Skip To Main Content
Visual Arts
Visual Arts

Cannon School Visual Arts Philosophy

There is an inner artist within all of us. This premise forms the foundation of our curriculum. We allow the students to make real choices about the shape their learning takes and by tapping into their individual interests, we help them to cultivate their personal voice. Our students learn to be strong visual communicators and find a real passion for making art.

Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) is a nationally recognized approach to art education that gives students the opportunity to work more authentically as artists, making choices about their work in collaboration with teachers who are responsive to their ideas. This approach gives students the freedom to make choices about what they want to create, what they want to talk about in their work, and what medium to use—all with the goal of taking ownership of their learning. After successfully piloting this approach at Cannon School in 2015-2016, all visual arts classes in all divisions are choice-based as of the 2016-2017 school year. The shift in our visual arts curriculum to a TAB-model has been a huge success. We have seen student engagement skyrocket as the students are being asked to develop projects and create works of their own devising.


Lower School Visual Art

Beginning in junior kindergarten, children are exposed to the elements and principles of art in two-dimensional and three-dimensional projects and are taught through verbal, visual, and tactile means. Instruction is centered around a choice-based model in which students think and work like artists, and are given the autonomy to plan and create their own art. Through brief lessons on art history, technique, and a wide variety of materials, students are taught how to find ideas that interest them, and are then given ample opportunity to work on them responsibly, at their own pace, and at their own level. Students have the opportunity to work with a variety of materials including: drawing, painting, collage, paper sculpture, clay and fiber art.

An Art Appreciation Program prepared by parent volunteers provides additional exposure to masterpieces and other works of art.


Middle School Visual Art

The Middle School program builds the foundation for self-expression and art appreciation through the use and understanding of the elements and principles of art and

design. Middle School students have the opportunity to build upon the choice-based model from Lower School, finding their artistic passion and discovering their individuality. Students have the opportunity to explore a variety of art mediums in the context of drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, and sculpture.

Fifth and sixth grade classes are quarter-long and meet in rotation with other arts disciplines. Seventh and eighth grade classes are year-long. Please see below for a complete listing of Middle School visual art class offerings.

Middle School Visual Art Classes


Upper School: Studio Arts and Media Arts

Our Upper School visual arts courses stem from three programs: Studio Arts, Media Arts and Productions, and Creative Design and Engineering.

Courses in our Upper School Studio Arts program are student-driven, supporting our students in their quest to achieve greater individuality, diversity, and complexity in the process of making art. The art studio is a place of examination and exploration. We work with a variety of media, determining how each functions and in what ways each best conveys visual information. Through hands-on discovery students begin to develop an individual voice, and find, not only how to be strong artists, but how to be deep thinkers and sophisticated communicators. Students work within the disciplines of drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, digital painting and illustration.

The Media Arts and Productions program introduces the students to commercial art practices – graphic design, commercial illustration, photo manipulation, and video production. Students learn to hone their visual communication skills, gaining an understanding of planning, production, editing, and sophisticated use of digital media. Upper level coursework incorporates real-world practice producing content for local non-profits. Please see below for a complete listing of Upper School visual art class offerings.

The Creative Design and Engineering program introduces students to a variety of physical and digital fabrication tools in areas such as computer-aided design (CAD), woodworking, physical computing, electronics, textiles, 3D printing, coding, laser cutting, and CNC milling. Students apply these processes to create innovative projects that integrate technology with art. They learn to be complex thinkers and problem solvers, and how to apply technologies in new and increasingly powerful ways.

Upper School Visual Art Classes

Continue Exploring Cannon's Art Programs

Our students learn to be strong visual communicators and find a real passion for making arts.

Learn more.

Each division offers students the opportunity to experiment and explore as they become life-long musicians and creative problem solvers.

Learn more.

Cannon offers students the opportunity to explore acting and stagecraft, and participate in several theater performances annually.

Learn more.

From the Campbell Gallery and Cindric Performing Arts Center to the media production room, Cannon offers students amazing spaces to hone their artistic skills.

Learn more.

Parents at Cannon is a dynamic group of four parent volunteer organizations that enhance campus life for our students, parents, faculty, and staff.

Learn more.