The click of a shutter. The white space of a canvas. The elegance of a blueprint. Whatever ignites the spark for you, Concord Academy’s visual arts teachers — all of them artists who love collaborating with students — feel it too.
They provide a structured approach to a flexible curriculum that allows students at all levels to thrive. With more than 30 studio art courses, unlimited studio access, and a state-of-the-art media lab, CA’s visual arts facilities invite exploration and inspiration.
From foundational courses in drawing and printmaking to intense studio experiences in painting and fashion design, the possibilities for studying visual arts at CA truly are as wide as you can dream. Many students initially explore a broad range of two- and three-dimensional art forms before focusing on, say, documentary filmmaking or wheel-thrown ceramics. In addition to studio instruction, most visual arts courses include lectures or screenings, group discussions, and critiques. First-level courses serve as introductions to a progressively challenging sequence of courses in subjects such as photography, architecture, digital graphic design, fiber arts, sculpture, screenwriting, art history, and film history, to name just a few.
Drawing on greater Boston’s rich cultural scene, CA supports the study of visual arts with trips to artists’ studios and in-depth, behind-the-scenes engagement at museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, and the Addison Gallery of American Art. At CA, the arts are embraced as a core component of the student experience, and students bring their creative passions to bear in nearly every class.
2D Studio Arts
Still life, landscape, or the human figure — whatever the subject, students of the visual arts at Concord Academy acquire the technical, conceptual, and expressive skills of drawing and design to translate their visions into reality.
Whether exploring self-portraiture or abstract painting, intaglio prints or poster illustration, students in 2D studio arts courses learn the nuances of line, tone, texture, color, and composition. Start with canvas, paper, or a computer screen. There are any number of directions you could go.
Drawing and Painting
Pencil, pen, charcoal. Watercolor, acrylic, oil. Observation and imagination. From quick sketches to polished studies, students progress from abstract mark-making through still life, narrative approaches, landscape, portraiture, and self-portraiture to complex projects that require the articulation of a personal vision.
Printmaking and Book Arts
Etching plates, carving blocks, and transferring impressions — intaglio and relief printmaking techniques open up an array of possibilities for artistic expression. Learn the fundamentals of drypoint and aquatint. Experiment with collographs or solarplate etching. Take what you’ve learned from making prints and extend that work on paper to bookmaking, collage, and the interplay between text and image.
How can symbolism and typography work in tandem to create an iconic image? What are the essential elements of a visual identity? CA students of graphic design pick up tools and techniques that graphic designers use to create the logos, websites, posters, book and album covers, and magazines that surround us. They create designs for clients theoretical and real and discover the designer’s role as visual storyteller.
3D Studio Arts
Guided by experienced artists, CA students learn to think and work in three dimensions, on scales both small and large. There are ample opportunities to learn from historical and contemporary artists as well as to be inventive.
From the tactile experience of handling clay or a bolt of cloth to the complexities of design and composition, engaging in 3D studio arts is hands-on problem-solving — a challenge to unite form and function.
Ceramics and Sculpture
The possibilities for stoneware are endless — wheel-thrown or hand-built, finished with surface texture, high-fire glazes, slips, or stains. Ceramics students might progress from individual exploration of forms to conceptual abstract or figurative work. Or they might end up creating a matching set of dinner place settings with a keen eye to aesthetic design. Sculptors also learn to work with hand- and power-tools and a range of materials — paperboard, foamcore, sheet metal, and wood — to create both intimate works and large-scale, site-specific environmental installations.
Fiber Arts and Fashion Design
When a cloth dipped in an indigo dye pot is lifted into the air, it first flames yellow, then green, before slowly turning a deep blue. Once you see it, you’re not likely to forget it. Creating textiles — felting, knitting, weaving — and altering them — with dye and resists, or by sewing or embroidery — reveals the intricate process behind everyday fabrics. Whether focused on fiber arts or on fashion applications, students gain confidence in color theory and composition. Practice with pattern-making techniques and illustration develop skills needed for the fast-paced fashion industry.
A building can do so much more than provide shelter from the elements. Through case studies and visits to architectural landmarks in the Boston area, CA students of architecture analyze the relationships among form, site, and structure. Learning basic software, drafting, and model-making techniques, they complete group and individual assignments that are reviewed by local architects, culminating in a site-specific project on the CA campus.
When we frame the world through a camera, we find new ways of looking at ourselves. From the darkroom to the film editing studio, careful manipulations of film and digital material afford opportunities for self-expression and communication.
Through a progressive series of courses and projects, CA students gain the technical understanding and conceptual drive to achieve fluency in the visual media of the 21st century.
Grounded in the history of the medium and the possibilities of film and darkroom craft, CA students can engage in black-and-white and color photography, film and digital. Experimentation is encouraged, and flexible assignments allow student to pursue personal interests. Critiques of work in progress help students place their own work in a cultural and historical context and provide feedback for their project’s growth toward a portfolio of cohesive work.
Concord Academy’s robust film program balances individual and collaborative work, preparing students for the practical realities of digital filmmaking. Film history serves as a guide to understanding the narrative structures that create engaging cinematic stories and the cinematographic and editorial decisions that give movies impact. Through exercises and projects, CA students get direct experience in writing, shooting, directing, and editing films, with opportunities to focus on narrative or documentary films and to collaborate on a semester-long capstone project. CA Films arranges screenings for the community and submits finished films to domestic and international film festivals. Most recently, a student project, MERGE, was featured at the Boston SciFi Film Festival and at Sci-Fi-London in 2016.