Visual Arts Faculty

Navanjali Kelsey

Navanjali Kelsey

Visual Arts
Elizabeth McGiff

Elizabeth McGiff

Ceramics, Visual Arts, Warner Art Gallery Assistant Director
John McGiff

John McGiff

Arts Department Co-Chair, Warner Art Gallery Director, Drawing, Painting, Art History
Joshua Meier

Joshua Meier

Photography

Visual Arts

The visual arts program at St. Andrew's seeks to foster an understanding and appreciation of drawing, painting, ceramics, photography, and film, while also encouraging students to discover and pursue interests in any or all of these art forms, and to develop personally as adventurous, expressive, and creative individuals. Our visual arts courses provide both formal training and instruction in the theoretical, historical and cultural background of each discipline. This intensive training and instruction, combined with close contact with established faculty artists who are continually pursuing their own artistic practices, allows the student grow in their artistic understanding, creative capabilities, and tendency toward free expression. Our master-apprentice teaching model for the visual arts allows our students to gain a strong sense of the arts as a means for investigating and celebrating the world in which they live.

An additional fee may be charged for visual arts classes to help defray the cost of materials.

Read more about the individual visual arts disciplines offered at St. Andrew's on the Arts section of our website.

Visual Arts Department News

"Secret Lives" of Faculty Featured in Gallery Show

On Friday, February 9, the Warner Art Gallery showcased the "Secret Lives" of faculty and staff at St. Andrew's. Arts Department Co-Chair and Warner Gallery Director John McGiff first had the idea for this type of gallery show approximately 15 years ago, prior to the O'Brien Arts Center being built. The show then was on a much smaller scale; however, was successful in creating what John referred to as "a sense of community that celebrated the adult population regardless of staff/faculty designations."

John's intention this year was even more ambitious. He noted, "This time around, it was important not just to underscore the working community of adults here, but to help the students look beyond the obvious roles we fill in our jobs to create the opportunity for them to be surprised by how multi-dimensional one's interests could become as one grows up. We also wanted to expand the definition of what a creative life might look like. How can one develop a creative practice that engages one with the outside world and commits one to being sharp, constantly developing a skill set and always looking to get better at this given practice? 'When you stop getting better, you stop being good' is a life attitude that many of us subscribe to in ways that are 'secret' or unknown to the community. We wanted to celebrate this power, have some fun and then break the mold a little."

The gallery show kicked off with a Chapel service in Engelhard Hall celebrating creativity and featuring a piano performance by facilities team member Joe Kalmbacher, a poetry reading by English faculty member Will Porter, and a musical theater performance of Sisters by Arts Department Co-Chair and Director of Theatre Program Ann Taylor, Director of Choral and Vocal Music Program Quinn Kerrane, and Director of Technology Peter Hoopes. Following the indoor performances, community members were invited outside to watch an ice carving demonstration by Chef Ray from Sage Dining Services and to view and discuss the restoration work facilities team member Jay Knight has completed on his 1966 Chevy Nova. Inside the gallery, the many talents of faculty and staff were on display through paintings, photography, sketches, wood carvings, model car building, ceramics, knitting, and quilting—and the list goes on.

The Secret Lives gallery show will remain open through Wednesday, February 28.


John McGiff's Chapel Talk

One of the experiences I've come to appreciate here, after meeting and working with so many persons—young, middle-road and beyond—is how I am constantly surprised by the hidden dimensions of the lives of our faculty, staff and students—where we've lived, how we spend our time away from here, what activities and practices we engage in to keep ourselves at least partially whole and balanced, and maybe even downright boisterous and crazy passionate about this gift of life we all share.

Because we live so closely with one another, two different social expectations tend to form. We both appreciate the multi-dimensional character of everyone here—adults are teachers, coaches, parents, advisers, and staff members; students are artists, athletes, scholars, and budding social citizens. We teach one another so much, but we are also mysteries to one another and tend to put each other in neat, understandable boxes to keep it all manageable and in check. Makes sense; makes our social landscape navigable. Oh yeah, that guy Joe Kalmbacher in the sunglasses and goatee in the white van, he delivers my Amazon Prime boxes to Central Receiving—but did you ever hear him play piano? And Ron Lindsey, he's an incredible electrician and good guy—but did you know that he races Suzuki Hyabuse motorcycles up to 170 miles an hour, plays pool better than Jackie Gleason in The Hustler, and could give Garry Kasparov fits on the chess board?

