Our Program

Visual Arts

Our Vision for Visual Arts

Poly Is the Imagination—Our 21st-Century 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.

Art-Making Facilities
Our students learn and grow as artists as they work with our faculty in outstanding art-making facilities. Middle and Upper School students use two large, light-filled, loft-like spaces for drawing, painting, doing collage, and other two- dimensional artwork. The ceramics studio makes up our third 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 are opportunities to prepare and exhibit their work and to interact with professionals and visiting experts. At Poly, the Visual Arts Department is committed to yearlong rotating displays of student artwork on the walls and in the hallways of the school. Each year, we also mount three major shows of student work, in the winter and spring, and the annual Senior Show—one each with its epicenter in the Tower Gallery, a dedicated art exhibition space at the base of Poly’s “Tall White Tower.” Each year, we also organize a visiting artists week for Middle and Upper students which includes an intensive round of workshops and master classes given by visiting professional artists, including Poly parents and alumni. 

Explore our Curriculum

Visual Arts Faculty

List of 7 members.

  • Daniel Herwitt 

    Title: Visual Arts (Upper School)
    Business Phone: (718) 836-9800 ext. 3840
  • Keith Mendak 

    Title: Visual Arts Department Chair
    Business Phone: (718) 836-9800 ext. 6050
  • Laura Coppola '95 

    Title: Visual Arts; Performing Arts (Upper School)
    Business Phone: (718) 836-9800 ext. 3730
    Education: Middlebury College - BA
    Hunter College - MA
  • Helena Elko 

    Title: Visual Arts (Middle School)
    Business Phone: (718) 836-9800 ext. 6809
  • Yong Hwi Kim P'22 

    Title: Visual Arts (Middle/Upper School)
    Business Phone: (718) 836-9800, ext. 6140
    Education: Kem Young University - BFA
    Long Island University, C.W. Post - MFA
  • Patti Smith, P'20 

    Title: Visual Arts (Lower School)
    Business Phone: (718) 836-9800, ext. 6274
    Education: Boston University - BS
  • Heidi Zarou '86, P'22, '22 

    Title: Visual Arts (Lower School)
    Business Phone: (718) 836-9800, ext. 6561
    Education: Bennington College - BA

Lower School

50 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, New York 11215 | (718) 768-1103

Middle/Upper School

9216 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11228 | (718) 836-9800