Visual Arts

The Visual Arts Program at Woodlands provides students an opportunity to express themselves creatively and to develop an understanding and appreciation of art in various media.

We encourage collaboration with other departments and inter-disciplinary projects to develop students’ aesthetic awareness and to broaden understanding of current trends and the tradition and history of art. Our ceramics, photography, and studio art students earn many awards annually in local and regional juried exhibitions, including the Congressional Art Competition, the Lake Forest Academy Regional Juried Art Exhibition, and the Deerpath Art League Gallery exhibition.

The highlight of the year is Woodlands Academy Fine Arts Evening, held annually in May, where student works are displayed in a juried show and awards are given in each medium. The evening offers visual arts students and faculty the opportunity to celebrate their achievements as a community and to discuss their artwork with visitors.

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement (AP) Art is available to students who are seriously interested in any of the visual arts:

  • drawing
  • painting
  • ceramics
  • design
  • photography

AP Art addresses three major concerns: quality of work, the student’s concentration on a particular visual interest or problem, and the student’s range of formal, technical, and expressive artistic means. Student portfolios are structured in three sections – Quality, Concentration, and Breadth to demonstrate the student’s fundamental competence and range of understanding in visual concerns and methods.


The Ceramics Program fosters artistic and personal growth. At the elementary level, we introduce hand-building methods, wheel throwing, additional and subtractive sculpting, decoration techniques, glazing theory, firing, and the development of an awareness of clay’s aesthetic properties. Our intermediate and advanced courses encourage students to experiment with clay to discover its unique possibilities and to develop a stronger sense of craftsmanship. In addition, advanced students learn the history of ceramics and expand their understanding of various techniques, while continuing to refine their throwing, glazing and firing skills.

Ceramics students regularly receive awards for their work in local and regional juried competitions and shows.


The Photography program emphasizes photography as a fine art. Students are encouraged to expand their creativity and cultivate their perception through their use of the camera and the development of ideas. In addition to studio work, all classes incorporate knowledge of contemporary artists and historic practitioners. Our photography facility includes a traditional darkroom where students work in 35mm, medium, and large format photography, digital imaging, and studio lighting.

Photography students participate in annual juried exhibitions and competitions, and their works regularly earn awards.

Studio Art

Studio Art includes drawing, painting, and sculpture. Through the study and practice of these visual media, students develop a new way to explain and interpret their world. As our students progress to the advanced level, studio work is combined with the study of aesthetics and art history. Course offerings range from 'Introduction to Art' to 'Portfolio Art', which concentrates on the preparation of a professional art portfolio.

Studio Art students participate in competitions and juried exhibitions, and many of their works receive awards every year.