We humans are tricky to understand and appreciate, so we are dedicating this chapel today, and this current gallery exhibition to the "secret lives" of normal persons who have creative passions they pursue on their own because this brings them joy and fulfillment. This is the healthy, energized adult at play. These are examples of the curious child alive in adults that you know: these are your role models and outliers... This focus also begs the question of us all:

How do we spend our time when it opens up; what restores, renews, and connects us, roots us to being, in our bodies and imagination, glad to be here, alive and feeling creatively in motion. Not just that we are contributing to the social good but that we are investing in—and growing—ourselves and thereby benefiting the world around us with an uprising energy.

Spinning some complex shape on a 3D printer, planting and growing a garden, whittling a piece of wood, making a table, creating a forest dream space with discovered timber and stones, finding that one part of the newly made car engine that was screwing up the timing of everything else, and then fixing it, choosing the right tie, that perfect, marvelous hairband, having your heart stopped by a pitch of voice in a song, the particular riff of a guitar: we are all designers and purveyors of taste and beauty, everyone here, and many of us find happiness in regular hands-on acts that give us a sense of satisfaction which is the feeling of movement—super essential to the shark in all of us. Let us celebrate this drive and passion that is a human—nay, an animal—siren call with thousands of manifestations. We are all of us created and, by the virtue of this shared cosmic energy, we are creators, as well. This active principle drives everything we attempt. Let's embrace it and celebrate its flowering in our community.

Arts Requirement

Students are required to participate in a curricular or co-curricular aspect of the arts program before graduation. Incoming III Form students are required to take Introduction to the Arts.


Visual Arts Courses

Introduction to the Arts

Required for III Form students

Half-credit course

Team-taught by visual and performing arts faculty, this course introduces all III Form students to the breadth of the arts curriculum at St. Andrew's through six-week long workshops in dance, music, theatre, and art (students will have rotated through all four by the completion of the course). Developing an appreciation of art patronage is also a strong component of this course; students are asked to attend and reflect upon both peer and professional performances and exhibits offered at the School throughout the year.

Art History

Art History: Medieval to Baroque

Art History: Modernism to the Present

History of Photography

Open to IV, V, & VI Form students

Semester-Long Half-Credit Elective

For the past 200 years, no other medium has impacted the human race quite like the photograph. This course is an introduction to the photographic medium, from its birth in the early nineteenth century through today. Students will survey major artists and makers as well as important developments in aesthetics, theory, and the role of photography in culture. Classes will be augmented by demonstrations of certain photographic processes in order to better understand the technical advancements of the medium over time.

Studio Art

Drawing 1

open to IV, V, VI Form students

semester-Long Half-credit elective

Students in this course work with a variety of media to create a visual language for describing natural form. Using charcoal, conte, and pastel, students render still-lifes, landscapes, and portraits with the goal of creating strong representational images.

Drawing 2

open to IV, V, VI Form students

Prerequisite: Drawing 1 or instructor permission

semester-long, half-credit elective

Painting 1

open to IV, V, VI Form students

semester-long Half-credit Elective

In Painting 1, students work on on still-lifes, landscapes, and portraits, and in doing so learn how to use color as a means for describing light and form.

Painting 2

open to IV, V, VI Form students

Prerequisite: Painting 1 or instructor permission

semester-long, half-credit elective

Printmaking

open to IV, V, VI Form students

SEMESTER-LONG HALF-CREDIT Elective

PREREQUISITE: PHOTO 1 or Drawing 1

The medium of printmaking provides an arena of creativity where photography, drawing, collage, and painting collide. Through an examination of etching, relief, and screenprinting, students will have the opportunity to create a portfolio of prints that showcases each of these areas. By its nature, Printmaking is a communal activity that relies on each person playing a different role in the print studio. In this way, each print becomes a collaboration between the participants, with every student supporting the other.

Ceramics

open to IV, V, VI Form students

Semester-Long Half-Credit Elective

This class is open to students of all levels of ceramic experience. With open-ended assignments, various demonstrations and techniques will be shown by the teacher so that students can advance at their own pace. With students of various levels working together in one class, a community of support will develop.

Glaze Formulations

open to IV, V, VI form students

Semester-Long Half-Credit Elective

This class will be run more like a science lab with students testing base glaze recipes with various oxide and stain additions. Bilateral and triaxial blends will be explored as well as various kiln firings. Students will learn some basic skills working with clay to make their own items on which to test glazes.

