The prominent position the arts play in the curriculum symbolizes Cape Henry’s deep belief in the art’s indispensable role in a well-rounded education. The Visual Arts program adds a breadth of growth and experience in ways that only the visual arts can. Students are engaged in higher level thinking as they seek answers to complex visual challenges, often resulting in many creative solutions. Students are asked to make qualitative judgments of subtle differences instead of adhering to a strict set of rules. Students are encouraged to communicate visually using their own mind and “voice”, and to appreciate the many perspectives offered by the way others see and interpret the world. Art materials are both physically and perceptively pliable, allowing students the opportunities to make the creative decisions that transform realities into expressive and unique creations. The visual arts give students the means to communicate the feelings that are difficult to put into words, reflect complex ideas that need expressing, and use the voice that is uniquely their own.
Students in Prekindergarten through Grade 5 have an art class each week. Lower School student artwork is displayed all year long in the Hathaway Family Art Gallery in the Lower School’s foyer. Many projects are the result of teachers coordinating lesson plans in order to reinforce and expand core concepts. Artwork at this level can also be viewed in The Fain Family Atrium for Grandparents' Day, and as part of the school-wide Student Art Show in The Hirschbiel Center for the Arts in March.
Middle School Art Foundations 6, Studio Art 7, and Advanced Studio Art 8 classes are held four days a week for one semester. Advanced Studio Art 8 meets four days a week for the entire year. Art Foundations explores a wide realm of mediums with an emphasis on utilization of the design elements for expression and communication. The foundation course prepares all rising seventh graders for success in Studio Art 7 and Advanced Studio Art 8. Each studio focuses on vocabulary, art history, and techniques in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Advanced Studio Art 8 allows more time for pursuing individual projects, for exploration of art media and techniques, and for developing art skills. To enter Advanced Art 8, a minimum commitment of one semester in art required. Its prerequisite includes Art Foundations 6 or Studio Art 7.
Upper School students explore a breadth of two and three-dimensional media in the yearlong Art Foundation class, while experiencing a variety of projects that emphasize all aspects of the components of design. Beyond the foundation class, art classes are offered by the semester with emphasis on a variety of media or design challenges. These classes include Drawing and Painting, Printmaking, Photography 1 and 2, Airbrush, Oil Painting, Global Jewelry 1 and 2, Ceramics and Sculpture. AP Studio Art is available to those who have earned at least four or more Upper School visual arts credits. Upper school artwork is displayed in The Hirschbiel Center for the Arts and in Founders Hall throughout the year.
All three school levels participate in the Neptune Festival Sand Sculpting Contest in September. The Phillips Family Gallery features student artwork in December and March during Youth Art Month, and local artists and art groups are featured all other months of the school year.