Making art is one of the oldest and most complex endeavors of humanity. At Flint Hill, we provide a meaningful pathway to acquiring the skills of being an artist and developing visual thinking, studio habits of mind and creative conceptualization.
Art plays a significant role in social-emotional development and supports critical frameworks for understanding the world around us. Our students work with teaching artists who serve as mentors to explore and develop their strengths and respond to critiques. Any student taking art classes at Flint Hill can choose to develop advanced skills across a wide range of media. The skills and virtuosity of Flint Hill student artists are matched by their imaginations and by the intellectual challenges of making art that is moving and compelling.
Flint Hill students are first introduced to ceramics in kindergarten. Our youngest students in the Lower School learn foundational skills and key concepts in studio art classes that continue to build skills right through the Middle School years. Middle schoolers continue their studies with hand building, large vessels, and pottery wheel work. Both the Lower and Middle Schools have kilns in their studios.
In our Upper School Ceramics Program, student-artists have a full progression of courses leading up to AP Ceramics. Ceramics students learn custom glazing, Raku firing, wood salt firing, cone 10 firing, traditional kiln firing and more. The dedicated clay studio is always full during and after school, and the spirit of “muddy elbows” pervades.
We are proud of our Upper School Clay Club for leading the Empty Bowls program each year. In 2019, Empty Bowls raised $14,660 in support of DC Central Kitchen which qualified for a corporate matching gift. Inspired by the University level program of the same name, our students make bowls, complete service learning at DC Central Kitchen, and host an annual hunger awareness event.
Flint Hill’s Digital Arts courses teach the latest emerging techniques in digital imaging and graphic design, fused with traditional art concepts and disciplines. Classes take place in a dedicated Digital Arts lab with specialty software. Advanced graphic design students have completed a number of real-world projects, including designing wine bottle labels for a local company, book covers for published books, and supporting School marketing campaigns.
Today, almost everyone carries a powerful point and shoot camera in their pocket at all times. To dive deeper into the emerging art of digital photography, our students begin with a course in Foundations in Digital Art. In this course, students complete a series of projects that strengthen their skills and technical understanding while pushing them to explore and experiment. Students learn the basic controls and settings of their DSLR cameras and experiment with Adobe Photoshop as they refine their images. Students are introduced to studio and flash lighting and begin to use a journal to study and record observations from the work of master photographers. Building upon this foundation, students can pursue dedicated courses in advanced Digital Photography or in Filmmaking.
Each year between six and nine seniors are recruited by the nation’s most selective visual arts colleges. Merit scholarship offers to these students are an annual occurrence, and the colleges come to Flint Hill to meet our students and view their portfolios, with offers made right here in our hallways. The program includes honors courses and a Visual Arts College Counselor, and regular visits from RISD, MICA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and several others make the journey for our Senior artists an exciting one. Our alumni, whether they attend art schools or pursue traditional art majors and minors, often write back to affirm how well prepared they are when they arrive in college.
The secret to our success begins with a Lower and Middle School program dedicated to being makers of art. In the Lower and Middle Schools, our students develop the mindset and practices of being artists. They work on key foundational skills in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and ceramics, and learn how to observe, create and experience art from a team of teaching artists who serve as both role models and teachers.
[re]ACTION aims to be an innovative approach to visual thinking and making in the Studio Art program at Flint Hill. One of the primary goals of this initiative is to create opportunities for interdisciplinary education through the intersection of popular culture and traditional modes of art making. Students will learn strategies for expanding the walls of an artist studio and move into a wider arena for intellectual investigation.
In this first iteration of the program, visiting artists will fold together ideas surrounding culture, mythology, philosophy, poetry, and personal histories through processes relating to both traditional and non-traditional printmaking and DIY publishing approaches.
Each artist will spend an entire day working with our students and facilities. As participants, they have been invited to turn our studios into an extension of their own and to create a space for collaboration, critical thinking, and production. Through this process, each visiting artist will be asked to create an image for the permanent collection at Flint Hill.
