MB Visual Arts

Visual Arts Program

Moses Brown offers many opportunities for students to become involved in the visual arts. These include courses in an age-appropriate, sequentially- structured curriculum. A wide range of skills serving the beginner through the accomplished artist are introduced and built upon from year to year, establishing a sound foundation. Students are encouraged to pursue individual interests and expand upon their skill and talent as they move through the program exploring their creative potential. The faculty collaborates regularly with other departments on interdisciplinary projects, believing that the visual arts can enhance academic learning in all areas by helping to stimulate problem-solving skills, teach students to see more critically, celebrate diversity, and increase openness by going beyond the easy solutions. Students learn to take risks and, in the process of experimentation and discovery, learn new ways to think about and see the world around them.

Artistic expression and visual literacy are a vital part of every child’s development. Student art is routinely showcased across the campus, including the much-anticipated All-School Art exhibit each spring. Students also fare well in sharing their work beyond the campus, including in the Scholastic Art Awards, the Providence Street Painting Festival, and several film competitions, to name a few.

Within our arts curriculum, teachers encourage students to value their perceptions, emotions, and intuitions, to respond to new experiences, and to respect their environment. Young artists learn to analyze, evaluate, interpret, and discuss their work and the work of others, in the language of an artist while also addressing the values and diversity of human experience. Students are invited to examine the human condition through the arts of the present and the past through a multicultural perspective.

The lower school art program introduces students to a wide range of materials, tools, and techniques through weekly classes in studio art and woodshop. The age-appropriate studio art curriculum emphasizes personal experience, observation and imagination. Frequently, subject matter is integrated with other classroom study units for cross-disciplinary learning experiences. The program is supplemented with visits to the RISD Museum. The lower school woodshop program introduces students to a wide range of building activities, creative expression, organization, math application and follow-through. The project-based curriculum also develops familiarity, effectiveness, and self-confidence with basic hand-tool skills.

Middle school studio art classes offer projects in drawing, painting, printmaking and design, incorporating historical, ethnic, and cultural themes. Students use the elements of art and principles of design to create meaningful compositions meeting specific criteria while effectively communicating their original ideas in a personal way. Creative problem solving strategies and follow-through also are important elements of the artmaking process. The woodshop program emphasizes development of both visual awareness and manual control while nurturing a self-confident approach to tasks, fundamental tool skills, and a respectful use of materials. Organizational and applied math skills are an essential part of the students’ project development.

The upper school visual arts program offers courses in a variety of media, from foundation level to more advanced courses, and artistic expression can take many forms. Students are encouraged to build technical skills and creative awareness as well as develop a vocabulary to discuss and critique work. They engage in semester long coursework that broadens creative thinking while recognizing different learning styles and experiences. Process-oriented instruction, evaluation through participation, critique and exhibition are all part of the learning environment. Classes include painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, studio art, photography, digital graphics, and printmaking and portfolio preparation as well as independent studies tailored to fit the interests and levels of individual students.