In the Visual Arts Department our goal is to impart in our students visual awareness and acuity.
We look, we make, and we discuss all in the pursuit of understanding the fundamental questions of life: who am I? Why am I here? Where do I come from? What is my purpose? Why do things look the way they do? What if they looked different? We place a high value on craftsmanship through revision, analysis, and a lot of hard work. Sometimes this trilogy gets short shrift in today’s fast-paced world of instant gratification, where we lose our ability for extended focus through multi-tasking. Thus, all of our classes involve some historical analysis and they all require creation in some form or another.
Even though we are not in the business of making artists, almost all of the work students do is meant for public consumption. Their work is seen, critiqued, and evaluated; people respond to their work and in return students evaluate the responses. This public discourse is challenging, but it results in growth and stretching which is especially important in the development of mind, body and soul. Moving through our curriculum in a logical progression from foundational courses that set the stage, then building upon that foundation in advanced electives, allows students to develop at an appropriate level.
To lift a line from Gladiator- “what we do in life echoes in eternity;” we are invested in the process of looking at those echoes and we are trying to make a few of our own. Ars Longus, Vita Brevis (art is long, life is short) - Lawrenceville is honored to maintain this long lasting and important tradition.
This two-term course introduces students to the principles and processes employed by visual artists. The overarching emphasis will be on seeing clearly and creating interesting visual solutions to specific challenges. Course units in the first term will include: The Creative Process, Line, Volume, Perspective, and Color. Through critique and revision ideas will be refined and improved. Work in this class is foundational in nature and it will inform all aspects of a student's education, especially in areas that require design, planning, analysis of results and creative thinking. The second term will focus on the development of drawing skills. This course is a prerequisite for all other electives within the department. A $50 fee will be applied to cover course materials. Terms: T2 and T3; Forms: II
This single term course is similar to VA200 and is available to III, IV, and V Form; it introduces students to the principles and processes employed by visual artists. The overarching emphasis will be on seeing clearly and creating interesting visual solutions to specific challenges. Course units will include: The Creative Process, Line, Volume, Perspective, and Color. Ideas will be refined and improved through critique and revision. Work in this class is foundational in nature and it will inform all aspects of a student's education, especially in areas that require design, planning, analysis of results and creative thinking. This course is a prerequisite for all other electives within the department. A $50 fee will be applied to cover course materials. Terms: T1 or T2 or T3; Forms: III or IV or V
This course will teach you how to see with greater depth and clarity. Students will be introduced to observation-based techniques in order to create illusionistic, realistic drawings. Skills developed will include contour drawing, measuring proportion and transferring angles, and the use of value to enhance the illusion of depth. The least several weeks of the term will foster more individual choice of subject matter and style. By the end of the term students will have generated several portfolio quality drawings and be prepared for more advanced work within the department. Drawing typically serves as a prerequisite for painting (exceptions by portfolio submission to the department chair). A $30 fee will be applied to cover course materials. Terms: T1 or T2 or T3; Forms: III or IV or V; Prereqs: VA200 or VA300
Video Journalism combines the skill of capturing a moment with that of visual storytelling. It is about effective communication and the crafting of stories worth sharing. Early classes will focus on composition skills with close consideration for what it takes to create impactful shots. Storytelling will be explored in detail through the use of storyboarding—the development of ideas through brainstorming and discussion. As foundational skills fall into place we will begin development of shooting and editing skills and learn about the powerful digital tools that can transform an idea into a finished video. Students will develop an understanding for the importance of rhythm and pacing as they get hands on with professional editing software Adobe Premiere and iMovie. Studio shooting and green screen use will be explored. Students will embed themselves in the study of video journalism and learn just what it takes to find and craft a story. At the end of the course, each student will have produced a series of high quality video edits that relate directly to their Lawrenceville experience. The content they create will be broadcast in our highly popular video news show. Terms: T1 or T2 or T3; Forms: III or IV or V; Prereqs: VA200 or VA300
This project-based course introduces students to the design and build process with digital fabrication technologies. Through a series of hands-on design-based projects, students will learn the process of taking an original design idea from concept to finished artifact. Essential to the successful completion of any project is an understanding of Design Thinking methodology and the ability to communicate ideas graphically. Students study the various steps involved in the development of a design from conceptualization to presentation. They learn how to communicate graphically by studying computer-aided drafting and 3D computer modeling, which, in turn, enables them to generate the data necessary to run digital fabrication equipment. Individual research and writing will be used as cognitive tools to strengthen concepts and develop critical thinking skills. A $30 lab fee will be applied to cover course materials. Terms: T1 or T2 or T3; Forms: III or IV or V; Prereqs: VA200 or VA300
This course will support you in strengthening your design thinking skills and creative process as we work through various design challenges rooted in visual communication. Throughout the term we will explore subject areas falling under the umbrella of Graphic Design as we build a solid foundation in concepts such as typography, printmaking, illustration, and more. Our work will introduce us to several design platforms from the Adobe Creative Suite as we consider how digital methods can support and inform our traditional practice. Students will leave this course with portfolio-quality work in addition to a strong understanding of the design process and a foundational experience working through client-based projects. A $50 fee will be applied to cover course materials and program licensing. Terms: T1 or T2 or T3; Forms III, IV, or V; Prereqs: VA200 or VA300.
