Studying the visual arts at Lakeside means making art. Our faculty encourages students to exercise their personal creativity while showing them how the rigor and reflection that is part of the creative process can help them to turn a rough concept into a finished work of art that can be shared with the greater community.
Visual arts classrooms and studios are both intensely focused and casual. In working on projects of increasing sophistication, students can attain deep concentration, while at the same time working in an environment where it’s more than okay to make mistakes; it’s a crucial part of the learning process.
Middle School: Learning the creative process
Middle School students learn how to harness fundamental elements of design – color, line, value, shape, pattern, and texture – as they create a wide range of art forms, including drawing, printmaking, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and felting. The faculty teaches students the basics of the creative process and technical skills, as students channel their natural creativity towards finished work.
Students learn how to take creative risks, reflect on their process, evaluate their own work and the work of others, and give and receive constructive feedback.
Classes are grade-based and grow more sophisticated and challenging as students mature. Students study different artists, cultures, and artistic traditions including Polynesian sculpture, Asian and European watercolors, and American portraiture. Interdisciplinary projects create links between the arts and students’ other classes, such as designing and coding a website that highlights their visual arts portfolio and felting wool to depict astronomical bodies they study in science.
Visual arts classes meet twice a week, and students are able to work in the art studio during free periods and lunchtime. Student artwork is displayed throughout the building, and the library hosts rotating exhibits. Eighth graders display pieces of artwork in a culminating exhibit that is part of Middle School graduation.
Learn more about Middle School visual arts in our Middle School curriculum guide.
Upper School: Breadth and depth
Upper School visual arts classes allow students to both experiment and specialize in a variety of visual arts including ceramics, drawing and painting, photography, and sculpture. Students work closely with inspiring faculty who are themselves working artists. In addition to a strong grounding in the creative process, students learn basic design principles and artistic techniques (both traditional and digital) of increasing sophistication. They also learn how to conduct a thoughtful critique of their own work and others, and collaborate with their teachers and classmates to discover new ways of engaging with their art.
Visuals arts classes take place in Pigott Arts Center, which has large light-filled studios, six kilns, 16 pottery wheels, a glaze-mixing room, a full woodshop, a room set up for portfolio documentation, a fully equipped black and white darkroom, and state-of-the-art digital printing stations. The gallery at the heart of the building features rotating exhibits of two- and three-dimensional student work at all levels of experience.
Seniors working in the visual arts hold gallery exhibits of their work every May in the weeks leading up to Arts Fest, an annual event that celebrates the arts at Lakeside. Students regularly enter, and frequently place, in contests including Bellevue Art Museum’s 20 Under 20 exhibition, the Washington State High School Photo Contest, and the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts’ National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition.
Students who participate in advanced-level classes will be prepared to take studio classes at the college level. Lakeside students have gone on to have professional careers in fine art, graphic design, architecture, photography, and other fields. All students will gain an understanding for how to view, evaluate, and discuss works of visual art, and an appreciation for its role in a global culture.
Learn more about Upper School visual arts in our Upper School curriculum guide.
Some visual arts courses may be available for credit through Summer at Lakeside.