Departments and Courses

Visual Art

The Visual Arts Department offers a challenging program with high expectations, for all levels of students. The department champions the importance of both process and product. Students should expect significant homework for most art classes. Our assignments require students to explore different approaches, which help them to feel comfortable taking creative risks. Any class may be taken more than once. We rarely mandate prerequisites; however, previous visual art class experience is suggested but not required for some courses. Advanced students, in some cases, may take independent study classes, if planned at least one module in advance. Not every course listed below is offered every year. Note: There are lab fees for all art courses, usually between 20 and 50 dollars.

  • 3D Character Design

    In this course, students will learn how to create 3D models and animate them. They will complete three projects: creating a 3D model based on 2D image; designing an original 3D character; and integrating a 3D animation into live-action footage.
  • 3D Printed Art

    In this course students will learn basic computer aided design (CAD) software, explore the possibilities of 3D printing, and solve various challenges by designing solutions to those challenges. Challenges might relate to architecture, product design, wearable objects for the body, art objects, toys, and more. Fundamentals of design theory, and how design fits into our world will be included.
  • 3D Printing and Design Solutions

    In this course students will learn basic computer aided design (CAD) software, explore the possibilities of 3D printing, and solve various challenges by designing solutions to those challenges. Challenges might relate to architecture, product design, wearable objects for the body, art objects, toys, and more. Fundamentals of design theory, and how design fits into our world will be included.
  • Advanced Concepts: Shadows

    (New 2016-2017)
    , is an art course where the concept will be at the center of the art making and explorations. It’s a course that would focus on a central theme (in this case shadows), but also a deep inquiry into the theme via art making, art history, as well as through social, philosophical, and theoretical lenses. It will include intensive readings and discussions, written and visual reflections to help explore the theme from many angles including the personal, to make connections between many aspects of a concept. The art making will evolve from these explorations and may include individual and class collaborations. It is not material specific, but open to individual interests.
    (*This version focuses on Shadows, but the idea is that any art instructor could propose-through the proper channels, their own version of this class, to focus on a specific concept that could rotate)
    Shadows would explore concepts such as Plato’s cave, what is unseen or obvious, absences and remnants, what is allowed to be perceived and what is blocked and the boundaries between, shadow as alter ego, illusions of drawings and projections, and more. Student interest will play a role in the explorations of the class. 
  • Animated Film

    In this course, students will explore a range of animation techniques across both analog and digital platforms, including long-exposure photography, digital scanning, and 3D tracking and compositing. Approaching animation as a concept, rather than a technique related to any specific technology, they will learn how to think across multiple art disciplines, incorporating a range of mediums into their projects.
  • Art and Community

    Length: 2 blocks

    Students from CSW will be working with middle school students from the Mather School in Dorchester on a variety of creative projects. This course is sponsored by the National Arts and Learning Collaborative, which is committed to helping students experience the educational power of the arts. Three days each week CSW students will be meeting and planning for their Mather School visit on the other two days of the week. This class runs C and D Block to accommodate travel to and from Dorchester. This course grants one arts credit plus a D Block credit.

    This course can award community service credit upon completion if the student completes the community service paperwork and acquires the instructor's signature.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement. 

  • Art and Idea

    Students examine a variety of concepts and motivations behind contemporary art making. This is a demanding course, which requires students to work on projects that will be critiqued the next day in class. There are a variety of reading and writing assignments, including a written personal statement about their interest in art. This course is for senior students planning on going to art school or majoring in art in college.
  • Art and Science of the Human Body

    (Prerequisite: Completed 10th-grade science, or permission from instructor)

    This integrated studies course provides students with an innovative and challenging way to explore the complexity of human physiology. Students will be asked to use visual arts and graphic design skills to document many aspects of the mystery and wonder of the human body systems. The course will involve independent research on the systems of students’ choosing and the students will engage with this material from a scientific and artistic point of view.