Painting, an introduction to the properties of paint as a means of visual communication through landscape, still life and degrees of abstraction; in part, this course will emphasize working from observation and requires previous acquisition of drawing skills. Work may be done in a number of media including oil and acrylic; other materials and multimedia will be explored. A $50 fee will be applied to cover course materials. Terms: T1 or T2 or T3; Forms: III or IV or V; Prereqs: VA200 or VA300 AND VA301 (or Department Approval)
An investigation of the way buildings are designed and built, with an emphasis on how buildings relate to their environmental surroundings and interact with their architectural surroundings; this course combines the study of historically significant buildings and walking tours with practical studio work. We will consider current campus architectural plans and projects as well as design a build a model of a small residential dwelling. A $30 fee will be applied to cover course materials. Terms: T3; Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: VA301 or VA302
This course explores design solutions in clay. Students will be introduced to throwing on the wheel, glazing, surface design and the art of raku firing. The development of skills as well as a creative voice will be emphasized. Contemporary as well as historic examples of ceramic design will be studied in order to more fully understand the rich heritage of this storied medium. A $50 fee will be applied to cover course materials. Terms: T1 or T2 or T3; Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: VA301 or VA302
This course will introduce students to the power of images. An introduction to the history of photography and the deep reservoir of images that permeates our lives and informs all images that we make will empower students to make stronger images on their own. Learning to use the camera and the print to manipulate and communicate will be the primary focus of the course. No previous experience is expected other than our foundation course. Most images will be stored electronically; power point presentations and final digital prints will serve as springboards for critique. A lab fee will be charged to subsidize the paper/ink/cameras provided by the department. Terms: T1 or T2 or T3; Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: VA301, VA302 or VA303
This course builds on the technical instruction of Ceramics I. Having had the necessary ceramics foundation in the previous class, the experiences in this visual arts course will allow the serious, dedicated ceramics student to develop an individual style on the wheel. A $50 fee will be applied to cover course materials. Terms: T3; Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: VA412
This course is a continuation of the Photography I class with a concentration on advanced printing techniques and the development of a personal voice. A 35-mm camera with full manual control of shutter speed and f/stop must be provided by the student. A lab fee will be charged to subsidize materials provided by the department. A $50 fee will be applied to cover course materials. Terms: T2 or T3; Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: VA414
Through the analysis of short films and classic features, instruction in the essential principles of dramatic writing, camera operation, production, direction and editing techniques, students develop a basic competence in practicing filmmaking. Each student produces "exercise films" which lay the groundwork for final projects, which will be displayed at an end-of term film festival. Through Sight & Sound, students gain an appreciation for the collaborative nature of film and the requisite skill needed to convert dramatic concepts into final cuts. On the first day of class, students must present story treatments for their final projects. Terms: T3; Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: VA200 or VA300
This course is for serious and self-motivated art students who have moved through our elective offerings and/or are interested in preparing an advanced placement portfolio for submission in May. Various media will be explored. Must meet prerequisites and complete at least two other electives in the Visual Arts department. A $50 fee will be applied to cover course materials. Grants: Honors; Terms: All; Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: VA200 or VA300 and two other studio courses. Department permission also required.
In this advanced class students work more independently. Working with a variety of media, they gain an understanding of materials and building techniques as they take an original design idea of their own choice from concept to finished artifact. Through the use of Design Thinking and a wide range of tools and machinery, they learn how to become makers in the 21st century. Students study in greater depth the various steps involved in the development of a design from conceptualization to completion, expand their ability to communicate graphically by improving their computer-aided drafting and 3D modeling skills, and learn to build scale models and mockups. Additional topics covered include 3D-printing, laser cutting, CNC machining, open-source electronics, and basic woodworking. Experimentation with a variety of materials, including metal and plastic, is encouraged in this course. Individual research and writing are used as cognitive tools to strengthen concepts and develop critical thinking skills. A $30 lab fee will be applied to cover course materials. Terms: T1 or T2 or T3; Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: VA200 or VA300 AND VA302
Students with special interests they wish to explore outside the regular program of courses may apply to drop one course for one term and use the time for independent study. This may involve research or creative work; normally it will culminate in a paper, exhibit, or performance of some kind. Work in such projects is treated exactly like work in regular courses: a final grade is given; students must meet regularly (at least once a week) with their advisor; they must have tangible progress to report at each meeting. Grants: Honors; Terms: T1 or T2 or T3; Forms: All Prereqs: Department Approval
Design-thinking is a user-oriented process that utilizes concepts found in both art and engineering to develop solutions that have the potential to impact individuals, communities, and societies. In Design for Social Change, students take on the role of design-thinkers, identifying and solving problems through a discrete process that includes deep observation, imagination, creativity, prototyping, and iteration. Focused on the intersection of art and engineering, we examine the foundational concepts of both fields and consider design-thinking as the domain where these two disciplines overlap. As students learn how to solve problems through design and work on projects relevant to our community, they engage in discourse on the potential of solving real-world problems with an interdisciplinary approach. In the past, projects have ranged from improving campus dining services, redesigning and repurposing what we recycle in our community, creating new learning environments in our classrooms, strengthening student involvement and participation in school events and traditions, and implementing lasting programs that impact all areas of student life, including social life, arts, athletics, academics and the house system. Additionally, students read and discuss Change by Design by Tim Brown, a leader in the design-thinking movement. Projects range from collaborative enterprises designed by small student groups, as well as individual inventions and interactive presentations, whose goals are to implement designed solutions to make a short or long-term impact on our community. Students are eligible if they have completed their graduation requirement for the arts in any of the three arts disciplines. Grants: Honors Interdisciplinary; 1IN Cr.; Terms: T1; Forms: IV or V; Prereqs: Completion of arts requirement.
Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose. Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.