Visual Arts

"Why should you think that beauty, which is the most precious thing in the world, lies like a stone on the beach for the careless passer-by to pick up idly? Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul. And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know. To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist. It is a melody that sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination." W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919 (Chapter XIX, spoken by the character Dirk Stroeve)

    Through media presentations, lectures, field trips and hands-on experiences, students investigate solutions to architectural problems. Historical solutions offer guideposts for creative, innovative designs. Projects include architectural planning, site planning, floor-plan drawing, elevations and building-scale models, and students produce a digital catalog of their projects throughout the course.

    Architectural Design 2 is for students who wish to explore architectural-design forms and continue to hone their technical expertise and increase their knowledge of architectural forms learned in Architectural Design 1. Students produce a digital catalog of their projects, creating a portfolio of their work.

    Architectural Design 3 emphasizes portfolio-building through projects using various materials, rendering exercises, and research on past and current architectural trends. This course includes field trips and visiting lecturers. Students also learn how to curate their work and assemble a finished portfolio. A digital catalog of projects is maintained and reviewed throughout the year.

    As the culmination of the three previous levels of Architectural Design, students are challenged to propose projects based on areas of personal interest and to support those proposals with research they conduct. Media presentations, visiting architects and field trips supplement the course. Students learn to assemble, critique and present their portfolios. Students are required to demonstrate technical expertise and present a final portfolio from their digital catalog of projects.

    This course presents an introduction to clay as a material and an exploration of the ceramic process. Students explore Native American, Middle Eastern, African and contemporary American art influences. They construct forms using hand-building
    techniques (pinching, coiling and slabs) and are introduced to the potter’s wheel. Students also explore various glazing styles and learn about the firing process.

    Building on the skills acquired during the Level 1 course, students explore new building processes and forming techniques with an emphasis on developing a personal style. Students learn advanced hand-building and glazing techniques while focusing on styles they wish to further explore. Students use critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they investigate the medium. Students further investigate the surface of ceramics as a canvas to tell stories both abstract and representational. Lectures and demonstrations cover effective ways to create imagery on sculptural or utilitarian forms. Students gain greater ceramic skills and knowledge, and further develop their abilities to work creatively with clay. Students research and report on contemporary and historical artists.

    The goals of this course are to provide advanced students with opportunities to grow in a setting with ambitious peers and to produce advanced works. Lectures and demonstrations expose students to contemporary ceramic artists and new building techniques. Students interested in creating utilitarian work on the potter’s wheel continue to refine their technique and explore the ergonomics of their designs. Students who prefer to create sculptural work investigate the relationships between art and the spectator. Students are expected to synthesize what was learned in the courses as they pursue and develop their personal styles. Considerable freedom of self-expression is afforded to students who have demonstrated proficiency in working with clay. In this
    terminal course in the ceramics program, students also learn how to curate their work and assemble a finished portfolio.

    This course offers an introduction to the fundamentals of photography. Students learn camera anatomy, operation and digital workflow with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Students also develop the creative freedom to sculpt light with continuous lights and strobes. This class is designed for students interested in improving their photography skills and developing a deeper and more artistic approach to the art and craft of photography.

    The rapid development of digital photographic technology has allowed photographers to create virtually anything one can imagine. This course is designed to “open the doors of
    perception” to what is possible in photography through nontraditional projects that push students to think creatively and outside of the box. Students delve into unique themes such as light painting, camera obscura and alternative photographic processes. This course has a heavy emphasis on computer-based digital processing.

    Natural light in photography can be used to create stunning works of art and incredibly complex images. The majority of fashion, architectural, aerial and other photographic art forms  use natural light as the principal light source in their work. While strobes are a very valuable tool in a photographer’s tool belt, the sun and moon are ubiquitous and powerful and should be a photographer’s close ally. Natural light photography requires
    a keen understanding of one’s surroundings and a distinct flexibility in order to create successful imagery. This class teaches students just how to do that through projects involving all forms of natural light – including the stars themselves.

    Portraiture photography has its origins in the very roots of photographic history, yet it has evolved with technology and remains on the cutting edge of what is possible in the art form today. Capturing engaging portraits remains a staple of any photographer’s skill set and this class showcases what is possible beyond the standard portrait. Students learn studio and strobe techniques that take their work well beyond the classroom, giving them images that set their work apart.

    The purpose of the course is to develop creative skills through hands-on experiences while acquiring knowledge and understanding, as well as an appreciation for the creative process. This class investigates specific problems in design focusing on the use of various tools and media. Projects are designed to explore two-dimensional techniques (drawing and painting). Each unit focuses on a particular aspect of technique, with classes particularly designed for a combination of hands-on experiences, lectures, audio-visual presentations, demonstrations and critiques. Students produce a digital catalogue of their projects throughout the course.

