A student's personal engagement of experience, translated through the materials of art making: pencil, charcoal, stone, wire, paint, clay, or photography; remains the primary goal of the Bolles visual arts program. Students develop through feeling, sense, and experience, expressed in a pictorial or sculptural language, ways of defining and shaping experience. Students are encouraged to think creatively, to move away from the mundane and ordinary, to conceive and solve problems with ingenuity. Questions of art history, theory, and aesthetics are incorporated with studio assignments at each level of instruction.
The course offerings in the visual arts are the most extensive in the department, offering an impressive range of media experiences and levels of instruction in semester and year-long formats. In addition to the entry level Foundations in Visual Arts class, several levels of courses are offered in drawing, painting, watercolor, ceramics, sculpture, photography and art history.
Advanced Placement courses are offered both in the Drawing AP and the General Portfolio AP. The Gooding Gallery, adjacent to the visual arts classrooms, is a permanent art gallery dedicated to showcasing student work. Each month brings a new student show to the gallery, complete with reception. Visiting artists show in the gallery about once a year. Student work is also shown regularly outside of the School in venues throughout the city, and Bolles’ artists at all levels frequently win accolades for their work in city, state, and national competitions.