Visual Arts

The visual arts are an integral part of Suffield Academy’s curriculum. When you walk into the Tremaine Visual Arts Center, you will find artists pursuing a variety of interests—from painting and drawing to drafting, photography, ceramics, and sculpture. The foundation of the teaching philosophy in the arts department is the belief that everyone has potential. Here, self-inquiry begins and fundamental skills are taught and learned. Teachers work closely with individual students to find their strengths. Students work independently, but with close faculty mentoring, and explore and develop their own ideas. Artistic expression is believed to be the impetus of self-expression, which is the cornerstone of a liberal arts education. At Suffield, we believe educational processes that deny humanity's artistic nature limit what and how we learn. The visual arts program encourages students to examine the artist's methods and learn how the artist thinks. The curriculum is supportive of both students with less experience tapping into their creative resources and those with remarkable talent.
Suffield’s visual arts curriculum teaches students to:
» Acknowledge the artists within themselves
» Acquire fundamental skills and develop authentic artistic expression
» Understand that the skills needed by the artist are related to those used by scholars in other disciplines

Course Descriptions

List of 9 frequently asked questions.

  • + Art I

    Term: Full year
     Studio Art I is an entry-level course designed to build a foundation from which a student may grow. Through the traditional disciplines of drawing and painting, students are made aware of the thinking that is fundamental to any creative activity. Through work in the studio, they learn to order and to discipline resources. The course deals primarily with the development of a concept and with its expression in graphic form. However, allowance is made for experimentation in other media, with appropriate emphasis placed on technical concerns. Experience gained in the important areas of creativity, imagination, and invention is soon put to work on independent art projects.
  • + Advanced Studio Art 

    Term: Full year 
     In this class, students work to create visual pursuits designed around each of their particular interests. Focus is on two-dimensional art such as drawing, painting, print-making, and collage. Portfolio development is a large component of this course.  Additionally, students will examine significant works of art and artists to help them make stylistic connections and enrich their own work. Individual approached to subject matter and personal expression are stressed.   Prerequisite: Studio Art I, or permission of the art department
  • + Ceramics I

    Term: Full Year
    This course provides students with a comprehensive set of elemental techniques with which to create a variety of finished sculptural and functional ceramic pieces. Hand-building techniques include pinch, coil, and slab construction; students also use a potter’s wheel. Students concentrate on wedging their clay, centering, creating basic forms, and further developing their skills. Throughout the course, students gain an understanding of glazing and surface decoration, discerning how these relate to pottery form. Interested students may acquire a knowledge of different firing techniques, as well as experience in loading and firing a kiln.
  • + Photography I

    Term: Full year
    This course involves a study of photography from the traditional analog to digital and experimental photographic techniques. The course begins with the 35mm SLR camera and its component parts (what they are, how they function and how to use them). It also includes composition and darkroom techniques (making and using solutions, film developing, printing and darkroom manipulation). The course will evolve over the year as students apply their traditional training to working with digital SLR cameras and finishing the year with experimental photography. It is recommended that students have their own 35mm SLR camera as well as a Digital SLR camera (not required).
  • + Graphic Design

    Term: Full year
    This course is framed around understanding the principles of design (contrast, repetition, alignment & proximity) and will teach students critical skills in graphic design. Working in programs such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, each student will learn how to effectively analyze and create layouts to send powerful messages. Topics explored include logo design and development, typography, magazine layout and template design. Students will finish the year by designing and creating the school art and literary magazine. They will also create a website showcasing their work from the year. Completing this course will equip each student with an understanding of their own design aesthetic and with the training to explore an interest in the design and advertising industry. Prerequisite: Successful completion of an introductory art course.
  • + Media Arts

    Term: Full year
    This course explores expression of art through the use of modern and innovative technology. In addition to the observation of society’s manipulation of image and video, students will be experimenting with creation through the use of iMovie, Garage Band, Final Cut Pro, digital cameras, video production and a variety of other innovative tools. Students will learn to express their own ideas through harnessing media, building on their ability to communicate in the 21st century. Working both individually and collaboratively, students will be tasked with creating a final project; creating a multimedia project to share a message of importance to the Suffield community. Prerequisite: Must have taken one year of art OR received special approval from instructor.
  • + Advanced Image Making

    Term: Full year
    This advanced course is for students who have taken art classes for multiple years or have demonstrated mastery skills in their work. This class is for artists who are interested in exploring new and innovative ways of expressing their creative ideas through mixed media image making techniques. A highly involved course, students will be pushed to explore their personal eye and interests as image makers. Learning techniques in screen printing, monotype printmaking and experimental vintage photographic processes; this course will give students the tools to engage with their imagery in a new way and experiment with mixing media together. In order to take this course you must have a portfolio that is approved by the instructor. Prerequisites: Must have taken photography for two years OR art II.
  • + Architecture

    Term: Fall
    This course will encompass the basic history of this art form and then evolve into architectural drawing from observation of existing buildings on our campus. Emphasis will be on the observance of style and setting. With this study as a basis students will then move to model-making where each student will experience wood working machinery and tools. The final project will be a scale model of a stick frame house based on blueprints and construction plans. Prerequisite: Studio Art I.
  • + Introduction to Visual Communication Design

    With a hands on approach, this course introduces students to the world of visual communication design. Analyzing how media is currently used in our society, students will begin to gain an understanding of how to effectively captivate an audience with new media. Through use of traditional studio materials, as well as digital media, this class includes an in depth exploration of the principles of design, color theory, symbolism, and collage in order to empower students to convey a visual message in the 21st century. 

Visual Arts Department

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Melinda Fuller

    Melinda Fuller 

    Co-Chair, Visual Arts Department
    University of North Carolina - B.F.A.
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  • Photo of Jenny Graham

    Jenny Graham 

    Co-Chair, Visual Arts Department
    Hartford Art School - B.F.A
    University Connecticut - M.A.
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  • Photo of Erica  Caginalp

    Erica  Caginalp 

    Visual Arts Department
    Alfred University - B.F.A.
    SUNY New Paltz - M.S.Ed.
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  • Photo of Garrett  VanderVoort

    Garrett  VanderVoort 

    SUNY at Buffalo - B.F.A.
    The City College of New York - M.F.A.
Suffield Academy   185 North Main Street   Suffield, Connecticut 06078   Phone 860.386.4400  |  Fax 860.386.4411