The computer lab environment and shooting outside in pairs or groups help students understand the necessity of organization and teamwork, while exploring a specific vision. Eighth grade photography students develop their understanding of compositional strategies, lighting techniques, thematic work, the elements and principles of art, and a more refined visual expression.


From earliest times, people have had a fundamental desire to create personal, social, cultural, and aesthetic meaning through art. Tenth grade artistic expression ranges from traditional forms embedded in particular societies and cultures, to the varied and dispersed practices associated with design, craft, electronic media, drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. During this course, students explore a range of media and techniques, apply the elements and principles, and grow in their knowledge of art terms, as well as the historical context of works of art, while using this knowledge as a source of motivation and enrichment for their own growing practice.


Eleventh grade Visual Arts is the first year of a two-year I.B. course. After being prompted through the creative cycle (investigate, experiment, create, reflect, refine), students develop their own exciting art practice through on-going inquiry. Persistent research and experimentation culminates in regular studio work and inventive sketchbook entries. Students cultivate a personalized body of work in a range of media, as well as creative thinking skills, sophisticated use of media and strategies, and confidence in their own expressive potential.


Twelfth grade Visual Arts is the second year of a two-year I.B. course. At this point, students choose to participate at either higher level (HL) or standard level (SL), the difference being commitment of hours and quantity of work. Both HL and SL students are assessed through three components of the course: the Process Portfolio (culled sketchbook pages submitted digitally), the Comparative Study (research that compares and contrasts art from different times/places), and the Exhibition (personalized investigation into art-making, self-curated in March). I.B. Art students acquire technical skills to produce quality works of art, and the confidence to critically analyze, discuss, and present their own work and the work of others.


"I believe that all my friends from a multitude of cultural backgrounds brought out the best in me. As an Awty Artist, I had so many opportunities to lead in the Arts, and I was able to cultivate my artistic talent through exploring my theme “Intersecting Art and Medicine."

- George Kapitan, Class of 2019

To read more about George's fine arts experience at Awty and see some of his artwork, click here