Studio Art

The Prep School Studio Art department believes that each CGPS graduate should understand how the arts enhance our world and enrich our lives, and appreciate the positive impact the arts have on all communities and cultures.

Each student should also understand that art is accessible and approachable through a range of disciplines, hands-on experiences and the acquisition of effective problem solving and critical thinking skills, opening the door to future study, collaboration and creation.

Studio Art Gallery

The Prep School’s in-depth studio arts program includes studios dedicated to painting and drawing, digital and film photography, stop-motion animation, video, ceramics and metalworking. Learn more about the arts program here

Course Offerings

Art 9 Rotation

Each student participates in one semester of a hands-on studio art class that serves as an introduction to the Prep School elective program. Basic principles of art theory and design are taught in all Art 9 courses, as well as elements of art history as they relate to the specific discipline. In either the fall or spring semesters, each student will be placed in one of the following: Painting & Drawing, Digital Photo, Black & White Photography, Ceramics, Jewelry & Metalsmithing or Film & Video.

Art History I-II

Western Art History (a survey study of western art from pre-history to the Renaissance) and Global Art History (a survey course that considers art history from a global perspective) are both offered as part of the Prep School’s arts history rotation. Students are expected to take one arts history before they graduate (offerings include Theater History, Music History, Musical Theater History, Western Art History and Global Art History). 

Ceramics & Sculpture

Ceramics I

In this course students have the opportunity to explore a range of methods and techniques in clay. The skills covered include pinch pots, slab building, coil building, teapots, wheel throwing and glazing. Elements of form, surface and design are discussed in relation to students’ work and goals. Students are encouraged to use projects to express themselves and explore their interests. Through dialogue and writing, students also learn to articulate thoughtfully about their work on an aesthetic and conceptual level.

Ceramics II: Sculpture

Working more independently, students continue to develop their technical skills in clay while exploring sculptural work and portraiture. Students work on a variety of pieces, both assigned and independent, to further their skill in clay and conceptual understanding of the art form. Through dialogue and writing, students articulate thoughtfully about their work on an aesthetic and conceptual level. 

Ceramics III: Wheel Throwing

This course focuses on pieces made on the wheel, exploring the utilitarian aspects of ceramics. Students learn, in depth, how to make tumblers, mugs, plates, bowls, vases and pitchers. Non-traditional methods of using the wheel may be explored as well. Through dialogue and writing, students articulate thoughtfully about their work on both an aesthetic and conceptual level.

Advanced Projects in Ceramics

This class is for those students who wish to pursue advanced topics in Ceramics. Working independently, students are asked to choose a specific theme for their work and explore ideas within that theme, culminating in a unified body of work. Through dialogue and writing, students articulate thoughtfully about their work on an aesthetic and conceptual level.

Painting & Drawing

Painting & Drawing I

This course focuses on the basic elements of drawing and painting, with a strong emphasis on composition, ways of seeing and expressive qualities of line and mark making. Using the foundation of linear and atmospheric perspective, students learn ways to depict the geometry and atmosphere of the still-life, urban interior and landscape. Materials used may include pencil, ink, watercolor, acrylic paint, charcoal, pastel, colored pencils and various collage materials. 

Painting & Drawing II

This course focuses largely on figure drawing and portraiture, with a strong emphasis on observational drawing, design, composition and figure/ground relationship. Materials used may include graphite, charcoal, pastels, inks, craypas, watercolor, acrylic paint and collage material. 

Painting & Drawing III

In this course, students explore a range of painting and printmaking methods and materials and further develop an understanding of the aesthetic principles of composition, design and color theory. Mediums may include watercolor, gouache, ink, acrylic and oil paint, monoprinting, block printing and collage. 

Advanced Painting & Drawing: Portfolio Development

The purpose of this course is to provide the student with an in-depth study of advanced painting and drawing methods and subjects. Initially, several short-term projects are assigned to build upon established skills. During this time, there is a strong emphasis on working from observation. The remainder of each semester is devoted to the planning and execution of individual projects, as well as the preparation of a portfolio suitable for submission to colleges and universities.

Advanced Projects in Painting & Drawing

This course is designed for students to pursue independent painting and drawing projects. Students work in a series and are expected to work well independently. Additionally, students are asked to create project proposals and preliminary sketches before beginning each piece. 

Mosaic Workshop

The decorative art form of mosaics dates back to ancient times. In recent years, this art form has been updated and reinvented by artists and artisans on New York City subway station walls. In this one-semester course, students explore the medium by designing and executing mosaic designs with a focus on composition and color. 


This introductory class is an exploration into the visual language of image making. Through collage, students focus on how artistic images are created. Initially, students study the basic principles of design, composition and color. Then, using the scanner, digital camera and found images, students create unique self-expressive artwork.

Metalsmithing & Jewelry

Metalsmithing & Jewelry I

This course introduces students with the metalworking processes, and the concepts behind jewelry design. Students learn how to work with sterling silver, copper, brass and nickel. The class encompasses fundamental metalsmithing techniques including sawing, soldering and stone-setting. Projects encourage students to develop their own style and to create work that reflects their interests. 

Metalsmithing & Jewelry II

This course builds on the skills students learned in Metalsmithing and Jewelry I. Students take their foundation in metalworking skills to a more advanced level as they create more complex pieces, and learn more technical skills. Students are encouraged to make pieces that reflect their unique style, as their understanding of the medium grows. 

Metalsmithing & Jewelry III

This course allows students who have taken Metalsmithing and Jewelry I and II an opportunity to advance their skills and techniques, and further develop the projects they began in foundational classes. Greater autonomy is encouraged as students become more confident in their understanding of the metals studio and jewelry design. Students are able to decide what skills and projects they are most interested in learning more about and pursue them. 