    Students will research one of the body systems in its entirety or in detail. The systems to be considered are: the nervous, the cardiovascular, the respiratory, the skeletal, the endocrine and muscle, or the digestive, reproductive, and lymphatic systems. After their research, students must create a significant artwork or series of pieces which communicates the beauty, the function, and emotional elements connected to the system. Finally, students are required to think independently and devise a final project of their own design that incorporates very clear scientific understanding with the craft and vision of an original artistic statement.
    This course awards 1 Science or 1 Visual Art credit.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice graduation requirement.
  • Art for Social Change

    Art for Social Change is a course designed for students to explire and express their ideas about what social changes are needed. They would be working on visual art projects that are both designed for public display and projects designed for more private or personal reflection. These projects could be: drawing, painting, digital work, film, or simple constructions. They would also work on performance art pieces designed for public presentation and ones for more personal reflection. Topics such as privilege, oppression, awareness, dignity, and equity would be considered. Students would engege in regular collaborative group critiques during this intellectual and hands on visual arts course.
  • Art Lab (M,W)

    This is open to students who have received the department chair’s permission to work in the art building during D Block. Students must be enrolled in an art class during the module they take D Block Art Lab.
  • Art Lab (T,F)

    This is open to students who have received the department chair’s permission to work in the art building during D Block. Students must be enrolled in an art class during the module they take D Block Art Lab.
  • Art of the Book

    In this course, students will learn several traditional bookbinding techniques, along with the materials and tools used to create a variety of book structures. Investigate different styles and use various papers and book construction methods including accordion, Japanese stab, pamphlet stitch, long stitch, and Coptic. Ways to incorporate imagery into the books will be discussed. 
  • Black and White Digital Photo

    The goal of this course is for students to discover the expressive possibilities of monochrome digital photography. Exploring the unique beauty and subtlety of grayscale images, they are asked to make personal visual statements. As in all of our digital photography courses, Adobe Photoshop software is viewed as a vehicle for making qualitative changes to views of the external world—as opposed to being the basis for the creation of computer-generated art. Assignments include portrait and self‑portrait, landscape, fashion, still life, and street photography.
  • Ceramic Sculpture

    This class is both for students with ceramics experience and for those with little or none. Assignments are designed to help students discover the limits and possibilities of clay. Students are challenged to develop their skills and expressive abilities.
  • Digital Photo 1 (Color Photo)

    In this color photography course, students will learn the basics of making images with digital cameras and entering these images into the computer to correct/improve them in the “digital darkroom.” Technical and aesthetic issues will be addressed through various assignments. Students will leave this course with a solid foundation in the aesthetics of photography, combined with skills to shoot, manipulate, and print.
  • Digital Photo 2

    Not Offered 2017-2018

    Prerequisite: Photo 1, Digital Photo, or permission of instructor

    Photo students will be asked to further refine and expand their artistic vision by creating a portfolio of related digital photos. Students will also further develop their digital darkroom skills.
  • Digital Street Photography

    In this course, students will explore the street photography genre. This is the candid, spontaneous photography of people going about their daily lives—on the streets, in parks, in museums, in malls, in any public space. Students will experience the challenge of working with a subject that is constantly changing before them. By looking at the work of past masters of this form such as Kertesz, Cartier‑Bresson, Levitt, Friedlander, and Winogrand, they will gain an understanding of the importance of timing—both in terms of recognizing strong human moments and quickly organizing forms within the picture frame.
  • Documentary Photo Project

    (Prerequisite: Photo 1)

    In this course, each student will use photography to make a visual statement about a specific aspect of our society. Students will first consider the meaning and function of social documentary photography. Projects by photographers such as Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange, and Sebastiao Salgado will be viewed. Students will then research a subject of importance or personal interest and create a photographic essay about it. As the mod progresses, students will print and edit their images, refine their ideas and produce a final portfolio. This course requires a commitment to doing consistent offcampus photography.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice graduation requirement.
  • Documenting Spring Flora and Wetlands

    Not Offered 2017-2018

    Prerequisite: Cell Biology

    This course combines the study of biology with digital (or conventional) photography. The school campus and the woodland and wetland resources of Cat Rock Park will provide focal points to document the coming of spring. Students will choose an area of interest and document their subject with field note observations, small-scale studies and photography. The Art Department computer lab and a biology lab with equipment for photomicroscopy will be available to carry out student work. This course grants either one lab science or one arts credit.
  • Drawing: Abstraction and Process

