Visual arts students may pursue a wide range of artistic disciplines, including studio art, ceramics, photography, sculpture, and digital art, each of which is offered in Berkshire's Kennard Visual Arts Center. In addition, students may study a particular medium in depth or sample several from a broad offering of courses. While a strong technical foundation is stressed, equal emphasis is placed upon creative self-expression and developing the artist’s unique voice. Advanced studies include a strong emphasis on critical and creative thinking, as well as portfolio preparation.
Ceramics classes introduce the student to the many aspects of clay work. Students explore texture, form, and function through a variety of handbuilt techniques such as pinch, coil, and slab. Students gain an understanding of the many stages of clay from plastic to leatherhard, bone-dry, bisqueware, and glazeware. They explore a variety of glazing and finishing techniques used in electric kiln firing. In Ceramics II, students begin to explore throwing techniques on the wheel. With an eye toward ethnic, historic, and contemporary considerations, classroom assignments challenge the blossoming potter/sculptor to embrace creative thinking while developing basic skills.
Advanced level classes allow time for the dedicated potter/sculptor to further develop and refine their skills.
Photography students explore both digital and traditional darkroom techniques. Utilizing digital SLR cameras, iMac computers, and Photoshop software, students learn basic camera operation, editing techniques, and aesthetic concerns.
Advanced classes offer more sophisticated techniques and thematic assignments are emphasized, and a commitment to independent work is expected.
Digital Art introduces students to techniques for making fine art through technological processes. Digital cameras, scanners, stylus and tablets, and professional software including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash are used to create both still and animated work. Student work is printed on large-format printers, including an Epson 9890 with a 44-inch span. The digital art curriculum is supplemented with exploratory lessons, field trips to museums and local design firms, and a graphic design competition. At every level of Digital Art, students develop their portfolios while learning more advanced techniques.