    The Studio Art 2 curriculum emphasizes technique- and skill-building with a focus on painting. Students are introduced to oil painting with an emphasis on presentation and portfolio production. Students are encouraged to explore and experiment with an ever-widening variety of media. Students produce a digital catalogue of their projects throughout the course, building a foundation for a portfolio of their work.

    With the prerequisite of Studio Art 2, Studio Art 3 allows students to incorporate and hone their skills and understanding of various media presented in Studio Art 1 and Studio Art 2 while taking the additional step of developing personal imagery. Students are given increased freedom to challenge themselves; they propose and execute projects that fulfill their unique personal vision. Multimedia presentations, demonstrations and field trips
    supplement the curriculum. Portfolio development is emphasized and a digital catalog of projects is maintained and reviewed throughout the year.

    As the culmination of the previous three levels of Studio Art, Studio Art 4 curriculum is student-driven. Project proposals are presented by students; they must offer a rationale for their projects based on themes, technical expertise and relevance to their body of work as a whole. Group, theme-based projects are also included. Students are challenged to research, design, construct and present exhibitions. Media presentations, visiting
    artists and field trips supplement the curriculum. In this terminal course in the studio art program, students also learn how to curate their work and assemble a finished portfolio from their digital catalogs of artwork.

    This brand new, year-long course, is designed for students interested in exploring and creating computer-based artwork. This course will explore the use of a variety of industry standard computer software and traditional art media. Students will have the opportunity to explore digital media and create digital portfolios of work. Students will explore different disciplines and digital art making processes. Topics and techniques include a
    study of the elements of art & principles of design, color theory, composition, typography, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop instruction, and collaborative projects to engage creativity. In this project-based course, students will learn to create meaningful
    pieces which communicate their personal perceptions through original artworks. Class work will include reading articles, writing prompts, artist statements, critiques, class discussions, projects, research and planning.

    This year-long course connects art and technology by creating art projects using the software and hardware available in the MakerSpace. Students receive instruction in critical thinking, artistic conceptualization, product design and fabrication techniques like digital modeling, 3-D printing and computer-controlled production. They also construct projects using a variety of non-traditional art-making materials such as wood, plastic and metal. As part of the students’ original design concept research, they will be required to do investigative research and to present their findings to the class. All work is project-based with the end goal of exhibiting and presenting the finished designs to the community.

    This course represents an introduction to the fundamentals of photography, graphic design, journalism and print publication in a real-world context. Students work with Adobe Photoshop and an internet-based online design software to create a yearly depiction of the Ransom Everglades upper school campus. As staffers, students do all the writing, photography and layout design for the school’s yearbook. They develop story angles; interview peers, faculty, staff and community members; manage deadlines tailored to a yearly approved budget; develop a theme representative of the climate on campus; and edit and design graphics. There are a number of leadership positions for the publication that are typically filled by senior members of the staff. The class produces a substantial yearbook that is distributed to students and faculty in the upper school and is an artifact of the school’s history.

Department Faculty

  • Photo of Shawn Costantino
    Shawn Costantino
    Director of Arts
    University of Miami - B.M.
    DePaul University - M.M.
  • Photo of Astrid Dalins
    Astrid Dalins
    Visual Arts Teacher
    University of Alabama - B.A.
    University of Miami - M.F.A.
    Trinity Evangelical Divinity School - M.A.R.
  • Photo of Ellen Grant
    Ellen Grant
    Visual Arts Teacher
    University of New Hampshire - B.F.A.
    City University of New York - M.F.A.
  • Photo of Jorge Guzman
    Jorge Guzman
    Senior Class Sponsor, Visual Arts Teacher
    University of Florida - B.F.A.
    Florida International University - M.S.
  • Photo of Moira Holohan
    Moira Holohan
    Visual Arts Teacher
    Bard College - B.A.
    Hunter College - M.F.A.
  • Photo of Constance Hyde
    Connie Hyde
    Visual Arts Teacher
    Miami University - B.F.A.
    University of Miami - M.F.A.
  • Photo of Elsa Munoz
    Elsa Munoz
    Photography and Digital Art Teacher
    Florida International University - B.A.
    Florida International University - M.A.
  • Photo of Fabienne Rousseau
    Fabienne Rousseau
    Visual Arts Teacher
    Florida International University
  • Photo of Matthew Stock
    Matt Stock
    Visual Arts Teacher
    University of Miami - B.S.
    Savannah College of Art and Design - M.F.A.

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Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.