Visual Arts

Our intention in the Brookwood art program is to develop a visually literate and well, informed young person, who better understands what is involved in the making of art. Our primary goal is to create an atmosphere in which each of our students feels encouraged and supported in his or her creative endeavors. We truly believe that each child is an artist.

The art rooms at Brookwood buzz with activity, and our halls are filled with the many creations of our budding young artists. Students begin coming to the art room in Pre-Kindergarten, and they continue their studio art instruction through eighth grade. Our program is sequential in both theory and practice, and all students are exposed to a wide variety of two and three-dimensional art forms, such as drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, bookmaking, fabric art, mixed-media, graphic design, and ceramics.

Basic art concepts and skills are taught, practiced, and reinforced each year as students move through the art program. Formal instruction is given when a new concept or technique is introduced, yet students are also encouraged to explore and experiment with materials and individual ideas. Throughout all the grades, Brookwood students are introduced to the artwork of various world cultures, past and present. We work collaboratively with other disciplines to make curricular connections and to broaden student understanding of given topics.

Field trips to various museums and places of interest are a regular part of the program, as is working with visiting artists each year. In addition to the ever-present display of student art, an all-school exhibit takes place in April to honor and celebrate the creative efforts our students at Brookwood. For those eighth grade students who have identified themselves as having a sincere interest in visual art, we offer a portfolio program that meets for an additional period each week.

We have a truly fine art facility, which includes three classrooms/studios, each equipped with appropriate technology, as well as an additional ceramic/clay studio. A small art library exists in one of the classrooms, and we are also fortunate to have a woodworking studio located on the lower level of the Upper School.

Visual Arts Curricular Goals
In general, the Visual Arts Department seeks to have Brookwood students:

  • Begin to see their environment with more observant eyes and thus become more visually literate
  • Work comfortably and responsibly with a range of two-dimensional and three-dimensional materials in such media as drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, sculpture, ceramics, bookmaking, construction, and photography
  • Develop a basic understanding of art vocabulary and design concepts
  • Develop an understanding of and ability to work with basic art elements (line, texture, color, value, shape/ form, and space) and key art principles (repetition, balance, unity, variety, perspective, rhythm, symmetry, scale, and emphasis)
  • Gain exposure to various art genres such as portrait, still life, and landscape
  • Develop awareness and appreciation of good craftsmanship, how a piece is organized or put together
  • Develop an ability to work comfortably both from visual “reality” and from one’s imagination
  • Gain a fundamental understanding of how the artist can use certain materials, techniques, and processes to convey a desired effect or convey a particular message
  • Develop a willingness to analyze, interpret, and discuss one’s own work and the work of others informally and formally in critiques
  • Gain appreciation of our own rich cultural and artistic heritage in the United States, as well as exposure to various world art forms and processes beyond the United States,
  • Develop a fundamental understanding of aesthetics (what is beautiful) and an appreciation for how that understanding varies across time, place, and culture
  • Develop an appreciation of art as a tangible means of self-expression and communication
  • Gain respect and positive regard for one’s personal creativity, perspective, and skill level, as well as respect for the varying perspectives and abilities of others

Grade Level Curricular Goals and Focal Points
While specific skills and concepts are taught at each grade level, our art curricula is dynamic, responsive and fluid. Specific projects often vary from year to year and relate to diverse themes being studied in other disciplines, as well as to current events.

Given that, at each respective grade level, our goal is to have students:


  • Learn to follow simple directions
  • Gain exposure to a broad range of materials
  • Develop awareness of self and classmates as artists
  • Begin to work together cooperatively on projects


  • Begin to identify the unique properties of art materials
  • Continue to develop a sense of pride in oneself as an artist
  • Begin to develop responsibility regarding art materials and work area
  • Be able to identify primary colors and mix secondary colors

Grade One:

  • Focus on specific painting and brushwork skills defining shapes and proper brush handing
  • Develop the ability to focus on a project and work in a directed a manner
  • Work on basic drawing skills focusing on simple shapes
  • Practice cutting skills, focusing on simple shapes

Grade Two:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the differences and similarities between two-dimensional and three-dimensional art forms
  • Continue to develop dexterity in handling materials
  • Learn to use different types of line and color to create specific effects
  • Be encouraged take healthy risks with their work

Grade Three:

  • Explore simple printmaking techniques – cut surfaces, Styrofoam and raised surfaces, cardboard, glue and found textures
  • Learn about the proportions of the human figure (face and body)
  • Learn to use art as a narrative form to enhance or tell a story
  • Explore paper collage techniques – shape variation, overlapping, cut versus torn edges

Grade Four:

  • Continue to explore the human figure, working with two- dimensional and three-dimensional formats
  • Investigate and learn the art forms and customs a variety of ancient cultures (ancient Egypt, Greece, and Meso-America)
  • Work with a variety of ceramic hand-building techniques (pinch, coil, and slab)
  • Practice and review basic painting techniques and processes

Grade Five:

  • Explore folk art traditions around the globe, focusing on traditional art forms of different cultures
  • Review color theory and color mixing (primary, secondary, tertiary, neutrals, tints and tones, hue, value and intensity)
  • Review and practice basic drawing, painting, collage, and mixed-media processes and techniques while learning about Caldecott Award winning book illustrators
  • Explore simple bookmaking techniques
  • Begin the process of formal critiques of student artwork

Grade Six:

  • Gain introduction to linear and aerial /atmospheric perspective
  • Explore value to convey the illusion of three-dimensional depth in drawing and painting
  • Work with symbolic representation in art
  • Receive homework assignments on a regular basis to reinforce skills and concepts taught in class and provide additional opportunities make connections between art and other disciplines

Grade Seven:

  • Practice and review drawing and painting techniques while focusing on the art elements of line, value, color, texture, and form and the design principles of contrast, proportion, balance, and emphasis
  • Review and build a more comprehensive knowledge of clay as a sculptural medium
  • Move from representation to abstraction
  • Explore modern and contemporary art and artists and create a formal piece capturing the overall style of a particular artist (art and writing)
  • Respond to class assignments in more personal, meaningful way

Grade Eight:

  • Practice and review techniques involved in creating the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface with a focus on Realism
  • Construct a unique fabric creature that incorporates design and sewing skills
  • Create artwork that specifically their personal interests and concerns
  • Articulate and defend artistic and creative decisions and constructively discuss the work of others
  • Work with increasingly complex bookmaking techniques in creating a final piece that incorporates a combination of media and variety of processes
  • Complete a final piece that combines media, utilizes an understanding of techniques and processes, and reflects a personal point-of-view