Helen Frederick is known mainly for hand-driven media such as custom-formed paper, artist books, paintings, drawings, and prints that often incorporate the use of language. She also adapts electronic media and sculpture in her installations and in 2016 exhibited an interactive work at The Phillips Collection in Washington. Frederick's work is included in the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and many other national and international collections. Major exhibitions of Frederick's work have been held at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University (Virginia), Dieu Donne' Gallery (New York), Henie-Onstad Museum (Norway), and traveling museum exhibitions in Japan, Scandinavia, Greece, the United States and South America. Frederick founded Pyramid-Atlantic, a center for contemporary printmaking, hand papermaking, and the art of the book, which she directed for 28 years. She directed printmaking and worked with graduate students at George Mason School of Art, where she was director of the department's imprint Navigation Press, in tandem with her interest in curating and coordinating international cultural projects. She is featured in the Feminist Art Base, Brooklyn Museum of Art, received the Distinguished Teacher Award from the College Art Association in 2017, and the Southern Graphics Printmaker Emeritus Award in 2008.
Christopher Kardambikis explores space, process, and form through books, printmaking, and drawing. He has co-founded three artist book and zine projects: Encyclopedia Destructica in Pittsburgh, Gravity and Trajectory in San Diego, and 90 Proof Press in Los Angeles. He has been an artist-in-residence at The Wassaic Project, Crosstown Arts, Pioneer Works, The Art Students League, The Millay Colony, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. He received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Christopher is the host of Paper Cuts, a podcast that documents the contemporary world of zines and DIY publishing. In the fall of 2016, Kardambikis joined the faculty at George Mason University as an assistant professor and the director of Navigation Press.
Anne Smith is a visual artist based in Washington, D.C. Her art practice spans disciplines of drawing, sculpture and printmaking and concerns themes of landscape, space and ideas of home. Places such as her childhood and ancestral homes, the Potomac River, the side of the road, and other spaces entirely imagined are featured in her work. Smith is a teaching artist at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and has been master printmaker on a large-scale silkscreen book project at George Mason University’s Navigation Press. She studied silkscreen printmaking with Master Printmaker Lou Stovall, for whom she was a studio assistant for several years. She has completed artist residencies at the Washington Project for the Arts (Washington), the Kala Art Institute (Berkeley, California) and the Torpedo Factory Art Center (Alexandria, Virginia). Smith is represented by Adah Rose Gallery.
Josh Whipkey, artist/maker/philosopher, received his BFA from Seton Hill University (1997) and his MFA from the Pennsylvania State University (2004). Whipkey’s work primarily examines personal histories and intersections with philosophy, anxiety, and agency. He has been living and working in and around the Washington metropolitan area for the last 10 years, in various creative roles, and has recently been exhibiting his art work throughout the Maryland, Virginia, D.C. area. He is currently working as a project manager for a small custom-build company in Warrenton, Virginia. Prior to that, he ran his own custom furniture company and was an exhibitions designer/installer at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. In 2016, Whipkey co-founded with fellow D.C. artists and academics — Maria Barbosa, Nikki Brugnoli, and Helen Frederick — a traveling artist group called The Portable Art Museum.
Matt Pinney has a deep curiosity about nature and the bounty that it brings. He is an avid gardener and is currently studying dendrology (the study of trees) as well as the making of liqueurs from local fruits and nuts. His investigative study of nature forms the basis of the relationship between material and art. The process of developing pigments, the basis of any painting, recognizes the chemical reactions that make colors possible. The translation of a pigment, from its primitive state, into a work of art is preceded by an understanding of both a chemical and an alchemical change.
Matt Pinney is a multimedia artist living and working in Washington. He has shown his work nationally and internationally. Pinney is an assistant professor at Northern Virginia Community College's Manassas campus where he teaches studio art. He is also a faculty member at The Art League at the Torpedo Factory, where he won the Clemente Faculty Award at the Patron's show in 2017. He has been awarded the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities Fellowship for the past three years and the purchase award from DCCAH's Washington Collection in 2016 and 2017. Pinney received his Master of Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.