Explore our Curriculum

Visual Arts

The visual arts program at Groton provide students with opportunities to discover their talents, to acquire skills necessary for artistic expression, and to develop an understanding and appreciation of the arts. Drawing a landscape or building a mahogany table, are as intrinsic to the artistic process as learning to critique a photograph. Students have opportunities to explore coursework in photography, video, ceramics, drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed-media, and woodworking. The hands-on approach to learning lies at the core of Groton’s arts requirement, which emphasizes the value of being actively engaged in a creative process.

All Second Formers spend a term studying visual arts, a term studying drama and a term studying music. Third Formers may take Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra or half-credit music lessons as their required half-credit arts course. All students take a minimum of three credits of art in any discipline(s) in the Upper School.

Requirements​: All students entering Groton in third form take a half-credit, year-long arts course in music, woodshop, or visual arts. All students are required to take three credits of art in any discipline(s) in the Upper School. Musicking does not fulfill the arts requirement.
  • 3D Sculpture and Integrated Practices (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. Students will express themselves in a wide variety of hands-on materials including ceramic, plaster, modeling clay, wood, found objects, and recyclables. Imagery will be informed by the materials and the process-based work. Students will have the opportunity to create site-specific and outdoor installations that comment on the space or topic. Included in this course gallery talks, and trips to local art museums such as the sculpture-based DeCordova Museum. Enrollment is limited to ten students.
     
  • Advanced Drawing (W)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers.Prerequisite: Drawing course or previous drawing experience supported with a portfolio. Students will continue with the process of learning how to “see” by drawing from observation. Subject matter will become more complex in nature and other drawing concepts will be explored such as analytic drawing, life drawing, perspective drawing, emotive drawing, narrative drawing, imaginary/fantasy drawing, etc. We will investigate the development of style through the study of both the old masters and contemporary artists. There will be an emphasis on discovering the “tricks” of drawing and how to make things look real. Assignments are conceptual in nature and explore a variety of themes that allow students to develop their own concepts and ideas. Discussions and critiques will accompany studio activity to help students develop a visual language. Enrollment is limited to eight students.
     
  • Advanced Painting (W)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth and Fourth Formers. Prerequisite: Painting course or previous painting experience supported with a portfolio. Students will begin first by exploring mixed media with art and will spend the term focusing on a specific concept with a paint medium of choice. Works completed will be displayed in various locations around the Circle as students develop an understanding for presenting their work in a professional setting.
     
  • Advanced Printmaking (W)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. Prerequisite: Printmaking or previous printmaking experience supported with a portfolio. Students will be introduced to intaglio, monotype, and silkscreening, while having the chance to focus on creating an edition series based on a specific printmaking technique of their choice. Printing surfaces will include handmade paper, fabrics, and even sculptural application. Enrollment is limited to ten students.
     
  • Art and Design (Y)

    This is a Third Form introductory year-long course that incorporates a broad range of technical and conceptual skills necessary for visual communication. A wide variety of materials and artistic methods will be introduced, and emphasis will be placed on exploratory thinking and visual problem-solving. Through hands-on experiences with fine art materials, students will learn the basic vocabulary of two- and three-dimensional design, and color theory. Discussions, various media, critiques, and visiting artists will complement studio activity to help students understand the historical, cultural, and contemporary context in which art is created.
  • Art Exploration (F)

    This a Second Form art course, exposing students to the elements and principles of design through exploring various materials. References to major artists from art history and contemporary art create a framework for projects, and personal experience will inform imagery and concepts. Students will use drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture to create individual and collaborative works. Critique sessions will stress ways to look at, analyze, and discuss art.
  • Art Without Boundaries (W)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth and Fourth Formers. This course focuses on the intersection of art with other disciplines such as poetry, music, photography, video, fashion, and performance. Projects will be two- and three-dimensional and will encourage students to explore art materials in an unconventional way. Students are encouraged to have an open mind and willingness to step outside of their comfort zones. All assignments will be conceptual in nature and will involve the production of creative work that responds to the material & media we will discuss and view in class. Discussions and critiques of artworks will be held to help students develop a strong visual language and understanding of how to analyze artworks. Enrollment is limited to ten students.
     
  • Ceramics (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. Prerequisite: 3D Sculpture & Integrated Practices or an acceptable portfolio. This course provides a hands-on, comprehensive study of clay, and the ability to work three-dimensionally. Students are given a specific vocabulary to learn and content is emphasized so that students understand the use of clay as a vehicle for personal expression. Methods of hand-building and techniques that enable them to give visual (three-dimensional) form to their ideas are taught. Assignments are conceptual in nature and explore themes such as identity, the environment, and social/political issues. Students who take ceramics for three terms can choose to work on the potter’s wheel as a one-on-one tutorial with the instructor. Enrollment is limited to eight students.
     
