I’ll never forget the excitement of installation week and the long hours Marsha would spend in the studio—plaster dust footprints left behind. The Visual Arts Department represents a unique bond among its students and instructors.”
— Michele, Visual Arts Parent

Within the Visual Arts Department framework of studio practice, critique, and exhibition, students develop skills to articulate their ideas and process and become self-directed in pursuing their own subject matter and concept areas in their artwork.

By pairing traditional arts training with contemporary art making practices, the Visual Arts Department curriculum teaches technical and conceptual skills that build critical integrity, foster artistic authenticity, and advance independent and ambitious thinking and making.

Each student takes classes in drawing, design, and color theory as well as electives in printmaking, painting, photography, sculpture, digital studio and interdisciplinary arts.

While the Visual Arts curriculum is student-centered and portfolio based, students value their peers and understand their unique artwork is a result of a collaborative and rigorous studio environment. Courses encourage students to explore, experiment and develop proficiency with different processes, materials and art forms, on route to finding their own artistic voice as exemplified in their portfolio.

During the first year the Visual Arts Program, students focus on building foundation and technical skills. In advanced years, students develop a portfolio for college admission and create a body of work for a Senior Exhibition. Throughout the four years, students participate in traditional intensive figure drawing workshops and conversely are introduced and engage with contemporary art making practices. Photoshop and digital mediums are integrated into across the Visual Arts curriculum. Students regularly showcase their work through professional juried exhibitions, school exhibitions and outside opportunities in Chicago’s arts community.

The Academy believes it is not what an exceptional art portfolio looks like that makes it unique, it is what that exceptional portfolio thinks like that makes each of our students distinct.

Our recent graduates garner scholarships to esteemed and competitive art and liberal arts schools including:

The Cooper Union, Rhode Island School of Design, Maryland Institute College of Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Parsons New School of Design, Pratt Institute, Kansas City Art Institute, Bard College, Colorado College, Central St. Martins London, Carnegie Melon University

More about the Visual Arts Department


*Course titles reflect transcripts for the 2017-2018 freshman class.