    (Prerequisite: Drawing: Naturalism and Observation strongly suggested)

    In this class, students build upon the foundational rendering skills developed in Naturalism and Observation and move from rendering the world naturalistically to embracing issues of abstraction to varying degrees. This class includes an in-depth exploration of the principles of design and the construction of composition, as well as the processes of intuition, gesture, and mark‑making, emphasizing personal self‑expression to gain a richer understanding of non‑objective approaches to drawing.
  • Drawing: Advanced Drawing Studio

    (Prerequisite: Previous drawing course and Collage are suggested)

    Even though this is an advanced-level drawing course, all levels of students can benefit from taking this class. Students are expected to work for an extended period of time on a suite of 10‑20 drawings in which visual style and conceptual ideas are thoroughly developed. This class is designed for experienced art students looking for an opportunity to explore content in their art.
  • Drawing: Advanced Naturalism

    (Drawing: Naturalism and Observation suggested)
    Students in this course will further develop their observational/representational rendering skills by taking on more significant challenges than those offered in Naturalism and Observation.
  • Drawing: Collage

    (Prerequisite: Previous drawing course suggested)

    Students will learn about the history of collage as they work with a wide variety of materials to create twodimensional artworks. Students will be asked to create carefully and precisely, as well as to work spontaneously. They will be using strategies from surrealists to pop artists and beyond, to work with found images as well as images.

  • Drawing: Conceptual Strategies

    (Prerequisite: Previous drawing course strongly suggested)

    In this class, students build upon the foundational skills developed in Naturalism and Observation and Abstraction and Design, and will focus on conceptual approaches to drawing and artmaking. Students will develop a wide range of strategies for visually and conceptually expressing ideas in drawing.
  • Drawing: Life Drawing

    (Prerequisite: Previous drawing course suggested)

    Learning to draw the human body is a very challenging and rewarding visual problem. The class draws from the nude model on most class days. We want students to develop an understanding of proportion, anatomy, gesture, and creative use of line in two‑dimensional space.
  • Drawing: Naturalism and Observation

    In this foundational drawing class, students will focus on developing their observational/representational rendering skills (naturalism). The course is structured to train the eye to see and the hand to respond. This is a challenging course designed for both beginning and advanced students. The homework is significant. Many students take this course more than once to develop their skills.
  • Drawing: Nonobjective Abstraction

    Not Offered 2017-2018

    Nonobjective Abstraction is a course designed to explore personally significant, nonobjective imagery. With few assignments and frequent class critiques, emphasis is placed on the development of personal voice and creative discovery. In this class the impetus for what to draw derives entirely from students’ personal experiences and memories and not from the visual, naturalistic world. Taking Drawing (Abstraction and Process) is suggested, but not mandatory. This course will be offered every other year, in rotation with Advanced Drawing Studio.
  • Drawing: Otherness and Social Justice

    In this class students explore human rights and develop a body of drawings addressing their study. The course is designed to provide students with opportunities to explore fundamental human rights and varying Western/non-Western viewpoints and perspectives through the exploration of art as a vehicle to promote and encourage social change. Areas of focus include: otherness, prejudice, discrimination of and advocacy for minority groups, the LBGTQ+ community, and women. Historical examples of art and advocacy are examined. The course blends both the critique and debate teaching models with studio art practices.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice graduation requirement.
  • Drawing: Self-Portrait

    Students will be asked to explore the possibilities of self‑portrait, focusing on charcoal drawing as well as using a variety of other techniques and materials. All students are welcome to explore this challenging opportunity.
  • Environmental Photo

    (Prerequisite: Photo 1)

    Students will explore the concept of environment in various forms—as the natural world, as humanaltered landscapes, as interior spaces, or as personally interpreted worlds. Slide presentations on the work of artists include Atget, Walker Evans, Richard Misrach, and Lois Connor. In addition to darkroom work and slide presentations, classes will include weekly critiques.
  • Examining Media as a Mirror: A Statistical and Visual Approach to Deconstructing False Narratives

