Our Strategic Vision

Visual Arts

Work in a Broad Range of Media

Our Visual Arts program is a cohesive, developmental sequence that spans kindergarten through 12th grade. Throughout the program, students are exposed to the history of art, looking at the work of many artists and civilizations to inspire and excite their own work. The curriculum includes work in a broad range of media including drawing and painting, sculpture, ceramics, woodworking, photography, and video.

We have a series of well-equipped art studios clustered together and staffed with eight professional faculty who are trained in both education and art. Each teacher produces artwork in his/her own media and many continue to exhibit.

A Peek into the Arts at BFS: All-School Art Show 2023

Visual Arts by Division

Lower School Visual Arts

Lower School Visual Arts courses encourage self-expression and explore design, shapes, color, textures, composition, balance, and abstract and representational themes through craypas, pencils, clay, papier maché, watercolor, and tempera paint. The children learn how to analyze their own work and the works of others as they explore various disciplines, including drawing, printmaking, collage, sculpture, and painting.

Sample projects include collages, monoprints, printmaking, craypas portraits, papier-maché animals and busts, paintings inspired by the work of famous artists, Calder-inspired abstract mobiles, African-inspired clay masks, stamp carving, printing handbound sketchbooks, and woodworking.

The woodworking program combines manual skills with Visual Arts concepts. Each class begins the year with a directed project, to learn and reinforce such skills as sawing, hammering, measuring, using a square accurately, and understanding wood dimensions and increasingly complex mathematical concepts.

Middle School Visual Arts

The visual arts curriculum in Middle School continues and expands on the work explored in previous grades. In fifth and sixth grades, all students take Art Studio for one semester and Ceramics for the other semester. Seventh and eighth grade students take semester-long arts electives.

One of the art projects in Art Studio classes relates directly to another area of the grade-level curriculum. Fifth grade projects have included plaster carvings of Egyptian gods, mosaics in the style of ancient Greece and Rome, and sculptures of cakes and pastries. Sixth grade projects have included stained glass and tile niches with Islamic inspired patterning, and pen and ink drawings. Ceramics classes teach slab techniques, pinch pots, sculpture, jewelry making, wheel throwing, and glaze chemistry.

Seventh and eighth grade arts electives include ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, video production, digital photography, animation, and woodworking.

Upper School Visual Arts

Arts workshops in two- and three-dimensional formats are offered throughout Upper School as well as electives in ceramics and design (exploring architecture, fashion/textile, landscape, interior, lighting, product/industrial, transportation, toy, and graphic design). Darkroom and advanced digital photography are options, and the IB program’s Visual Arts I & II are taught over a two-year period to encourage students to develop a serious body of work, with evolving connections and themes in their own art in a variety of media and forms.