Visual Arts

Upper School student painting at easel

Students find joy in creative expression. At Blake, they have a myriad of opportunities to express themselves using visual media. All students receive regular visual arts instruction from pre-kindergarten through grade eight. Students also learn from visiting artists, such as the McGuire Artist-in-Residence.

Upper School students learn from active working artists as they study a variety of topics and forms: art history, animation, ceramics, design, photography and more.

Fundamentals of Visual Arts: Grades Pre-K Through 5

Children love to create visual art. In the Lower School, they learn about the basic elements and concepts used in visual media: color and line, shape and texture, harmony and contrast, and so forth. Students apply these concepts across a variety of projects. Arts instruction also builds foundational knowledge about art history and criticism, techniques, and aesthetics. From the very beginning students are given opportunities for self expression. Lessons aren't "cookie cutter" projects where every student makes an identical product. Instead we ask students to think about their ideas and express themselves uniquely through their arts.

Topic Areas

Supporting Emerging Artists: Grades 6 Through 8

Middle School curriculum engages students in ways that show them they're capable of more than they know. Adolescents are often quick to say they are or are not good at something, as though it were a natural talent. Our faculty show students that skill comes as the result of practice, and with practice anyone can become good at any art form.

Required Courses

Each student takes visual art, wood studio and theatre in sixth grade. Seventh graders choose two of three possible areas to pursue: visual art, wood studio and theatre. Eighth graders may do the same, or may apply for an interdisciplinary Integrated Arts course combining visual art, theatre, wood studio and music.

Developing Vision & Voice: Grades 9 Through 12

Upper School students with a special passion for visual arts can explore particular topics and media in depth. They may work in traditional media such as ceramics, drawing/painting, printmaking and photography, explore art history, or investigate comparatively new forms such as digital filmmaking and game development.

Student show their work throughout the school, and in a wide variety of special exhibits in the Martha Bennett gallery. Visual Arts classes also take advantage of our proximity to the Walker Art Center and other Minneapolis landmarks in frequent field trips.

Required Courses

Upper School students need four credits in the Arts for graduation, but the majority of students take more than the minimum requirement. These credits can be fulfilled through any combination of the Visual and Performing Arts.