    Who does the media say we are? What does it mean if we are seeing our reflections in a false media mirror? How can we analyze and describe the types of distortions that we are seeing? Students will use a statistical and visual art approach to explore the portrayal of various demographics in the media. How are non-dominant groups such as women, racial and ethnic minorities and LGBT people in the media portrayed? How are dominant groups portrayed? How do these stories shape the narratives in which we all live? Students will examine metrics such as screen time, dialogue, and casting through statistical tools such as t-tests, chisquare tests, and linear regressions to reveal the underlying distortions in what we see. They will then use visual art techniques such as compilation, montage, and the film essay to explore and deconstruct clichés and stereotypes and create graphs of discovered data, trends and patterns to explore and process the data. The final project will be a self-portrait that explores the ideas of false mirrors versus authentic narrative.
  • Experimental Film

    In this course, students will explore various alternatives to traditional narrative and documentary filmmaking, including non-continuity editing, video installation art, and methods for manipulating video file data. Using a variety of technology and software, they will create three projects designed to teach them these skills while helping them develop their own personal mode of filmmaking. In addition to learning experimental techniques, they will also examine the ideas and attitudes upon which the genre is based by watching and discussing numerous works by prominent experimental filmmakers.
  • Exploring World Cinema

    This course is a film history beginning with German Expressionism and exploring Surrealist film, Neorealism, and the New Wave, and culminating with a look at world cinema from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. We will study filmmakers Djibril Diop Mambety (Senegal), Bahman Ghobadi (Iran), Satyajit Ray (India), and Wang Xiaoshuai (China), among others.
  • Film & Story

    (Previously listed as Narrative Film) In this course, students will learn the fundamental techniques of narrative filmmaking, include storyboarding, cinematography, micing, and continuity editing. Working independently and in crews, they will create three films designed to tell stories visually with DSLR cameras, high-quality microphones, lights, and Final Cut Pro software. Throughout the course, they will also watch and discuss films by numerous narrative filmmakers.
  • Film Remix

    (Previously listed as Appropriation in Film) Students will learn how to recombine pre-existing video clips and other digital media, including music, photographs, and 3D models, investigating the potential of this artistic technique as a tool for creating radical cultural critique. In addition to studying various forms of appropriation in film and video, such as parody, pastiche, montage, fake-trailers, re-dubs, mash-ups, and compilation films, students will examine several prominent filmmakers who have used appropriated footage in their work, including Dara Birnbaum, Abigail Child, Sharon Sandusky, Rene Vienet, and Michael Wallin.
  • From Venus to Guerrilla Girls: Women Redefining Self Through Art

    (Prerequisite: Art experience recommended)

    (10/11/12) In this course students will become familiar with art made by women (women’s art history), the multitude of subject matters of women’s art, the systematic and political influences that affected women’s ability to make art and the subject matter of their art, and historical changes that allowed for an emergence of women’s art on a larger scale. Art projects will examine issues, materials, and art forms that relate to the women’s art movement and women’s art in general.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice graduation requirement. 
  • Historical Processes in Black and White Photography

    This photography course will combine early photo history and practice. We will begin with the camera obscura, work through to pinhole cameras, continue through the late 19th century and early 20th century in coating materials with various emulsions, expose light sensitive materials using ultraviolet light instead of an enlarger, and complete the mod exploring medium- and large-format photography, which produces extremely detailed negatives with fine grain.
  • History of Film

    Not Offered for 2017-2018

    From the silent film {Greed}, filmed in 1926 by Erich von Stroheim, through the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1940s, to the contemporary {Mean Streets} by Martin Scorcese, students will be analyzing film structure in written response papers. For a final project students will focus on a particular film, director or genre and make a final presentation to the class which will include film clips to substantiate their views.
  • Images of Identity

    Not Offered 2017-2018

    Prior visual arts classes recommended.