Advanced Study in Drawing & Painting

open to VI Form students

Prerequisite: Drawing 2 or Painting 2

This yearlong course is an intensive studio class designed for VI Form students interested in investigating advanced methods and concepts central to the visual arts. Students concentrate on hands-on studio work with individual faculty in one of the visual arts disciplines (painting, ceramics, photography, or film), and come together for lectures and discussions of contemporary issues in art, practical demonstrations, such as portfolio development, and critiques. Coordinated, thematic assignments stimulate comparative discussions among visual art disciplines as in an advanced fine arts seminar.

Advanced Study in Ceramics

open to VI Form students

Prerequisite: two semesters of ceramics

This yearlong class is for the serious ceramic arts student. Assignments will be self-generated, and with that independence comes greater expectations and responsibilities. Students will expand their understanding of what it means to be a ceramic artist. Students will develop a body of work that shows their creative thinking as well as their developing skills. They will take greater ownership of the entire process of working with clay and maintaining a healthy studio, including clay recycling, mixing glazes, and loading the kiln.

Photography and Film Studies

Film Studies 1

open to VI, V, VI Form students

Semester-Long Half-credit elective

Film Studies introduces students to the basic elements of the film medium. Students examine both classic and contemporary films and analyze cinematography, plot, thematic and sound elements. In conjunction with the critical component of the course, students also explore the film production process. Students shoot and edit their own pieces for the class, and, during the latter part of the course, develop and produce individual projects.

Film Studies 2

open to IV, V, VI Form students

Semester-Long Half-Credit Elective

Prerequisite: Film Studies 1 or instructor permission

The Film Studies 2 course follows the curriculum begun in Film Studies 1 and provides a deeper exploration of screenwriting and story structure, cinematography, lighting and sound. Students work on four or five larger projects as individuals and in teams as they further explore the technical and artistic aspects of creating for the moving picture. Students will work with more advanced cameras, lenses, and sound equipment and spend seven to eight weeks developing a script of an original story.

Photography 1

open to IV, V, VI Form students

Semester-Long Half-credit elective

This course allows students to explore the expressive qualities of black-and-white photography while learning both the fundamentals of image-making with a 35mm manual camera, and the functions of a black-and-white wet darkroom. Students hone their photographic voice in an open critique setting and learn to edit their work by compiling a comprehensive final portfolio. They are introduced to medium-format film and have the opportunity to experiment with a Holga camera. A study of historical and contemporary photography complements practical exercise and work in the darkroom. No prior experience is required, but access to a 35mm camera with manual exposure capability is necessary.

Darkroom/Wet Lab

open to IV, V, VI Form Students

Semester-Long Half-Credit Elective

Prerequisite: Photo 1

This course explores all aspects of traditional wet-lab photography. We will learn about, and experiment with, small, medium, and large format film cameras. Students will learn how to work with the wide variety of chemicals involved in the creation of analog photographic materials, and discover how many contemporary artists are reinventing the past and finding inspiration in these beautiful techniques . Most importantly, student will walk away with a portfolio of beautiful, unique prints from a wide array of fine art photographic processes.

Advanced Lighting

open to V & VI Form students

SEMESTER-LONG HALF-CREDIT Elective

PREREQUISITE: PHOTO 1

Understanding light is undeniably the most important skill that a photographer can possess. In fact, many photographers believe that light IS the subject of every photograph. This course will guide students through all aspect of lighting, from natural/available, to studio, to location shoots where artificial and natural light come together. We will explore how to modify, shape, and balance lighting of all kinds in order to achieve whatever look we want, in any situation.

Advanced Study in Photography

open to VI Form students

Two semesters of a Photo class, one of which must be photo 1

This yearlong course is an intensive studio art (in this case, photography) class designed for VI Form students interested in investigating advanced methods and concepts central to the visual arts. Students concentrate on hands-on studio work with individual faculty in one of the visual arts disciplines (painting, photography, sculpture, or film), and come together for lectures and discussions of contemporary issues in art, practical demonstrations, such as portfolio development, and critiques. Coordinated, thematic assignments stimulate comparative discussions among visual art disciplines as in an advanced collegiate fine arts seminar.

History of Photography

OPEN TO IV, V, & VI FORM STUDENTS

SEMESTER-LONG HALF-CREDIT ELECTIVE (OFFERED SPRING SEMESTER ONLY)

For the past 200 years, no other medium has impacted the human race quite like the photograph. This course is an introduction to the photographic medium, from its birth in the early nineteenth century through today. Students will survey major artists and makers as well as important developments in aesthetics, theory, and the role of photography in culture. Classes will be augmented by demonstrations of certain photographic processes in order to better understand the technical advancements of the medium over time.