Visual Arts

Visual Arts


Early Childhood

The visual art experience begins with our youngest students in the Early Childhood program. The EC 2s, 3s and 4s have a designated art studio and weekly studio art class in which they work with the art teacher in small groups for more individualized instruction.

The EC art program focuses primarily on the process, not the product. Basic art skills are introduced as students discover and explore various art mediums. Art projects are related to grade level areas of study.

Lower School

Students in grades K through four have weekly 40-minute classes for the entire year. The Lower School (LS) art program focuses on elements of design and art history while exploring different mediums (including 2-D and 3-D work). Integration with the classroom units is an integral part of the art curriculum.

LS students’ artwork is showcased in various art exhibits and contests throughout the year, both on and off campus. We participate annually in the SC State Fair Student Art Show and the South Carolina Independent School Association Student Art Exhibit. First- through fourth-graders may also express their creative talents by participating in our after-school LS Art Club!

Middle School

Middle School visual art students are exposed to an array of artistic mediums, covering two and three dimensional work. Grades six through eight meet three days a week for nine weeks, while fifth grade students meet weekly for the entire year. Students typically produce three to five pieces of high quality work during the concentrated study. They also are invited to participate in various student exhibits and competitions, such as the South Carolina State Fair, South Carolina Independent Schools competition, McWaters Office Furniture and Design competition, and National Youth Art Month.

In addition to their classes, students participate in an Integrated Art/Science or Humanities project. These projects are enhanced with input from local businesses and visiting artists. Also, each grade level visits The Columbia Museum of Art, touring a show relevant to their classroom studies and participating in a hands-on studio project.

Upper School

The Upper School (US) art curriculum is designed to cover the fundamentals of art when taken in its entirety by a student pursuing a career in art and also to offer a variety of art courses for the average student interested in one or more specific art electives. Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Environmental Art, Ceramics and Photography offer directed study of the history, tools, techniques and conceptual possibilities of each discipline. Studio Art offers the opportunity to use those acquired skills in a self-directed art making course. Final semester seniors in Studio Art continue producing artworks but also study exhibition techniques in order to present a cohesive solo exhibit of their artworks. Heathwood Hall also offers a Visual Art Concentration (VAC). The VAC is a unique and challenging diploma distinction for students pursuing further excellence in Visual Art (more info below).


Drawing - This one-semester course is an introduction and study of drawing techniques and materials. Students learn Observational and Perspective Drawing while also practicing the fundamentals of 2-D design. Students learn techniques for careful observation of 3-D objects and environments in order to render this observed information on a 2-D drawing surface. In addition, students learn and use drawing and design terminology and become familiar with important historical artists. Available to grades 9-12.

Painting - This one-semester course is an introduction and exploration of painting techniques and materials. Students become familiar with wet media through experimentation, as well as the continued observational rendering practices of Drawing class. Students learn the fundamentals of color usage while working with Acrylic and watercolor paints, mixed-media collage and basic printmaking techniques. Historical and Contemporary artists are examined through image-based lectures. Prerequisite: Drawing. Available to grades 10-12.

Sculpture - Students utilize a variety of materials and construction methods to create three-dimensional artworks having height, width, depth and essential relationships to their surrounding spaces. Students create small and large art works — indoor and outdoor — while considering site-specificity and a conceptual use of materials. One semester. Available to grades 9-12.

Environmental Art - Students utilize natural and other found materials to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional artworks displaying a conceptual awareness of materials and purposeful relationships with the environments surrounding the artworks. Students study a range of related art traditions, including Land Art, EcoArt, Public Art, Ephemeral Art, and Site-Specific Art. Available to grades 9-12.

Ceramics - This one-semester course is a survey of methods and techniques used to manipulate clay into form. Slab, coil and other hand-building processes are covered with an introduction to the potter’s wheel and basic throwing techniques. Sculptural and functional purposes are examined as various glazing techniques are also explored. Available to grades 9-12.

Photography - This one-semester course is an introduction to Digital SLR camera operation and an exploration of photographic art making practices. Personal Laptop computers are used for basic editing and storage, but the class focuses more on the use of the camera as a tool for personal artistic expression and visual communication. The course also explores the history of Photographic art making. Available to grades 10-12.

Studio Art - This course is designed for highly motivated students who have acquired the foundational skills necessary to produce a self-directed body of artworks. Exploration and experimentation are encouraged in an effort to identify the student’s artistic interests and goals. The student develops and maintains a digital portfolio to track progress, which may also be used for college and scholarship applications during the student’s senior year. Most class time is used for independent work, but periodic group exercises, critiques, lectures and films broaden the student’s art making experiences and exposure to others’ art and criticism. Final semester Seniors in Studio Art also produce a cohesive and well-presented public solo exhibition during the final weeks of the semester. For their exhibits, Seniors research solo Art Exhibitions, produce an Artist Statement, Exhibit Card/Invitation, and are responsible for Framing, Exhibit Layout/Design and Installation. Prerequisite: 3 semesters of visual art and/or consent of instructor. May be taken up to four semesters for a 1/2 credit each semester. Available to grades 11 and 12.

Visual Art Concentration

Literary Magazine: The Palette