    This is an art-making class designed to allow students to examine various issues surrounding the subject of identity in art. Through current and historical lenses, the class will examine how gender, class, ethnicity and other relevant issues affect both the viewer and the maker of the work of art. Students will create work in a variety of media.
  • Independent Art

    With permission of the instuctor and department head, students can pursue independent projects in the discipline of art.
  • Installation Art

    Students will explore the creative possibilities of using space as an artistic medium, examining an array of installation practices, from ancient Greek theatre to Walt Disney World rides, and experimenting with a variety of different media and techniques. They will also discuss several prominent installation artists, including Felix Gonzales‑Torres, Yayoi Kusama, James Turrell, Kara Walker, and Ai WeiWei, becoming fluent in such concepts as immersion, interactivity, simulacrum, and gesamtkunstwerk, and learning how to apply them to their own work.
  • Introduction to Computer Aided Design (CAD)

    (New 2014-2015) To expose students to the process of designing and creating objects using 3D modeling and manufacturing tools. Students will learn how to use both additive and subtractive techniques in unique ways to achieve their final products. Tools used will include Autodesk’s 123D Design, cross platform, simple and free CAD software. Available for Mac OS, Windows, iOS and as a webclient.
    • Additive manufacturing - 3D printer: generates small parts using resin or plastic which can be easily finished or added to an assembly. Limitations: overall size, quality and complexity of the parts.
    • Subtractive manufacturing - Laser cutter: cuts and etches a range of sheet goods with high precision. Limitations: thickness of materials.
    • Traditional tools: scales, prints and a digital caliper for demonstration purposes. Simple hand tools to finish parts prior to assembly.
  • Issues in Global and National Public Health: Analysis and Action

    (Prerequisites: 10th-grade science and Algebra 2)

    (11/12) The goal of this class is for students to use the lens of global and national public health issues to understand how decisions can be made about complex problems with often incomplete data. In addition to these issues, students will learn to see patterns in data, analyze their significance and visualize them in a variety of ways. Case studies on infectious and chronic diseases and the role of social inequity in health outcomes will be examined through a variety of assessments, including research and opinion papers and a final project with a service component in which students will address a local issue. Students may focus on topics within global and national public health ranging from racial, socioeconomic, and political forces on access to health care, women’s health, infant mortality, food safety and water issues, vaccines, immigration and language barriers, prescription drugs and intellectual property, and the role of world health organizations.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice graduation requirement.
  • Motion Graphics Design

    In this course, students will learn a variety of advanced video editing techniques primarily in Adobe After Effects software, including chromakeying, masking, rotoscoping, and 3D tracking and compositing, culminating in a final project in which they create a dynamic, animated film using 3D models and third-party plug-ins. Throughout the course, they will also examine works by numerous contemporary artists who incorporate motion graphics into their work.
  • Multishot Techniques in Digital Photography

    (formerly Digitial Photo II)
    (Prerequisites: Photo I, Digital Photo, or permission of the instructor)
    This course explores two new exciting technical areas in Digital Photography.  The first is called HDR (or High Dynamic Range).  Students will learn to blend the best of multiple images to create a singular digital expression with a rich and dynamic tonal range. In addition, they will also learn another technique called stitching, where they will stitch multiple images together to create a digital piece with a unique and expanded viewpoint. Other multi-shot techniques that may be explored in this course are focus stacking and super resolution. Prior experience in Photo I, Digital Photo, or Digital Collage is recommended but not required.
  • Ordering Chaos

    (9/10) This Integrated Studies course is designed to inspire students to develop their creative problemsolving skills. Students are continually asked to think “outside the box” as they make connections among different disciplines like science, English, math, and art. Using skills and ideas from each discipline, students are given the opportunity to reflect on concepts and ponder their own newly formed ideas as they create a variety of projects. Working successfully in groups and being an active, thoughtful participant throughout the course are important goals for each student. This class is designed in part as an introduction to the type of creative problem solving that students will be asked to do throughout their time at CSW. It is also a vehicle for the students to understand better who they are as learners, to celebrate cognitive diversity, and to acknowledge both the strengths of their intelligences and their challenges as learners.
  • Painting: Abstraction and Process

