Challenging girls to become women of 
intellect, character, innovation, action, and faith

Visual Arts

Students drawing in an art classroom

Every individual has a personal creative vision: this is the premise upon which the arts program at Newton Country Day is based. When each student is encouraged and challenged to develop her creative imagination, sensory awareness, and appreciation of her own and others' artistic talents, her personal vision will flourish. The breadth of our arts program affords students a myriad of opportunities to explore and express themselves creatively.

Middle School

Art in the Middle School is an exploratory experience. For some it may be their first structured experience in an art class. The goal of these classes is the discovery and exploration of the creative energy inherent in each student. Through guided instruction, students will be exposed to the Elements and Principles of Art and Design. Some of these elements and principles are: Line, Shape, Form, Color, Pattern, Movement and Balance.

Projects may involve paint, drawing materials, printmaking, and working with traditional and non-traditional materials. Students will grow to appreciate the various creative solutions to these projects as they reflect on their own journey and the journeys of their classmates. These courses introduce students to problem-solving, self-discovery, and understanding the discipline and process of creating. Occasional exposure to art history, throughout the year, will place some projects in a historical context. Also, it will give students some insight, into the minds of others before them; who were solving some of the same problems of creation.

Upper School

Art I

This course is an introduction to the study of design principles including the exploration of line, shape, color, and composition. The students develop a critical eye through careful observation of the real world and through explorations in the hidden landscape of the imagination. Drawing plays an important role. Developing confidence in making a mark on a surface using various drawing materials is central to developing that critical eye. Life-drawing, continuous line drawing, and explorations with positive and negative space are among the exercises. Further exploration with basic color theory using a variety of painting techniques rounds out the course.

Art II

This course emphasizes the use of both traditional and non-traditional modes of expression using a variety of media. Projects that explore paint, drawing materials, collage, and mixed media challenge the students to expand their perception of the creative process. Lectures, demonstrations, visits from professional artists, and field trips enhance students' understanding of the breadth of artistic expression.


This course emphasizes the deepening of drawing skills, the development of personal expression, and the ability to work independently. Exercises that focus on design, composition, color, and the use of various media enhance student development in the art studio. An introduction to various modes of expression and the development of an understanding of their place in history provide the students with a full artistic experience.

Advanced Placement Drawing

The AP Drawing portfolio is designed to challenge individual secondary school students to create the equivalent of quality first year college level work. The intent of this course is to develop a body of work that exhibits a variety of drawing skills and the ability to express personal ideas. Concepts including composition, line, perspective, value, spatial relationships will be reviewed and applied to a number of challenging projects. Another important aspect of this course will be the development and execution of personal ideas and the encouragement of self expression through drawing. These drawings will be presented in an AP portfolio which requires a selection of quality original work representing a breadth of techniques and a personal expression. It is the goal of this course to develop the aforementioned skills as well as execute work at the highest level possible.

Advanced Placement 2-D

The two dimensional design curriculum is widely regarded as essential to the education of a visual artist in both fine and applied arts. Fundamentals of two dimensional design rests on the assumption that all flat art disciplines ( painting, graphic design, drawing, collage, photography and printmaking) share a grammar of form based on their common dependence on articulated shapes distributed on a two dimensional format. This underlying formal logic applies general modes of visual organization such as line, shape, color, proportion to achieve effective composition. Twelve projects that address these aspects of design are included in the “Breadth” section of the portfolio.

Another important aspect of this course will include the development and execution of personal ideas or a self designed theme through two dimensional arts. Twelve projects that address this aspect of design are included in the “Concentration” section of the portfolio.

Art History

This course provides students with a knowledge of the principal styles and developments of Western art set against a broad background of intellectual, political, and social history. The course examines the great traditions and major innovations in painting, sculpture, and architecture from Bronze Age Greece through the Modernist period of the early twentieth century. Among the areas covered are the art of Classical Antiquity, Romanesque and Gothic architecture, the Renaissance, the Baroque period, Neo-classicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, and Modernism. Students visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts frequently throughout the year to view specific works of art and to gather material for their "looking papers."

Art History II: Twentieth Century Art

This course offers a hands-on approach to the art of our time. After studying major art movements that include Impressionism and Surrealism, students create art works that reflect their knowledge of these styles. The class visits museums and studios of Boston artists. Using notebooks, sketches, and paintings, students study the works of an artist whose work has evolved from Realism to Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism.

Introduction To Digital Photography

This course is an introduction to basic techniques involving capturing, manipulating, and generating digital imagery. This is a computer and software based course. In addition to examining new techniques and terminology, students will focus on the challenges of evaluating lighting conditions and making proper camera and computer adjustments. Composition, mood, and lighting will be constant considerations as students learn to see in new and different ways. Studies will include but not be limited to: design, portraiture, still life, architecture, and social commentary. Students will be challenged to use their imagination as they delve into the endless possibilities of digital imagery. This is an exploratory course about personal vision and expression.

2019 Scholastic Award Winners

Gold Key
  • "Cats in Fridge," pastel and black paper by Catherine Capeci '19
  • "Surrealism," colored pencil by Catherine Capeci '19
  • "Lizard Dinner," colored pencil by Catherine Capeci '19
Silver Key
  • " Diner," pen and ink by Catherine Capeci '19
Honorable Mention
  •  "Apple Face," colored pencil by Catherine Capeci '19
  • "Little Red Riding Hood," mixed media drawing by T. Lakkis '20
  • "Fish," mixed media by A. McCormack '20

Visual Arts In The News