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Visual Arts

The Arts Open Doors

At Kents Hill School, we see the arts as a door to greater understanding of our fellow human beings and ourselves. We provide a rich program in the visual arts, music, and theater that gives every student the opportunity to practice and perform. Students may choose from a range of arts electives and extracurricular activities. Students are required to take four trimesters of courses in the arts, but most go beyond the requirement with a full two years or more of arts courses.

Visiting artists-in-residence spend the year on campus and teach classes in their specialities in visual arts, music, and performing arts. They are an inspiring presence on campus and a resource for students and teachers. In the visual arts, we offer an average of 15 elective courses per trimester. The recently installed Macintosh Laboratory provides the latest technology for digital imaging, illustration, and graphic arts. Classes include Environmental Art and Design, and Sculpture and 3-D Design.

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Recognize 11 Kents Hill School Students

Thirty-two works of art from 11 Kents Hill School students received recognition from the Maine Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the most in the school’s history of participating in the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious awards program for young artists.

Bomin Ahn ‘18 received 14 awards including three Gold Key Awards, four Silver Key Awards, and seven Honorable Mention Awards; Grace Chute ’19 received one Gold Key Award, Ben Danielson ’18 received six awards including one Silver Key Award and five Honorable Mention Awards; Leah Herbin ’18 received one Gold Key Award, Kate McKee ’18 received three awards including two Gold Key Awards and one Honorable Mention Award; Yuzi Qiu ’18 received one Honorable Mention Award; Nevin Sabatini ‘19 received one Honorable Mention Award; Kwan Ting So ’20 received one Honorable Mention Award; Ellie Spring ‘18 received one Silver Key Award and one Honorable Mention Award; Kaden Symes ‘19 received one Gold Key Award; and Alisa Tarasova ‘19 received one Gold Key Award.

“The visual arts is one of many avenues that our students use to express creativity, individuality, and independent voice,” says Babs Wheelden, Chair of the Visual Arts Department. “The works that our students produce in drawing, painting, digital art, film, woodworking, photography, and sculpture are a direct representation of our diverse community. We are thrilled to submit several works and even more excited to have that work validated by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers and juried by luminaries in the visual arts. With nine Gold Key Awards going on to be judged nationally by an impressive panel of industry experts, we are hopeful that our students have another opportunity to demonstrate excellence.”

The students will be recognized by having their works on display at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine, through Saturday, February 10, and during an Awards Ceremony on February 10 at 1:00 p.m. All Gold Key Awards will be considered for Maine Congressional Awards and national recognition from Scholastic Art and Writing. Kents Hill School has a long history of distinction and national recognition in the visual arts, with Katie Sprague ’17 receiving runner-up for Maine’s First Congressional District in the 2017 Congressional Art Competition, and Morgan Zenter '16 being named a National Gold Key Medalist in the 2016 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her ceramic installation "Enteroctopus Dofleini."

List of 10 items.

  • Art Foundations

    This required course is intended to give students new to the Visual Arts Department at Kents Hill, a basic foundation in art while also learning about contemporary artists and current art practices. Working in a variety of mediums, and with the elements of art as the main focus, the fundamentals of art and design will be considered. This course will provide the necessary background for students interested in pursuing any introductory course offered by the department.
  • Advanced Placement Art History

    This year-long course is designed to provide students with an understanding of architecture, sculpture, painting and other forms within historical and cultural contexts. In this course, students will examine major forms of artistic expression from the past and present, from a variety of cultures. Our studies range across space as well as time to include the art of ancient Africa, Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, Asia and the Middle East. Students will learn to look at works of art critically, with intelligence and sensitivity and to analyze what they see.
  • Advanced Placement Studio Art

    This year long course is intended for inspired artists who are serious about art making and are considering a major or minor in art in college. Students will prepare an art portfolio for the AP 2-D, 3-D or the Drawing Studio Art Exam in May and for their college applications. The goals of this course are to encourage creative as well as systemic investigation of formal and conceptual issues; to emphasize art as an ongoing process involving informed and critical decision-making; to develop technical skills and to familiarize students with the functions of the visuals elements. 
  • Ceramics

