High School Visual Arts

School of Design & Production

High School Visual Arts

Visual Arts is an exploratory program designed for high school juniors and seniors who have an artistic interest, dedication and enthusiasm they wish to pursue in a structured course of study. The High School Visual Arts program is a carefully planned arts curriculum that promotes intellectual, aesthetic and emotional growth. Discipline is emphasized as an essential component of a strong personal work ethic.

Students take studio classes in drawing, design and sculpture, as well as AP Art History. The high school academic program is highly valued as an integral component in the education of our students. Studio assignments are designed to introduce students to a variety of media and the nature of the creative process.  Research, design, fabrication, exhibition, analysis and critique of student works are all essential components of the curriculum. 

First Year
Students take three studio art courses each semester: design, drawing and sculpture. These classes place emphasis on developing foundational art and design skills in a variety of media, employing an appropriate art and design vocabulary, as well as using classroom critiques to encourage analysis and self-evaluation.

Second Year
Studio art courses in design, drawing and sculpture continue at an advanced level. Students also are required to take Advanced Placement Art History. Although structure and technique are addressed in studio courses, greater emphasis is placed on the interpretive style of each individual and the development of a professional portfolio.

Student Work

Essential Qualifications

High school arts applicants who are accepted and enrolled in the Visual Arts Program must be committed to a rigorous course of study in design, drawing, sculpture and art history. The list of required activities includes, but is not limited to, the ability to:

  • Participate physically in all phases of art production and studio maintenance. This covers a broad range of physical movements and hand-eye coordinated activities that includes, but is not limited to: standing at a drawing easel, design table, or sculpture stand for extended periods of time; free-hand drawing and painting; using hand and power tools to measure, cut, fold and secure designs; spatial understanding that allows for mold-making, modeling, carving, casting and other fabrication methods; as well as a full range of body motions in the execution of classroom assignments and performance art activities;
  • Produce original works of art that are compelling on an aesthetic, conceptual and technical level in a variety of mediums, genres and styles. Students must be ready, willing and able to participate fully in the design and fabrication of actual works of art that result from both direct classroom instruction (assignments) and purely independent motivations;
  • View reference materials and observe demonstrations, as well as to hear required lectures in studio art and art history courses;
  • See images, hear sounds, process information and clearly communicate with faculty, staff and their peers using the English language;
  • Analyze and discuss works of art produced in the program, as well as examples drawn from a broad range of cultural and historical references. In written and oral critique sessions, students are expected to respond to a variety of learning modalities occurring in both traditional and non-traditional of teaching environments;
  • Actively participate in a learning environment that encompasses an openly diverse range of philosophical, social, moral, and ethical approaches to the creation and analysis of art and culture;
  • Undertake serious study of the human form. Figure drawing, the traditional cornerstone of art training that includes portraiture and the nude, is a required component of the curriculum;
  • Work in both large and small group settings in the completion of program-related tasks, from maintaining a clean and productive studio environment to working collaboratively on art and research assignments.


Graduates of the Visual Arts program have continued to pursue their interest in the fine arts at universities such as Yale, Virginia Commonwealth University, Kansas City Art Institute, Maryland Institute College of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, School of Art Institute of Chicago, Ringling College of Art and Design, School of the Museum of Fine Art- Boston and College for Creative Studies. Graduates may also apply to UNCSA’s School of Design and Production or School of Filmmaking.

Alumni have enjoyed successful careers in photography, graphic design, painting, animation, sculpture, installation art, makeup artistry and arts education. This wide array of professions is a testament to the success of building an artist’s critical and aesthetic skills at an early age.