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.
The Guest Artist Series at Flint Hill brings well-known, accomplished artists to campus for masterclasses, performances, and residencies.
Recent guest artists have included:
Steven Skowron, Printmaker, George Mason School of Art
Steven Skowron is a visual artist residing in the greater Washington, DC area. A graduate of George Mason University, his work has received local attention and has been exhibited locally and internationally. His work is also in permanent collections in Fairfax, Virginia and Washington. Steven works with a variety of mediums but his mediums of choice are printmaking and digital photography. Steven holds adjunct teaching positions at George Mason University and American University Printmaking Departments.
Jim Dugan, Resident Artist, Baltimore Clayworks
Jim Dugan is a resident artist and wood kiln manager of Baltimore Clayworks where he also manages the resident artist program. After attending the California University of Pennsylvania, he has spent four years as the studio manager at Touchstone Center for Crafts and five years as the kiln technician at Vermont Clay Studio. Since joining Clayworks in the summer of 2005, Jim has taught a variety of classes and introduced scores of students to the communal fun and magic of firing a two-chamber noborigama style wood and salt/soda kiln.
Marshall Whiteley, Apprentice, American Ballet Theatre
Born in Fairbanks, Alaska and raised in San Diego, California, Marshall Whiteley was a nationally ranked ice hockey player by the age of 11. At the San Diego School for Creative and Performing Arts, Whiteley majored in drama and found his passion for dance at the age of 13. At 14, he began additional formal training with Max and Sylvia Tchernychev (San Diego Academy of Ballet) and also trained with Dmitri Kulev (Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy). In 2012, he was invited to The Washington School of Ballet on full scholarship, where he trained with Kee Juan Han. Whiteley danced with The Washington Ballet and worked with multiple choreographers for three seasons before joining American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in February 2015.
Kwasi Dunyo, Master Drummer and Teacher
Frederick Kwasi Dunyo was born at the Ewe village of Dagbamete, in the Volta Region of Ghana. A drummer from an early age, he has directed, coached, taught, drummed, and danced extensively in a variety of contexts. Kwasi was the lead drummer for Sankofa Dance Theatre from 1977 to 1981 where, under the tutelage of Godwin Agbeli, he learned much of his repertoire of Ghanaian music. Kwasi is the member of the faculties of York University, University of Toronto, Royal Conservatory of Music and the Toronto District School Board. He has also performed and given workshops at many American universities including the University of Virginia, Tennessee Technological University, and The College of William & Mary.