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Lower School Visual Arts

“Every child is an artist and this special time in a child’s development is one in which we honor and protect their individual creativity. We emphasize process and student choice as we center our work around various artists, time periods, experimenting with a variety of media, and developing a desire and love to use art as another means of expression.” - Evelyn Moren, Lower School Art Teacher

Art is an important part of learning in our San Domenico Lower School. Our goal is to joyfully guide each child’s creative development and encourage individual growth throughout the year. Through an inquiry-based approach, we  strive to instill independence, respect, and courage as our students respond to challenges and prompts that foster critical thinking skills and unique idea formation. Students experiment, plan, create, and reflect in our beautiful, light-filled art studio where student-driven work promotes ownership and engagement.

The SD art program frequently integrates with classroom curriculum, deepening students’ understanding of the interrelated nature of subjects as well as the importance of our visual culture.

Skills, such as observational drawing and ceramic hand-building techniques, spiral and sequence from Kindergarten all the way through to grade twelve within the visual art department.  

Art displays are on rotation throughout the year in our Lower School corridors.

Arts in Action

Each spring, parents enjoy an evening of viewing selected art pieces completed by the students over the year’s course of study combined with a performance of music, song, and dance which also demonstrates their cumulative skills development in those areas. These art shows are joyful and much-anticipated by students and parents alike.


Kindergarten Art

In Kindergarten, we begin the year with basic color theory and begin building our understanding of how the elements and principles are ingredients and recipes in our visual world. We paint like Kandinsky while listening to Stravinsky, use Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night for inspiration, draw with a scissors like Matisse, make pinch-pot ceramics, paint oversized Jasper Johns letters, make monoprints, collage with textures, and more. Some of the media we experiment with are crayon, tempera paint, printing ink, oil and chalk pastel, and watercolors.

Integrating art with other areas of the curriculum is an important part of the art department as we strive to give students another entry point in understanding the world.

Another purposeful part of the art program is the time, place, and community provided to the students for ‘play’ with art materials. This important opportunity allows kids to freely experiment and use their truly unique and individual ideas to stretch their minds.

First Grade Art

In First Grade, we explore Earth Art and Andy Goldsworthy, look at Gustav Klimt and his patterns, design Polynesian tapa cloth, paint Pop Art creations, sculpt birds with found materials, make pinch-pot and slab ceramics. Some of the media we experiment with are crayon, tempera paint, printing ink, oil and chalk pastel, and watercolors.

Integrating art with other areas of the curriculum is an important part of the art department as it offers students another entry point in understanding the world.

Another purposeful part of the art program is the time, place, and community provided to the students for ‘play’ with art materials. This important opportunity allows kids to freely experiment and use their truly unique and individual ideas to stretch their minds.

Second Grade Art

In Second Grade, we paint landscapes en plein aire looking at our beautiful campus, use memory writing or poetry for visual inspiration, study the artist and architect Hundertwasser, paint upside-down like Michelangelo, make pinch-pot and slab ceramics. Some of the media we experiment with are crayon, tempera paint, printing ink, oil and chalk pastel, walnut ink, and watercolors.

Integrating art with other areas of the curriculum is an important part of the art department as it offers students another entry point in understanding the world.

Another purposeful part of the art program is the time, place, and community provided to the students for ‘play’ with art materials. This important opportunity allows kids to freely experiment and use their truly unique and individual ideas to stretch their minds.

Third Grade Art

In Third Grade, we draw flowers from our beautiful campus like Georgia O’Keeffe, look at Hokusai for printmaking inspiration, use maps for personal collage, make pinch-pot, coil, and slab ceramics. Some of the media we experiment with are colored pencil, tempera paint, printing ink, oil pastel, and watercolors.

Integrating art with other areas of the curriculum is an important part of the art department as it offers students another entry point in understanding the world.

Another purposeful part of the art program is the time, place, and community provided to the students for ‘play’ with art materials. This important opportunity allows kids to freely experiment and use their truly unique and individual ideas to stretch their minds.

Fourth Grade Art

In Fourth Grade, we explore color theory making monochromatic paintings and warm and cool paintings, try Japanese Sumi-e ink painting, look at Vincent van Gogh’s impasto paintings for inspiration to paint sunflowers from our garden, create a Mission facade painting, make coil and slab ceramics. Some of the media we experiment with are ink, tempera paint, printing ink, oil pastel, and watercolors.
Integrating art with other areas of the curriculum is an important part of the art department as it offers students another entry point in understanding the world.

Another purposeful part of the art program is the time, place, and community provided to the students for ‘play’ with art materials. This important opportunity allows kids to freely experiment and use their truly unique and individual ideas to stretch their minds.

Fifth Grade Art

In Fifth Grade, we draw still-life from observation, paint Famous American portraits, create abstract paintings and sculptures, use digital photography combined with drawing, make additive-subtractive and slab ceramics, and look at some famous contemporary artists for inspiration. Students are introduced to linear perspective and learn how to create the illusion of three-dimensional forms with drawing. Collaborative work has been in the form of a canvas collaboration for Homeward Bound, a large-scale mural for the Lower School Commons building, and World Religions community chalkboard work. Some of the media we experiment with are acrylic and tempera paint, printing ink, charcoal, chalk, oil pastel, colored pencil, and watercolors.

Integrating art with other areas of the curriculum is an important part of the art department as it offers students another entry point in understanding the world.

Another purposeful part of the art program is the time, place, and community provided to the students for ‘play’ with art materials. This important opportunity allows kids to freely experiment and use their truly unique and individual ideas to stretch their minds.

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