Visual Arts

At Canterbury, students are encouraged to explore new visual mediums, take risks and push their creativity in multiple mediums while learning the techniques necessary to master disciplines. Course offerings include beginning, intermediate and Advanced Placement levels, wherein students can develop their crafts and eventually create portfolios for college. Beyond classroom discussions and critiques, students are encouraged to participate in community arts events. Additionally, student artwork is displayed on both campuses, and often correlates to and complements studies in core classes or current Canterbury theater productions.

Lower School Visual Arts

Thinking creatively and having artistic perspective drives the experiences of our youngest artists in the studio. The Lower School art curriculum fosters curiosity about materials and the art process as students develop their own artistic voices.

Lower School art teacher Breck Moorefield, who has a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art, a Master’s degree in Art Education and a second Master’s in Art Therapy, has a vision for the future of fine arts at Canterbury. Moorefield’s mission starts with the mindset that art makes academic connections happen. Projects are often linked to books or studies happening that week in the classroom. The artwork gives tangible meaning to newly-learned material.

Students make their own monsters (pictured left and right) after reading Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli (book cover, center) during library time.

For example, “Kindergarten is studying ancient Egypt,” Moorefield says, “and they’re learning about tombs and mummies. To organize all those things on an Egyptian landscape, and talk about the texture of the sand, and painting a sunset, and drawing pyramids to scale all helps to make sense of what they’re learning. Yes, art is essential for developing fine motor skills and connecting sensory with visual and auditory, but from an art therapy perspective, having something on paper also helps makes sense of what’s going on in [a student’s] inner world.” Read more about Breck Moorefield’s art class in our magazine.

Grade 3 and 4 students recently used recycled metal materials to build “robots.”

The PK - Grade 4 visual arts focus includes

  • Uniting the whole Lower School with a common theme and celebrating it together
  • Staying curious, making connections, having courage and sparking new ideas as a group
  • Incorporating the five senses to explore cause and effect lessons
  • A "Tinker Space" corner in the art room emphasizes engineering and problem solving skills. Students visit this area when they are finished with their main project
  • Lessons are built around artwork from St. Petersburg’s local galleries and museums
  • All students explore as many mediums as possible! It is as important to know what we are not good at, as it is to know what makes us shine
  • Personal responsibility, integrity and honoring art made by others continues our character education program in the art room
  • The Crusader Gallery is a rotating exhibit on display in the Parish Hall every other month. Parents are encouraged to visit the gallery with their students, and art classes visit the gallery as a class, practicing "museum manners."

Middle School Visual Arts

The goal of the middle school visual arts program is to encourage students to think creatively, think critically, and build skills in creative problem solving. The program introduces students to a variety of artistic mediums such as drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography, and graphic design. The seven elements of art (color, shape, form, value, line, texture, and space) are also taught, and each project connects to a well-known artist to build a foundation in art history.

We believe that introducing multiple mediums helps students discover unknown passions and hidden talents, which can lead to increased confidence for young adults during this transitional period of their lives. We also believe that there are no mistakes in art, just different paths to the end result.

Middle school art teacher Johnna Braddock is a certified art teacher with a degree in Apparel Design who previously worked as a clothing designer in New York City. She builds many of her lessons around local galleries and exhibits because she believes those real-world experiences help make abstract concepts “stick.”

Upper School Visual Arts

The philosophy of the visual arts department is to believe that students’ inner visions and voices can never be expressed unless they first develop fluency in the ancient, wordless languages of the arts. An upper school art teacher instructs in skills, guides, advises, observes . . . and waits.

Veteran teacher Carole Rosario’s Bachelor’s degree in Art Education and Associate’s degree in Textile Design has helped guide students for 25 years. “There is something crucial about art and its impact on the developing mind,” she says. “It speaks to every nuance of every subject. Without creativity, problem solving cannot take place.”

Because of Mrs. Rosario’s mission to make students aware of the impact they and their carbon footprint have on our planet, courses often focus on three-dimensional works that integrate recycled materials. This concept pairs nicely with the environmental preservation and conservation focus of our Marine Studies program, as well as our school mission statement to make students “responsible stewards of our world.”

Courses include:

  • Art History
  • AP Art History
  • AP Studio Art (2D and 3D Design is available)
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Graphic Design
  • Painting
  • Photojournalism
Additional artistic opportunities are available to students during upper school miniterm. During past miniterms, the focus has been on working with recycled materials (similar to a makerspace project), photography, Photoshop, “mud therapy” ceramics, and more.

Notable Alumni Artists

Emma Rubini, Class of 2013

Emma Rubini, Class of 2013,also lives for her art. Rosario says of Rubini, “Her AP 2D designs were multi-faceted and brilliantly conceived. Her AP 3D pieces were part of her interest in Cosplay, for which she has now literally become famous.” Read more about Emma Rubini in our magazine.

Katie Parker, Class of 2016

Katie Parker, Class of 2016, now attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, is among the top design students ever taught by veteran art teacher Carole Rosario. Rosario says, “Katie’s range of ideas and abilities are superb. She developed renderings into a series of costumes/dresses, based on her interest not only in art, but also her love of science. Each dress was based on an element--earth, water, fire, wind, etc., and each dress was constructed to reflect that element. She also incorporated many non-traditional materials, even some recycled items. Imagine a bodice made entirely out of flattened water bottles with plastic "flowers" on the toile skirt! Her ideas have earned her Critics Choice in costume design at Thespian Districts and State competitions.” Read more about Katie Parker’s designs in our magazine.