This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies.
Visual Arts

Visual Arts Overview

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," said Mr. Nate Rogers, Director of Visual Art. "We have seen student engagement skyrocket as the students are being asked to develop projects and create works of their own devising."

For additional information about how TAB is being used in Cannon's Visual Arts classes, please refer to the article Teaching for Artistic Behavior.

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. Visit the Visual Arts Classes webpage for a complete listing of class offerings.

Upper School Studio Arts

Our Upper School studio arts courses are student-driven, supporting our students in their quest to achieve greater individuality, diversity, and sophistication 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.

Upper School Media Arts

The Media Arts 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 visit the Visual Arts Classes webpage for a complete listing of class offerings.

Cannon School

Phone: 704-786-8171 | Fax: 704-788-7779