Visual Art Sessions

The visual art component of the Academy explores art from the perspective of production, history, criticism, and aesthetics.  Instructors, whose work has influenced current educational practice and theory, come from around the country to provide stimulating and practical instruction. In addition to the visual art sessions, all participants attend performances, musings, special events and other activities.


Elementary/Lower Middle School

Participants will attend each workshop for two consecutive days and a summary session for both workshops on Friday morning.


Exploring Cultures through Clay

Instructor: Gus Miranda
In this workshop, participants will use workable clay to explore hand-building techniques including slabs, coiling, pinching, and surface decoration. By integrating history and social studies with visual art activities, participants will create practical and visually appealing original artworks through simple and effective techniques. Finishing techniques that will be taught include methods of using underglazes in additive and subtractive ways by carving interesting surfaces in the clay artworks. Participants will explore the wonder of clay in terms of its function and beauty.



The Nouns of Art

Instructor: Patricia Carter Spencer
This workshop will give participants a peek into a yearlong curriculum plan that is organized around the people, places, and things of art. Participants will explore the idea of an elementary school-wide theme and work together to consider their own unique school environment to create a workable plan that will guide them in their teaching. The group will explore art history, art creation, aesthetics, and critique approaches, as well as offer a variety of assessment methods. Lesson plans and work samples will inspire hands-on experimentation.




Upper Middle/Secondary

Participants will attend each workshop for two consecutive days and a summary session for both workshops on Friday morning.


Exploring Vessel Making

Instructor: Melissa Maxfield-Miranda
In this workshop, participants will learn basic banding wheel and hand-building techniques, which they will use to create vessels that are simultaneously functional and aesthetic. Basic ceramic pedagogy and best practices will be emphasized. Participants will be encouraged to use texture, additive and subtractive carving techniques, mishima and sgraffito, and to find their personal voices through clay.

Creative Compelling Curricula: From Intro to AP Art

Instructor: Debi West
This workshop will show how the ability to create work at the Advanced Placement level depends on having a solid foundation in introductory secondary art coursework. Topics that will be covered include innovative art media techniques and ways of making the elements and principles of design exciting while exploring both technical and creative activities. Participants will leave the workshop with new teaching strategies, lesson plans, and samples that will ignite and inspire their student artists, and make their portfolios shine.