McDonogh's visual arts program inspires students at every grade level to express themselves and to understand the world around them through the study and creation of art. By introducing students to the tools and techniques of two- and three-dimensional art, McDonogh’s faculty stimulate students to participate fully in the artistic process. Students immerse themselves in this process by means of projects that call upon their ability to think divergently, problem-solve, and explore their intuitive abilities.
Curiosity, intuitive thinking, discovery, exploration are the habits of mind nurtured by the Lower School visual arts curriculum. From their first moments in the Lower School, students are inspired to think in divergent ways as they become familiar with a variety of materials and techniques. They learn to problem-solve as they practice the elements and principles of design, and as a result, discover their own capacity for visual expression. Students are inspired to take risks in a safe environment so that they can realize their full potential. The interdisciplinary curriculum allows students to discover connections and find more meaning and relevancy in their work.
Projects are often inspired by well-known artists and diverse cultures so students become aware of, and compassionate towards, others in our multicultural world. Museum and gallery tours, visiting artists, and cross-divisional events provide additional experiences that cultivate a love of two-and three-dimensional art. These experiences culminate in the spring Imagination Celebration, an exhibit showcasing samples of each child's artwork.
Through imaginative problem solving and divergent thinking, middle schoolers are challenged to create art through self-expression. Each student is exposed to a wide variety of tools and techniques as they explore contemporary American art as well as that of other cultures cultivating an understanding of the value of art in their own lives and reflecting the lives of others. Through group critiques of peer work, collaboration, and purposeful introspection, every student experiences personal growth as an artist.
The Middle School arts program celebrates students’ growth and accomplishments by exhibiting their work within the community. Visiting artists, cross-divisional projects, and field trips augment the daily experiences students have in the studio.
The Upper School Visual Arts Department is dedicated to cultivating an inclusive, dynamic, and joyful environment in order to aid in the personal growth of student-artists. Students are exposed to a broad range of artistic media with a focus on both craft and concept. The department encourages students to explore their individual areas of curiosity while embracing the technical and conceptual skills gained during their time in the Visual Arts Department. Whatever their involvement in visual arts, student-artists emerge confident in their own creativity.
The visual arts faculty, whose enthusiasm for art-making inspires students at all levels, are practicing professional artists in their own fields of study. Upper School student artwork is displayed in hallways, hanging from ceilings across campus, and in the Tuttle Gallery, McDonogh’s formal exhibition space. Student artists also have opportunities for college portfolio preparation.