The Visual Arts Department at The Frederick Gunn School strives to give our students an outlet for developing and expressing creative ideas in a variety of mediums:
Our students are encouraged to create original work both in and outside the classroom. Students are asked, and encouraged, to see the world through the artist’s eyes, thus developing their observational skills as creators and consumers of visual art.
Courses are taught in the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center (TPACC), which includes studios for drawing and painting, ceramics, photography and graphic arts. Photography classes have their own darkroom where our students learn how to develop film, make enlarged prints from their 35mm negatives and experiment with alternative methods of making photographs using long exposures, camera obscura and other advanced methods. There are also opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. Students may explore our campus in search of inspiration for a drawing, painting or photography assignment, take a field trip to a local art gallery or meet with local artists in their studios.
Highly motivated juniors or seniors may enroll in AP Studio Art, a full-year course that requires a scope of work equivalent to that of an introductory college course in studio art. Students take this course to prepare their portfolios for submission to art schools and to the College Board AP Studio Art Exam.
Student work is displayed on campus in the Perakos Family Cares Art Gallery and the Richard C. Colton, Jr. '60 Art Wing in TPACC, in the Tisch Family Library and Solley Dining Hall. Our talented visual arts faculty, who actively engage in their own artistic interests and offer students insights into the rewards and demands of the professional art word, arrange for students to show their work in state and local competitions and exhibitions. In recent years, Gunn students have been honored with Connecticut Scholastic Art Awards and had their work featured in the largest juried student art exhibition in the state. Student work also has been featured annually in the Kent Art Association Student Art Show and ASAP’s Celebration of Young Photographers.
Through our co-curricular option, Technique & Artistry, students have additional time to focus on their artistic studies at the end of the academic day. Students who have a demonstrated interest in the Arts may propose to replace one term of interscholastic athletics in their first year with a non-athletic program or project. This could be equivalent to participating in two after-school Arts programs and one term of interscholastic athletics in their first year. All students are encouraged to submit their work to the student newspaper, The Highlander, and the literary journal, the Stray Shot. Weekly open studio sessions are open to all.