The Art Department at Whitgift is a flourishing environment where the creativity and talents of all pupils are nurtured and developed. There are four specialist Art teachers and an Art technician. The Art facilities consist of four general art studios, a sculpture studio, a kiln room, a darkroom, printmaking and silk-screen printing facilities and a computer suite. The Department has access to an outstanding exhibition space to display students’ work.
The Department aims to create a setting where all can discover a visual language by which they can express their thoughts and feelings and record their observations. We work to make students familiar with the basic concepts of Art & Design, and raise a critical, cultural and historical awareness. The Department aims to foster a positive, considerate attitude and empathy towards others, as well as enhance the student’s own self-belief. Students build on their progress through regular individual discussion and appropriate assessment records, in line with targets published for specific Key Stages; and are kept informed of outside initiatives in Art & Design through links with further and higher education institutions, visits to exhibitions, as well as local and national competitions.
In the Lower School the Art Department offers intense programmes of process and skills based projects focussing on a different theme each year. During every academic year, students will focus on four areas; Drawing, Printmaking, Mixed Media and Sculpture, producing work in two and three dimensions. Within these four areas students will experience and develop their skills in painting, linocutting, drypoint etching, collage, typography, graphic design, film photography, darkroom processes, clay work, wire sculpting, textiles and craft.
At GCSE Level, students can study Fine Art and/or Graphic Communication. Fine Art and Graphic Communication along with Photography, which becomes available in the Sixth Form, can be studied at A Level. Visual Studies is offered under the IB programme.
The Art Department regularly submits our students’ work to national art competitions, which in the past have included the Saatchi Gallery Arts prize for schools, the Young Photographer of the Year award, run by the Rotary Club, and Doodle for Google awards.
The major displays of the GCSE and A Level students’ work usually takes place in the summer term, with smaller work in progress shows occurring throughout the year. These exhibitions are a great opportunity for the whole School, as well as friends and parents, to see the impressive work created by the Art students at Whitgift. There is also a smaller IB exhibition, usually held at the beginning of the summer term.
There is an extensive list of clubs and socities run during lunchtime and after school session. These include 3D Club, Craft Club, Senior Photography Society, Glass Society, Painting Masterclass and Scholars Art Society. After school clinic sessions run twice a week for the GCSE, A Level and IB students.
The Department arranges visits to galleries each year for the Lower School students. The Upper School examination groups will visit a range of museums and galleries during their courses to inform their work and to gain primary source imagery. Trips abroad have also been run for the Sixth Form classes to artistically-rich cities such as Venice and Berlin.
The Department runs a series of workshops each year with visiting artists and designers, most recently the Sixth Form Graphic Communication students partook in a workshop in graffiti design held by a street artist and the Lower Fifth GCSE Fine Art and Graphic Communication students a silk screen printing workshop run by a visiting graphic designer.
Students also attend lectures about all themes related to the creative world such as; how to earn a living as a designer, creative careers, art foundation course structure and the fashion industry at venues such as Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London College of Communication and Kingston University. We have also been lucky enough to be visited by iconic artists, such as Peter Blake and Janet Brooks.
Our results are outstanding, with many of our students having gone on to study Art and Art-related courses at prestigious colleges and universities, including Cambridge, Central St Martins College of Art and Design, Chelsea College of Art, Camberwell College of Art and the London College of Communication.