Visual Arts

Art is always about ideas. Our goal is to provide our students with the skills necessary to meaningfully explore complex, self-directed ideas through the act of making and creating. Understanding the origins of art with societal and community contexts elicits deep appreciation for the role of art in one’s life.

Art Department Mission Statement

Sample Courses

AP Art History

This year-long course covers art in a chronological survey from the Paleolithic era through Postmodernism and prepares students for the AP Art History Exam. In addition to the study of the development of the Western tradition in art and culture, an effort is made to expand beyond the Western tradition. Students develop critical thinking skills as they assemble interdisciplinary knowledge about art objects and move beyond first impressions to carefully constructed evaluations. Goals for this course are for students to value the intellectual challenge of learning about many traditions and cultures, to visit art museums with regularity, to achieve a high degree of visual literacy, to understand the role art has played in history, and to consider the role it plays in contemporary society.

Drawing/Painting I

This course considers creative as well as technical skill development in drawing. A variety of materials are handled, such as pencil, pen and ink, conte crayon and wash drawing. Problems include composition, perspective, and tonal and contour drawing. The class will also work from live models. The course also focuses on both the creative possibilities in painting and the development of facility in oil paint and watercolor. Issues covered will include composition, color, and spatial relationships found in different types of painting. The course explores landscape, still-life, portraiture and abstraction.

Advanced Studio Art IV (Honors)

This course is designed for students interested in developing a strong portfolio of independent work. In-class work will focus predominantly on observational work with subjects ranging from still life and landscape to portraiture and direct from life figure painting. In addition issues such as abstraction, appropriation and installation will also be covered. In conjunction with this work, there will be ongoing discussions about a broad range of contemporary issues in art making which should be taken into account as students consider a personal direction. During the second semester of this year long course students will work with increasing independence as they develop work for a concentration of their choice. This work will be included in year-end Student Thesis Exhibitions in the Clock Gallery.

Film Production

This course introduces students to the world of movie making and related fields. The course consists of a series of projects through which learn the skills necessary to produce short films. The course also touches upon ethics in filmmaking, film criticism, and film history.


This course introduces students to sculpture, exposing them to an array of commonly used processes, tools, and materials. Students will develop an understanding for the interaction of forms within a space. Using basic sculptural processes and readily available materials such as concrete, plaster, metal, and wood, students will investigate three-dimensional ideas and translate them into works of art. Students learn the use and care of hand and power tools while working in a variety of sculptural processes such as mold making, casting, carving, and woodworking. The students explore the exciting work of many different artists to understand how they go through the process of designing, planning, and creating functional, site-oriented installations, and environmental art.

Sample Coordinate Courses


Offered at Roland Park Country School, this course introduces students to processes of working with clay. The emphasis is on mastering hand building and wheel throwing techniques, as well as surface finishing techniques. Students learn how to achieve specific visual and tactile effects through manipulation of clay and glaze.

Graphic Design

Offered at The Bryn Mawr School, this semester course teaches students the basics of graphic design, including visual cohesiveness, layout, and color usage. Students will use these design concepts to create projects using the software applications Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Over the course of the semester, students will develop a portfolio of pieces ranging from a book cover to a logo design to a magazine. This course also covers basic advertising principles and teach students how to analyze print design.

Visual arts

course descriptions


Courses available to Upper School students over four years through the coordinate program

arts at gilman

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