Visual Arts

Visual Arts at Avon Old Farms School

Young people with high arts involvement are 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievements. Americans for the Arts, 2012 An Avon boy who is looking to develop his talents and explore his creativity is given the space, guidance, and encouragement he needs to succeed. The skilled and intuition-focused art department guides students with options for a young man to discover his inner artistic talents.

Our art teachers foster a fun and safe studio environment that encourages experimentation with many types of media and the sharing of artistic inspiration. In addition to academic pursuits, an Avon boy can excel in extra-curricular arts opportunities to hone his skills further.

The Foundational Power of Art

"An art once served with sincerity will never wholly abandon one."


Visual Arts Courses

Advanced Placement Art Drawing Portfolio / 2-D Design

These two studio art portfolio courses are designed for students who are seriously interested in the practical experience of art. Unlike other Advanced Placement courses, AP art students do not take a written examination; instead, they submit portfolios for evaluation at the end of the year. The two portfolios share a basic, three-section structure-concentration, breadth, and quality – which enables the student to show a fundamental competence and range of understanding in visual concerns and methods. Students in these courses are expected to work outside the classroom and beyond scheduled periods. Maintaining a sketchbook-journal is essential. Each course is offered every other year on a rotating basis.


Students in this course manipulate and transform clay through hand-building, sculpting, and wheel throwing techniques. Students roll clay to make coiled bowls shaped by slump molds, burnish hand-made pinch pots and fire them outdoors, drape plates, sgraffito bowls, create clay clocks, sculpt skulls, and throw a variety of vessels on the wheel. Imagination and technique are stressed and developed through utilitarian forms and sculptural images.

Ceramics 2

Course description for Ceramics 2 will be posted shortly.


Students in this course begin by studying the fundamental principles of design. Assignments encourage experimentation and invention. Students begin the year with a Josef Albers style cut-paper square assignment, progress to a Louise Nevelson “assemblage” and an Andy Warhol silk-screen, and complete the year with an eye-catching Claus Oldenburg “think big” project. All assignments begin with preliminary thumbnail sketches and end with a class critique.


Students in Printmaking will explore various techniques and approaches to printmaking such as linoleum-block printing, silk-screening, stenciling, and embossing. A great amount of emphasis will be placed on design and drawing as related to the expression of printmaking. Students will design and print t-shirts and use spray paint to "graffiti" an urban design as part of the curriculum.

Drawing I and II

Drawing offers a wide variety of drawing experiences with emphasis placed on art structure and observation. Assignments divided between the two semesters will include: contour, gesture, negative space, value, enlargement, perspective, and figure. Materials introduced include pencil, charcoal, oil pastel, ink wash, and conte crayon. Students will develop their observational and accuracy skills as they progress through the semester with a variety of assignments including still life, fantasy, self-portrait, and landscape. Drawing II includes more complex applications of the above, including a non-traditional “sculptural” drawing at the end of the semester.

Photography I and II

Photography explores technical and artistic elements of film photography. Students learn black and white photographic film processes through the manual capture, manipulation, and creation of images. Students experiment with photograms, pinhole cameras, Holgas, and SLR cameras. They learn traditional dark room techniques in film and print processing before moving on to collage, multiple exposure, and other more advanced processes in Photography II. In Photography I and II students engage in an ongoing discussion of the history of photography and its role in society from inception through the modern day, knowledge of which allows them to effectively explore their own creative interests.

Woodworking I

The focus of this beginning woodworking course is the study of design and making of fine furniture. To become an accomplished woodworker, it is important to start with a strong basic foundation of knowledge about wood, tools, and techniques. Through a series of woodworking projects that increase in difficulty, students learn about the properties of wood and the proper use of hand tools and power equipment. Essential to the successful completion of any project is an understanding of the design process and an ability to communicate ideas graphically. Students study the various steps involved in the development of a design from conceptualization to presentation. They improve their ability to communicate graphically by studying drafting (both manual and computer aided), building scale models, and building mockups.

Woodworking II

In this advanced woodworking class, students work more independently, further developing their design and woodworking skills by creating a piece of furniture of their own design. Students study in greater depth the various steps involved in the development of a design from conceptualization to completion. They expand their ability to communicate graphically by improving their manual and computer-aided drafting skills. Students also have the opportunity to explore wood turning, parquetry, marquetry, and solid & veneer construction techniques.

Advanced Woodworking


Pre-requisite: Woodworking 2


In this course students will be introduced to painting through color theory, various application techniques, figure/ground relationship, and other compositional structures. Students will primarily use watercolor and acrylic, and paint from both observation as well as imagination.

Digital Media and Production

Semester 1, Semester 2
Limited to six students each semester, preference is given to upperclassmen.

This course is designed as an elective fine arts course, emphasizing artistic production using film software (Adobe Premier, iMovie, Final Cut), to create digital video, social media, and multimedia presentations. Multimedia, for the purposes of this course, means utilizing more than one of the following media elements: video, sound, images, text, and/or interactivity, in all projects. Students will receive hands-on experience in writing, filming, editing, and producing various projects while learning the fundamental aspects of visual storytelling.

Graphic Design of the T-Shirt

This class combines graphics design and screen printing into one- students will learn foundations of Adobe Photoshop to create various custom designed T-shirts using a range of design techniques. Possible imagery includes logo design and text, and will be created using both photography and drawings.

Introduction to Digital Photography

Course description for Introduction to Digital Photography will be posted shortly.

Advanced Digital Photography

Course description for Advanced Digital Photography will be posted shortly.

Engineering Applications and Architecture

Course description for Engineering Applications and Architecture will be posted shortly.

Recent Works

Featured Visiting Artist

Art can be created using the most unlikely and mundane "vehicles". Our boys created a stunning piece of art with visiting artist Ty Morin Photography using a truck. The huge camera obscura produced a large format photograph and taught the boys to reflect on the simplicity/complexity of harnessing light.

The Opportunity to Investigate

"There is nothing more important than allowing boys to self-actualize on their own terms. I can think of no greater privilege and responsibility than to participate in shaping a generation of young men; at my core, I want nothing more than to help these boys become the best version of themselves."