  • Cross-Disciplinary Art (S)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth and Fourth Formers. This is a course about the value of imagination and the power of creative thinking. Looking at the intersection of art with other disciplines (math, design, science, music, poetry) we will make connections with art that will result in new inventions. Projects will be two- and three-dimensional and offer the opportunity to choose unconventional materials. This is a course where imperfection can lead to innovation, and accidents can become unique discoveries. No artistic talent is necessary for this course, just an open mind and willingness to step out of your comfort zone and take your mind where it has not traveled before.
  • Digital Photography (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth and Fourth Formers. Prerequisite: Photo 1. This class covers the basics of Adobe Photoshop, digital camera usage and print/negative scanning. The focus is on the creation of expressive, original artwork, with emphasis on artistic quality. Some assignments are given; some are self-generated. Enrollment limited to eight students.
  • Drawing (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. This course introduces students to the basic techniques and methods of drawing. Students learn to develop their ability to “see” by exploring different concepts of observational drawing to understand how to place objects and the figure in space. Through the study of line, value, shapes, lights & darks, and shading, students will gain knowledge of how to create a two-dimensional drawing with three-dimensional qualities. A variety of drawing materials and their properties will be explored in order to develop a strong understanding of the medium.Enrollment is limited to ten students.
     
  • Painting (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth and Fourth Formers. This course is an introduction to the techniques of painting with acrylics. Discussions using references from art history and from ancient to contemporary art will enable students to understand the historical and cultural contexts in which art is created. Beginning with color theory, students will learn how to mix paint  to achieve desired colors and create color harmonies. Emphasis will also be placed on composition and the use of light to develop form. In a typical term, a student would produce three to four paintings. These might include a landscape, a portrait, a personal object (such as an article of clothing), and a still-life. The acquisition of skills will be emphasized as well as opportunities for self-expression.
     

  • Photo 1 (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth and Fourth Formers. This course introduces students to basic techniques of shooting, developing, and printing pictures. Using black-and-white film, students will work on short term projects designed to develop their abilities to create vital and effective visual images. Enrollment limited to ten students.
     
  • Photo 2 (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth and Fourth Formers. Prerequisite:  Photo 1. This course builds upon the photographic knowledge from Photo 1, expanding students’ understanding of the descriptive powers of photography and honing technical skills. Enrollment limited to ten students.
  • Photography Workshop (F)

    Open to Sixth and Fifth Formers. This is a term-by-term offering designed for students who have completed Photo 1 and 2 or Digital Photo and wish to continue photography at a more advanced level. Students will work with the instructor to design a syllabus suited to the student’s individual experience and interests. On rare occasions, a student who has not completed the prerequisites may take Photo Workshop to undertake a specific project, with permission of the instructor.
  • Portfolio Prep (F)

    Prerequisite: one advanced art course (Drawing, Painting, Printmaking), or with portfolio approval from the department. This course will allow students to focus on preparing and compiling a portfolio along college and university standards. Students will work independently to create works showcasing a strong range of techniques, methods, and materials. At the end of the term, students will exhibit their portfolio work in the Christopher Brodigan Gallery.
     
  • Printmaking (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. This is an introductory course to basic printmaking. Students are encouraged and taught to develop their original ideas while making stamps, collographs, relief, and linocuts. By studying both the old masters and contemporary artists, students gain an understanding of this ancient art. Printmaking is appealing to both the beginner and the more advanced student because the image is scratched, carved or drawn on a plate and then transferred to paper through the etching press. Enrollment is limited to ten students.
     
  • Third Form Shop (Y)

    Third Formers will make a small piece of furniture. Students may do work which involves dovetailing, turning, mortise and tenon construction, cutting, planing and hand finishing. Because many of the basic processes in cabinetmaking are learned, this course provides a solid introduction to further, more ambitious work in the Upper School.
  • Upper School Shop (Y)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. Each student in this course will undertake the construction of a significant piece of furniture. Examples of work done in past years include desks, lowboys, tables, grandfather clock cases, beds, chairs and cupboards. The exact project is chosen by the student with the advice and consent of the teacher.

    No previous woodworking experience is required. Students will be taught what they need to know in the shop.

    This is a full course of four scheduled classes and four preparations each week. Students taking Upper School Shop for the first time must take it for any three consecutive terms. Others may negotiate individual arrangements, including a term course or one for half credit that would require only half the time commitment stated above. Please consult Mr. Brown before signing up for such a variation on the regular full course.
  • Video (S)

    Open to Sixth Formers. In this course students will explore cinematic production. Using the medium of video and digital editing, they will produce a few short films. The emphasis is on creating a strong and expressive product, using the narrative flow of cinematic imagery and sound. Enrollment limited to nine students.
  • Video (W)

    Open to Sixth Formers. In this course students will explore cinematic production. Using the medium of video and digital editing, they will produce a few short films. The emphasis is on creating a strong and expressive product, using the narrative flow of cinematic imagery and sound. Enrollment limited to nine students.
  • Advanced Painting (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth and Fourth Formers. Students who have previously taken all of the painting courses may apply for this course with an independent project of their choice.

Our Faculty

  • Photo of Monika Andersson

    Monika Andersson

    Visual Arts Department Head, Director de Menil Gallery
    978-448-7636
    Bio
  • Photo of Douglas Brown

    Douglas Brown

    Woodworking, Archivist, Independence Foundation Chair
    978.448.7661
    Bio
  • Photo of Melissa De Jesus-Akuete

    Melissa De Jesus-Akuete

    Art Teacher
    978-448-7386
    Bio
  • Kristen Donovan

    Bio
  • Photo of Jennifer Ho

    Jennifer Ho

    Art Teacher
    978-448-7415
    Bio