Advanced Projects in Metals

This class is intended for advanced metalsmiths. Students craft with a theme that interests them and create a series of related pieces. Students develop a body of work that reflects their interests, and explore in depth one idea, technique or kind of jewelry. Great autonomy is given to students so they can pursue the work they are most interested in. 

Black & White Photography

Black & White Photography I

In this introductory course, students learn how to operate a 35-mm single lens reflex camera. They also learn to make contact sheets from their film and create 8” by 10” enlargements from their negatives. Emphasis is placed on acquiring proficient darkroom techniques and elements of composition and photo theory are discussed. 

Intermediate Black & White Photography

Students use the technical skills they learned in Black & White Photography I, but work more independently and at a faster pace. They use darkroom skills and filters to control and manipulate their final prints. The purpose of this course is for the student to begin to develop their own individual photographic vision. 

Advanced Projects in Black & White Photography

In this advanced photography course, students learn the history of photography from 1837 to the present. Students continue to refine their darkroom skills and learn to print on an 11” x 14” format. During this course, students experiment with personal and individual themes with their work. 

Film & Video

The Art of Film and Video I

In this studio art course, students investigate and discuss film history, theory and technique through the analysis of film clips. Working individually and in groups, students then have the opportunity to plan, produce and edit two short narrative video projects using HD digital cameras and the iMovie HD editing system. 

The Art Of Film And Video II

Students explore more advanced techniques of film and video production, including lighting, sound, performance and advanced editing techniques. Working in groups and individually, students develop and produce two video projects, including a documentary short. There is also an introduction to the Adobe Premiere editing system. Additionally, the class continues to study and analyze various films in order to learn more about the process and art of filmmaking.

The Art of Film and Video III

In this advanced course, students have the opportunity to experiment with more abstract styles of cinematography, editing and sound production. Working more independently, students plan and develop a narrative self-portrait and an experimental video using “found” footage. Students continue to analyze clips from films in order to learn more about the process and the art of the moving image.

Advanced Projects in Film and Video

Students in this course have the opportunity to pursue independent video projects. As always, students are expected to carefully plan each project by creating a detailed storyboard and shot list. Finished projects are in the five- to ten-minute time range. 

Digital Photography

Digital Photography I

This class covers the basics of digital photography. Students learn how to take digital photographs and manipulate them with Adobe Photoshop. Students discuss camera functions, image resolution, printing and theoretical concerns. Emphasis is placed on composition, image quality and color editing techniques. Group critiques are integral to the course and also review the history of digital photography. Projects are introduced by examining the works of famous digital photographers and artists.

Intermediate Digital Photography

In this semester course, students continue to explore different techniques available in digital photography. Building on skills learned in Digital Photography I, students develop a unique body of work and explore new possibilities for expressing themselves. Group critiques, in-class exercises and projects offer a platform for discussion of theoretical and aesthetic concerns. The effect of technology on the visual arts is examined from contemporary and historical perspectives.  

Advanced Projects in Digital Photography

Advanced Digital Photography is a continuation of Intermediate Digital Photography. In addition to learning advanced technical skills, all projects are based on a conceptual approach, with close attention paid to individual and personal aesthetics. Each project culminates with project presentations and group critiques.

Stop-Motion Animation

In this course, students have the opportunity to produce stop-motion animations using a variety of materials including clay, sand, wire, rice, drawings, cut-out paper and objects. The class explores the basic techniques of stop-action including object, line and cut-out animation. Students create storyboards, shot lists and small sets, in addition to learning basic cinematography, lighting, directing and editing techniques. Digital SLR cameras and the Dragonframe stop-motion animation computer program are used to produce a series of short videos.

Art through Technology

Smartphone Photography

With apps like Photoshop and Instagram, cell phone and smart device photography is quickly becoming a new art form. Modern day cell phones are an omnipresent tool for photographers, who can easily document everyday life artistically. This course strengthens students’ artistic skills and fine art perception. With the cell phone and the use of the computer, students take and edit pictures based on specific art topics. Students acquire formal photographic skills in composition, learn basic processing and photo editing techniques with Adobe Photoshop and create imagery suitable for print, internet and gallery display.

Digital Painting, Illustration and Photo-Manipulation

This course is designed to examine the role of the computer as a creative tool in contemporary studio art and two-dimensional design practice. The course focuses on the development of formal art skills and how to create and manipulate art using digital imaging tools and technology. Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Wacom drawing tablets, as well as the scanner and digital photography, are used as part of the creative process. Through digital media and art theory, students learn fundamental concepts in the visual arts and achieve a level of comfort with the tools and techniques needed to create digital artwork.

goals for our graduates
  • A general understanding of the principles and elements of art, including composition and design, the incorporation of technology, art theory and history and the ability to discuss the formal elements of art with knowledge and objectivity. 
  • Acquisition of and experience with basic skills, techniques, concepts and principles, using a range of methods, materials and disciplines, so that each student has the “language” necessary to express her or his ideas effectively, and the experience and confidence to apply these principles to their own work.
  • A basic understanding of the history of art, how art has represented and reflected communities and cultures, and that ideas about beauty and aesthetics vary across time and cultures and that reasons for making art vary across cultures, regions and time periods. 
  • To know the joy that comes from making something that reflects their unique world view and shows an investment of time and care and to develop the confidence in working toward their goals with discipline, commitment and independence. 
  • To understand and appreciate the importance of collaboration (whether during class critiques and discussions or group projects), and support a positive community by maintaining an overall respect for the craft, the studio spaces, the materials and the opinions of their peers.