    These clay based courses include the first stages of forming clay through hand building, learning the basics of throwing on a potter's wheel, and various glazing techniques. A variety of projects are assigned from clay tiles to teapots. For students with the basics behind them, the goal of the course is to allow for experimentation and skill building. Students learn by widening their approach and are challenged to develop the ability to reproduce a form. By the third trimester of ceramic studies, students will use various clay bodies and complete technical firings like raku and soda firings. Students are encouraged to be creative with regard to aesthetic, physical, and chemical problems involving clay, glaze and the firing process.
  • Creative Woodworking

    Creative Woodworking is a thorough introduction to furniture making, with a focus on traditional hand skills. The proper use of hand and power tools, such as the table saw, jointer, planer and bandsaw will be addressed. A healthy respect for each approach will be an integral part of the learning experience. Through daily lectures and demonstrations, the teacher will introduce skills such as lumber selection, milling, joinery, scraping, sanding, assembly, and finishing. Individually designed projects as well as a class project will be introduced.
  • Drawing & Painting

    We offer a variety of courses for the practice of painting and drawing.  Drawing and Painting I, II, and II, Digital Illustration, and AP Studio Art Drawing all provide our students with the development of drawing and rendering skills. Using a wide range of mediums, students will experiment with the concept of drawing as a communication tool. The basic elements of art continue to be a focus in this class. Students in these drawing and painting courses will be trying out new ideas, using different materials, and experimenting with drawing techniques are the foci of this course. All of these courses allow serious art students an opportunity to explore their own creativity and problem solving capabilities. 
  • Environmental Art & Design

    The purpose of the environmental art and design course is to focus on a variety of interrelated topics with the environment at the center of our creative thinking. Core objectives are to develop in students an informed understanding and use of language in materials/media and ideas, and to make art in response to a context that includes our environment, the state of our environment or elements of our environment. Students will also develop confidence as artists and practice critical language in response to contemporary environmental art and design.
  • New Media

    New Media is our component of creative courses that combine art, design, and technology to produce a variety of works of art from film, game design, logo development to marketing materials. These offerings are for students with a willingness to create and discover with the use of technology. The cutting edge, industry-standard Adobe suite of software is utilized in these courses, including Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro. All courses are taught in a state of the art lab containing 13 iMacs with 27" monitors, Wacom drawing tablets, access to a large format scanner and two large format color printers. The courses are digital illustration, digital imaging, graphic design, digital film and the art of short film.
  • Photography

    Students in photography courses study the fundamentals of photography including composition, exposure, and the use of light. Students also explore the history of photography by examining modern master photographers and studying the use of photographic elements essential in designing a technically and artistically creative photograph. Students actively explore their own creativity as they build their own portfolio of images during the course of each trimester. Regular critiques of their work help to build the students' confidence as artists and photographers. Courses offered in photography include: Photography, Studio Photography, Environmental Photography, Black and White Film Photography I, II, II and AP Studio Art 2D-Photography Portfolio.
  • Sculpture & 3D Design

    The sculpture and 3D design courses will explore concepts and process associated with: form, volume, line, space, texture, additive, subtractive, casting and fabrication. Wood, clay and metal will be the primary media used, but there are opportunities for students to explore plaster casting, found object mixed media assemblages, site specific works, and 3D rendering with software programs in the New Media lab. These courses will explore visual, social and physical concepts of 3D sculpture with a focus on idea development. Working on a more advanced level, students will have the ability to immerse themselves in a diverse selection of sculptural processes including construction or fabrication, carving, manipulation and casting. Contemporary issues related to sculpture will be explored through assigned readings, personal research, class discussion, video tutorials, website postings, critiques and individual projects.

Gruss-Bard Gallery

The Gruss-Bard Gallery at the Bibby and Harold Alfond Dining Commons is delighted to feature “Holmstead,” a ceramics show by our current artist-in-residence, Dylan Gifford. Self-guided viewing will be available Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and on weekends by chance or appointment.

Student Art

Student Art 2016-2017


Babs Wheelden
Visual Arts Department Chair
1614 Main Street, Kents Hill, Maine 04349
Since 1824, Kents Hill School has been dedicated to providing transformative experiences rooted in the power of community, character, and core values.