Fine Arts

Students with varying levels of fine art experience — from those who are interested in trying something new and flexing their creative muscles, to those who are interested in pursuing art as a career — will find challenge and inspiration in Durham Academy's fine arts courses.

We offer courses in visual art — including two-dimensional art, ceramics, sculpture and mixed media — as well as photography and digital art. Our art students have had their work exhibited at both the N.C. Museum of Art and the Nasher Museum Art as part of special student exhibitions. For detailed course descriptions, see the Upper School Course Catalog.

Visual Art

Upper School Art

Visual Arts Courses for All Experience Levels

Three of the Upper School's visual arts offerings are available to students of all experience levels. Introduction to Two-Dimensional Composition and Materials covers drawing and composition (with an emphasis on expression and drawing from still life setups in pencil, charcoal and ink) and painting (primarily in acrylic on paper and canvas).

In Mixed Media, students make use of a wide range of materials — including recycled objects and cast-offs to canvas, cloth, wood, paper, bamboo, rocks and metal.

Explorations to Ceramics and Sculpture focuses on a blend of experimentation and skill-building in all kinds of three-dimensional materials, including clay and sculptural materials like paper, wood, wire, string, and found objects.

Students in all visual arts courses exhibit their work in common spaces on the Upper School campus, including in the lobby of Kenan Auditorium and in the Learning Commons.

Visual Arts Courses for Experienced Students

The Upper School offers three more advanced visual arts courses for students who are committed to developing their skills and visual ability. In Intermediate/Advanced Art, students continue to develop visual concepts.

Portfolio Art is intended for students who are deeply committed to pursuing art, possibly as a career. Students create their own curriculum with oversight and mentorship from the instructor. Over the course of the class, each student compiles a portfolio for art school, college, summer programs or art-related fields.

In AP Studio Art, students work to create portfolios comprising drawing, two-dimensional design or three-dimensional design. Students create 24 pieces of work, which are photo-documented for submission.

Students in all visual arts courses exhibit their work in common spaces on the Upper School campus, including in the lobby of Kenan Auditorium and in the Learning Commons.

Photography & Digital Art

Upper School Photography

Photography I

In Photography I, students are introduced to the practice of photography through the foundational tenets of the camera and the medium: exposure, focus, composition, content and form. Students make photos using single lens reflex (SLR) cameras and make prints from black-and-white film using light and chemistry in the darkroom.

The second half of the course focuses on digital photography, using digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera. Students are taught to use Photoshop to edit and transform their photographs.

Students exhibit their work in common spaces on the Upper School campus, including in the lobby of Kenan Auditorium and in the Learning Commons.

Photography II

In Photography II, using digital photography, students  expand their understanding of image-making, both technically and conceptually, in response to project-based assignments.

Students exhibit their work in common spaces on the Upper School campus, including in the lobby of Kenan Auditorium and in the Learning Commons.