    Not Offered for 2017-2018

    Painting: Abstraction and Process, formerly known as Painting II, concentrates on mark-making, gesture, intuitive and emotional forms of expression (“non-objective” painting). This course is designed to help students gain an understanding of abstraction through paint, composition and the interaction of color.
  • Painting: Naturalism

    Students are introduced to skills, techniques, and concepts basic to painting, particularly color theory and color mixing, composition, paint application, and surface treatment. There is no prerequisite, but the department strongly encourages students to take Drawing: Naturalism and Observation before taking this course. Specific assignments will vary depending on instructor.
  • Personal Documentary Video

    Not Offered for 2017-2018

    Recommended foundation: Photo I or permission of the instructor

    This course focuses on the theory and practice of documentary filmmaking using digital technology. Using Canon Elura 85 cameras and Final Cut Pro® software, each student will explore family and personal history in a series of short films. Political, aesthetic and philosophical issues in documentary film and photography are discussed.
  • Photography 1

    This is an introductory course in black and white photography with instruction in camera technique, film exposure, development, and printmaking. This class provides students with a basic understanding of the photographic process. Weekly assignments encourage students to think about photography as a means of personal expression.
  • Photography 2

    (Prerequisite: Photo 1 or permission of the instructor)

    This course is for students who already have a basic understanding of the black and white photographic process. Students are asked to experiment with the compositional structuring of their photographs through a variety of visual assignments. These visual exercises challenge students to discover their personal strengths while developing individual styles and techniques. Additional emphasis is placed on refining printing techniques.
  • Photography 3

    (Prerequisites: Photo 1 and Photo 2)

    Each student in this advanced class pursues a project of choice and produces a portfolio of photographs, which will work together with respect to a series, style, and point of view. Emphasis is placed on developing personal imagery and achieving excellence in printmaking techniques.
  • Pinhole Photography

    Students will create their own pinhole cameras and explore the unique picture‑making possibilities of this most basic photographic apparatus. Students will experience the paradox of photography’s technical simplicity and expressive open‑endedness. Paper negatives are made in daylight and artificial light and these are then used to produce positive prints in the darkroom.
  • Portrait Photography

    (Prerequisite: Photo I)

    In this course, students will explore the possibilities of the photographic representation of the human face. Through slide presentations and discussions of historical and contemporary photographic portraiture, many different approaches to the subject are considered. The portrait as fact might include physical description or objective record. Dramatized, stylized portraits involve arranged lighting, costumes, and props. Other exercises may include distorted portraits or portraits of someone the photographer is curious about, but hesitant to approach. In addition to darkroom work and slide presentations, students will have time to shoot in the classroom with studio lighting.

  • Printmaking

    (New 2015-2016) Printmaking has the potential to imbue drawing techniques with a physicality that pencil and paper cannot produce. In this course students focus on building a foundation of knowledge around copperplate intaglio printmaking in which the image is incised into the plate. Students will explore a variety of techniques including, but not limited to, etching, engraving, drypoint, aquatint and use of the printing press. Discussions will cover the history of print as a medium, how it has developed over time and what significance intaglio holds in a contemporary art setting. This course will focus on the development of a specific set of skills that can be taken and applied across disciplines.
  • Re-Ordering Chaos

    (11/12) Using math and visual arts skills, students will explore a variety of questions, assumptions, projects and theories that challenge stereotypes about math and art. Possible topics could include the meaning of zero and infinity, the square root of two, Platonic Sections, the geometry of five pointed stars, what makes math beautiful, what makes art practical, what is the role of chaos and creative risk-taking in math, why does art require discipline and order, what happens with fractals, and more. This course awards 1 Math or 1 Art credit.
  • Sculptural Elements: Line and Form

    Line is one of the most basic of all visual elements. In this course, students will explore line (through the material of wire) and how it can be used to define a surface, a form, and even an environment. We will learn basic wire manipulation techniques of attaching, weaving, and forming, as well as how to attain structure on various scales, how it works with light to create shadow, how adding a skin can transform a structure, and more.
  • Sculpture: Assemblage

    (Not Offered for 2017-2018)

