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Visual Arts

Throughout each division within the Visual Arts experience at Lincoln School, students are guided by the department's belief that each and every child is an artist. Framed by this understanding, students are given the time, space, tools, and materials to further investigate and develop their craft through both critical and creative thinking.

Constructing both two- and three-dimensional art, their work is established on and around their ideas, passions, and personal identity. During every child's unique making process, they are exposed to diverse, modern, and historical art, and given the time to reflect not only on their finished pieces, but their artistic processes.

The Visual Arts department is connected within the four divisions (Little, Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools) through discussion, curricular design, and the celebration of every child's creative work within the classroom, hallways, and galleries.

Grades Served:

All Divisions

As a department, we celebrate the joy of individual artistic expression across divisions. Our students experience skill-based learning that is taught alongside personal expression, using a multitude of three- and two-dimensional materials to bring their work to life.

Anita Thompson, Lincoln School Visual Arts Department Head

Visual Arts: Little School

Art in the Little School is dedicated to focusing on the experience and process of making and creating. The children are invited to explore materials and techniques such as print making, collage, painting, and clay. The materials presented give each child options as they choose from a varied selection of paintbrushes, writing tools, and paints. Toddlers are then inspired to mix and layer media to create their own colors.

Through the encouraged participation and generosity of our school families, children use collected and recycled materials to build sculptures from paper tubes, create printing plates from cardboard, and recycle painted paper to add texture and depth for new projects. This reinforces our Quaker mission of Stewardship of the Earth. Artists, such as Joan Mitchell and Yayoi Kusama, are introduced to the toddlers and their work is viewed and discussed in the Studio. By learning about the creative work of artists, we reinforce connections between artists’ methodology and how students create their own brushstrokes, marks, colors, and lines. Literacy and visual art go hand in hand in our Reggio-inspired classroom. Picture books and storybooks are introduced by beloved artists like Eric Carle, whose work they are inspired by during their scientific study of butterflies.

Reggio Emilia Studio Experience

Inspired by the ateliers of the pre-primary schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, the Early Childhood Studio is a place of beauty, discovery, and exploration for children ages three to six, with weekly visits in small, carefully configured learning groups. The Studio experience is a three-year journey from the Early Childhood years through Kindergarten. 

Materials include a variety of art media, found objects from nature, and recycled and repurposed treasures. Experiences involve discussions as well as individual explorations and collaborative investigations and activities. Projects take place over time to allow for in-depth learning and the scaffolding of ideas. Day by day, children learn to use materials and tools in developmentally appropriate ways and with care and respect, expanding their knowledge and perspective. The Studio serves many purposes, but at its core it’s a place where children can be supported in all areas of their own unique development. Children learn what it means to be a positive and cooperative member of a group as we create a community together, ever mindful of our Quaker values. Listening, participating thoughtfully in discussions, and being respectful of ideas shared by others are valued, taught, and encouraged.

Visual Arts: Lower School

Lower School art focuses on self-expression and developing a strong artistic vocabulary through exploring a wide variety of materials and processes. Students work with both two- and three-dimensional media, including ceramics, while making cross-curricular connections. They are inspired by both contemporary and historically influential artists through biographical stories and field trips. Lower School artists head to Middle School empowered by their confidence in creative problem-solving skills and able to express ideas through the language of visual art.

Grade 1 art focuses on self-expression and studio habits while supporting drawing development and fine motor skills. 

Grade 2 artists continue to expand their artistic vocabulary and skill set in both two-and-three dimensional media. 

Grade 3 artists study modern art through a biographical lens and corresponding projects. T

Grade 4 art focuses on materials and processes. Students will hone drawing and painting skills, continue to practice hand building in ceramics, try their hand at sewing and fibers, and experiment with additional materials. 

Grade 5 artists synthesize previous artistic experiences and develop a firm understanding of the elements of art and design. They are encouraged to use art as a language as they ready themselves for creative expression in Middle School and beyond.

Visual Arts: Middle School

Curriculum focuses on diving deeper into their understanding of the elements and principles of art and design as they explore how to utilize tools and materials to express unique ideas and creative voice. Students are focused on the reinforcement of creative work based on personal identity and investigation through the lens of diverse projects and a wide variety of media and artistic methods. Some of the media that will be explored are ceramics, watercolor, block printing and many different forms of sculpture. 

Students are challenged to address each project in terms of how their work reflects who currently they are as a growing artist, and encouraged to uncover ways that they can personalize each creative prompt to fit their own unique experience and ideas. In-class reflection about where students’ artistic inspiration comes from is reinforced through one-to-one discussion and in class critique. Through the sharing of thoughts and personal vision experienced within the in class critique, reflective project analysis, use of artistic vocabulary, and student celebration is reinforced. Art history, art appreciation, creative problem solving, and critical thinking are also integrated into each student’s singular creations or their work together as a group.

Students work on projects including: self portraits, block printing, the science of color exploration and experimentation, ceramics construction (both useable small textured dish ware and sculpture), collage, drawing (both observational and imaginative), and design and drawing (concurrent concepts that threaded along and support each elegant prompt).

Visual Arts: Upper School

Throughout Upper School, Visual Arts classes are all about individualization. Here, students are involved with the creation of not only art, but the fundamental content behind it. Throughout that process, students are encouraged to reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and identities to shape the creative process. In each class, experimentation, trial, error, and joy reinforced and celebrated at every step. We assess the process of artistic learning, not just the final product, holding both up as significant learning experiences which support the student artists who create them.

Students discuss traditional modern and historical art, but we also place a heavy emphasis on artwork created by historically marginalized populations including female artists, queer artists, and artists of color. After completing Studio Art in Grade 9, students select from many unique electives including Photography, Advanced Photography, Advanced Studio, Ceramics, Advanced Ceramics, Art of the Assemblage, and the Art Major, which concludes with the creation of a portfolio and a senior art show.

Lincoln is home to several signature electives—the only school in the state to offer these opportunities. In Life Drawing and Figurative Sculpture, students learn about anatomy while drawing and constructing the three-dimensional forms alongside an on-site model. In Art of the Assemblage, students learn how to engineer sculptures or garments out of recycled materials and found objects as a part of STYLEWEEK New England. And jewelry and metalworking are offered through our relationship with the Providence Steel Yard