An independent, college preparatory school, grades Transitional Kindergarten through 12

We exist to Inspire

Providence Day School exists to inspire in its students a passion for learning, a commitment to personal integrity, and a sense of social responsibility

Visual Arts

Student in ceramics class

Visual Arts courses provide essential experiences for Providence Day students. Whether manipulating studio media, developing film in the darkroom, or using unconventional materials, our students explore multiple outlets for creative, meaningful expression.

Compassionate teachers at Providence Day help students develop the skills, discipline, and self-confidence that characterize successful artists. With curricular emphasis on fundamental processes, visual arts courses challenge students to be original, resourceful, and innovative. Ultimately, the arts provide PDS students with the tools to communicate intellectually and enhance human life. 



In sixth grade, Art explores observational drawing and compositional techniques in dry media and collage. Students are introduced to selected art history topics and art criticism. With emphasis on creativity and craftsmanship, each assignment is simultaneously challenging and fun. Also, the process of self-evaluation begins in this course with the introduction of critique sessions.

In seventh and eighth grades, the objectives of the instruction are in the major areas of painting and drawing, three-dimensional work, design, and printmaking, with emphasis on drawing skills. Students may take this course only once.

The experienced middle school artist demonstrates originality and creativity in all assignments. Imagination, manipulation of media, and effective self-evaluation are vital parts of this course. Students verbally discuss their work and those of their classmates in critique sessions. Major units of study include drawing, painting, clay hand building, and printmaking techniques and processes. Students may enroll in this course only once in middle school. Several art projects include art historical references.


Student-artists learn how to communicate visually by making effective use of elements and principles of aesthetic design. Introductory courses emphasize art-making skills, materials, and processes. Advanced visual arts courses provide opportunities to explore and develop skills using various techniques in both conventional and non-traditional media.

Visual arts teachers design assignments that build confidence and encourage students to relate to their own personal and cultural experiences. To promote creativity, originality, and problem-solving skills, teachers expect visual art students to consider all possible solutions to challenging assignments.

Successful visual arts students celebrate multiple perspectives and contribute constructive commentary during class critiques. Both of which enhance valuable self-assessment skills. Art historical references made throughout the curriculum teach a lifelong appreciation of the meanings and purposes of art, artists, and cultural differences.


Four-day trips planned specifically for upper school students to view art and architecture in Chicago and New York City take place every other year. Art teachers schedule and lead groups to view art at local galleries, including the Mint Museum, Bechtler Museum, NODA galleries, and McColl Center for Art at various times of the school year.


Usually once or twice a year, visiting artists contribute to the visual arts curriculum with demonstrations, assignments, and critical assessment.


Alumni-Faculty Exhibit
January - March
This annual event is usually held in late January until early March. Recent works created by alumni and faculty artists are displayed in the Fine Arts foyer and the Dining Hall.

Youth Art Month Regional Show
Held at different school locations, works by selected lower school artists are displayed in this annual event.

End-of-the-Year/Best-of-the-Year Exhibit
This annual exhibit showcases the best Middle School and Upper School artworks are gleaned from class assignments throughout the year and displayed throughout the Fine Arts building.

Spotlight on the Arts
Each month, Upper School student artists participate in performances, held on campus during upper school lunch periods.