    In this class students will explore the history of assemblage and box construction. Students will be asked to work with found objects and many other materials as they create their own personal assemblage and or box art. Students develop a single major work in this class along with rigorous support materials such as a notebook and dossiers on the various subjects delved into by content of their project. Woodworking and light electronic skills are developed depending on interest and need.
  • Sculpture: Environmental Sculpture

    Can art be more than visual? Can it effect change? This is a course working outside the parameters of making art for traditional gallery and museum settings, “the white cube.” Issues of site, place, sustainability, longevity, interaction, transformation will be considered among others. Materials of choice will include primarily natural and “green” materials, using a variety of inventive techniques on and around CSW’s campus
  • Sculpture: Introduction to Sculpture

    In this course, students will explore various basic methods and materials related to creating sculptural artwork. Both traditional and non-traditional aspects of working in three dimensions will be investigated. Each module will begin with a series of exercises to familiarize the students with fundamental skills. This will be followed by longer projects that explore observational, conceptual, and abstractive methods. All projects ask students to consider the specific qualities, traditions, and meanings related to sculpture. This class is open to all.
  • Sculpture: Jewelry and Small Objects

    This course will teach students to use metalsmithing techniques in creating jewelry, small sculptures, and objects. Students will learn basic techniques of cutting, cold joining, forming, soldering, and various finishing techniques. We will explore jewelry not only as decorative adornment, but also as small objects that interact with the body, and can convey ideas as with any work of art.
  • Sculpture: Lillliputians, Hidden Worlds, and Flea Circuses

    (10-12)  In this course, students will use methods of sculpture to explore art making on a very small scale.  Through readings, discussions, explorations and exercises, we will create small sculptures based on other worlds, memories, toys, fantasy, and the ways we view things on a minute scale. We will incorporate a variety of materials, and techniques. Past experience in sculpture and tool usage is very helpful.
  • Sculpture: Raku

    Raku involves a unique method of firing which originated in Japan in connection with the Tea Ceremony. Pieces are removed from the kiln while red hot, and then may be placed directly into materials, such as leaves or sawdust, to be reduced in an air‑free atmosphere. The pots are cooled instantly in cold water. This process produces some exciting glaze effects. Students have the opportunity to fire their own pieces.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice graduation requirement.
  • Sculpture: Wearable Art

    In this course, students make art that can be worn on the body. Students use traditional sewing materials but also work with non-traditional materials, with a strong focus on concepts and the transformation of materials. Some sewing experience is strongly recommended.
  • Sculpture: Wheelworking

    Students focus on basic wheel throwing techniques, such as centering and throwing cylinders, bowls, and bottles. Assignments stress the functional qualities of the thrown form. By the end of the module, there may be some time to explore the personal expression one can achieve with wheelthrown forms.
  • String Theory: Fiber Crafts

    In this D-Block, students will have the opportunity to work with fiber mediums such as knitting, crochet, embroidery, and friendship bracelet making. Students of all grades and experience levels are welcome. More experienced students can work on independent projects, and those with less experience can learn from their peers and teachers.
  • Techniques in Experimental Filmmaking

    (Not Offered 2017-2018)
    This course is for filmmakers of all experience levels who want to incorporate the expressive techniques of experimental film into their film production. In this hands-on course students develop, produce, shoot, and edit a short film, learning the basic technicalities and structure of Super 8 and 16mm filmmaking along the way. The class will watch avant-garde films and discuss how film can be used as a form of personal expression. A strong effort will be made to screen works in the original presentation format, otherwise works will be screened on DVD. Projection techniques on Super 8 and 16mm projectors will also be covered. Class time will be devoted to viewing student work in various stages of production. Some outside of class work is necessary for planning, shooting and editing. All equipment is provided, but students pay for their own film, processing and supplies. There will be a lab fee of $40 for materials.
  • The Activist Print

