Our Vision and Goals
The Visual Arts Department at Poly Prep emphasizes the practice of studio art by helping students develop a sensibility and a commitment to the hands-on, experiential process of art-making. We expose students to a range of ideas, methods, and materials to promote their visual literacy.
We also ask students to participate in a critical analysis of the meaning and practice of studio art. All courses complement studio practice with an investigation into the historical and cultural backgrounds of various periods and styles. We further develop issues relevant to art through discussion, critique, slides, videos, readings, written work, workshops, visiting artists, field trips, and student exhibitions. We emphasize the relationship between art and life to foster an innovative and personal approach to the making of art. The department also works to have students reflect on how art can be a way to think critically and creatively about the world around them.
Our students learn and grow as artists as they work with our faculty in outstanding art-making facilities. Middle and Upper School students use three large, light-filled, loft-like spaces for drawing, painting, doing collage, and other two- dimensional artwork. The ceramics studio makes up our fourth indoor art-making space. Equipped with potters’ wheels and drying racks, our ceramics studio also offers students the rare opportunity to use multiple professional-level kilns (gas-fired, electric, and raku) to enhance their understanding of firing and glazing, both technically and as a means of personal expression. Of course, with our 25-acre college-like campus and our greenhouse, Poly students can also explore the natural world to train the hand and eye, and as a subject of representation.
Exhibitions and Visiting Experts
Key to the development of young artists is opportunities to prepare and exhibit their work and to interact with professionals and visiting experts. At Poly, the Visual Arts Department is committed to rotating displays of student artwork on the walls, hallways, and grounds of the school. Each year, we mount two major shows of student work, in the winter and spring. We also invite artists and other professionals working in the arts and culture, including Poly parents and alumni, to offer workshops, talks, and master classes.