At the Junior School, students explore a variety of materials and media as they develop self-expression, confidence and appreciation for the visual arts. A wide variety of techniques are explored, including drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, multimedia sculpture and textiles. Students learn about famous artists and cultural artistic traditions. Art projects are integrated with other academic subjects through interdisciplinary units of study.
In Middle School art classes, an array of media, technical and evaluative skills, concepts and vocabulary are introduced. Students are encouraged to understand the visual arts in relation to history and culture, and to appreciate self-expression and non-verbal communication as an integral part of the human experience. Students learn 2D design, drawing, painting, collage, relief printing, 3D media, folk art, one point perspective, embossing, engraving and assemblage.
At the Senior School, students can choose from a wide variety of visual arts courses to fulfill the arts requirement. Introductory courses include 2D and 3D studio art, while advanced electives include architecture, ceramics, digital Imaging, drawing, glass, metal, painting and photography. Shady Side is one of only a few schools in Pittsburgh to offer a warm glass class, where students learn the techniques of fusing, slumping and casting. The Benedum Visual Arts Center provides contemporary studio spaces as well as a gallery for student artwork exhibitions. Students regularly participate in local student art exhibitions as well.