    This course is intended for any students who have felt at some point that their opinion has not been heard and any student who feels they have something to say. Students will be introduced to the process of relief printing and how it can be utilized to communicate ideas. Students will be exposed to an overview of the history of relief printing as a form of activism while creating their own projects. The first class projects will be focused on developing a visual language for each student’s unique brand of activism and will take the form of posters and pamphlets. The course will culminate in a group project where students will collaborate to create a large scale print of an image they have agreed upon. Students will leave the course with a better understanding of the role that visual art can play in activism and with the experience of having created work intended to clearly communicate an idea.
  • The Art of Buildings

    The Art of Buildings is a course designed for students to explore and express their ideas on how building can be an expressions of social and personal belief about what is important in the world. Students would work in scaled foam core construction, ceramic hand building, photo, drawing, and actual building material construction. Topics such as privilege, access, opression, equity, and what matters to a society would be considered as well as issues of beauty, meaning, wonder, and personal expression. Visiting architechs would be an element of the class. Students will engage in regular collaborative group critiques during this intellectual, and hands on visual art course.
  • Video Art: The Moving Image

    Video art has been described as the “electronic canvas.” In this course, students will learn to use the moving image as an artwork unto itself. Students will be exposed to video art’s unique history, as well as the video art pioneers and contemporaries who have created work outside the traditions of the narrative and documentary. We will explore the technical aspects of video, including using the camera, the software, and the moving image in both traditional and experimental ways. Editing will be done using the digital process of Final Cut Pro, but students may also explore other methods of creating moving images. How, where, and when to present work will also be explored.
  • Video Installation

    In this course, students will explore the unique potential of video as a medium for creating and developing new forms of installation art. Working with projectors, as well as direct view displays, they will experiment with various methods of combining video and space to create immersive aesthetic experiences, including site-specificity, live-feed, and viewer interaction pieces. Hands-on work will be accompanied by screenings and discussions of important video installation artists.
  • Wearable Art: Advanced Concepts and Design

    This course can be seen as an extension for those who have taken Wearable Art, and are interested in pushing conceptual and traditional forms, or art that refers to clothing. We will focus on wearable art that plays with assumptions about clothing and its functions, social and historical concepts of the body and clothing, current events and technologies, and more. This is less about fashion and more about ideas. Some sewing experience is strongly recommended, but student ideas may lead into other areas such as electronics, sculptural forms, 3D printing, social design, installation, performance, and more.
  • What is it: Journal as a Creative Site

    What It Is: Journal as a Creative Site will focus on a series of exercises meant to ask the questions: What is a good drawing? How do drawings communicate? How do we tap into our own experiences and turn them into creative forms of communication? Where do ideas come from, and how does our imagination help? Are there any taboos in the creative process, and how do we have fun with them? What does it mean to be blocked, and how do we allow ourselves to go beyond blocks? The main goal of this course will be filling an entire composition book with these explorations, focused on the connection between the hand and brain. Imagery and text will be combined. The course is focused on the process more than the product; the product is just a tool to help explore these ideas. Willingness to play and be uncomfortable are the only prerequisites. (This course is loosely based on the writings of Lynda Barry. Her book Syllabus is a required text).

Department Faculty

  • Christopher Whittaker

    Visual Arts Teacher/Chair of Visual Arts Department, PEL Mentor
    Year Appointed: 2014
  • Todd Bartel

    Visual Arts Teacher, Thompson Gallery Director
    Rhode Island School of Design - B.F.A.
    Carnegie Mellon University - M.F.A.
    Year Appointed: 2002
  • Tom Evans

    Dean of Faculty/Coordinator of Special Projects and Visual Arts Teacher
    Hamilton College - B.A.
    Massaschusetts College of Art - M.F.A.
    Massachusetts College of Art - M.S.
    Year Appointed: 1987
  • Tony Loreti

    Visual Arts/Photography Teacher, Community Gallery Coordinator
    Boston University - B.S.
    Massachusetts College of Art - M.F.A.
    Year Appointed: 1997
  • Anne Rearick

    Visual Arts/Photography Teacher
    University of Massachusetts - Amherst - B.A.
    Massachusetts College of Art - M.F.A.
    Year Appointed: 1994
  • Alison Safford

    Visual Arts Teacher
    Carnegie Mellon University - B.F.A.
    Alfred University - M.F.A.
    Year Appointed: 2005
The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.