Visual arts department teaching philosophies


Ever once in a while, strident artworks are displayed in the Upper school H-block. These pieces of art aim to showcase each individual’s creativity. 


The visual arts department at TAS aims to inspire each art student to be able to collaborate with others and communicate ideas as a visual artist. They also encourage students to demonstrate mastery of technical skills and effectively implement theoretical principles of art and design thinking. 


Students reflect upon their role as an artist in today’s cultural climate and strive to be active participants through sharing their work and ideas. 


Visual arts provides many opportunities for students to express their creativity. “The value of learning visual art is that you can be free in your creation and by learning more techniques and design principles, it allows you to explore different possibilities and in the process learn more about yourself as a person,” Mr. Huang, upper school a visual arts teacher, said. 


Depending on the class, students may get open ended prompts to personalize the assignment. “Instead of a recipe style, [where] you have to do things a certain way, it’s very much like how you want to do it,” Ms. Kao (she/her), the visual arts department chair, said.


Students can also express their emotions in visual arts classes by using different mediums to convey their feelings. “Sometimes [students] might not have words for [their] feeling so there’s something very therapeutic about it,” Ms. Kao said. 


With the creativity in visual arts, it is also important to have the confidence to risk ruining something. “I think the hardest part is having the confidence to risk running something,” Mr. Badgley (he/his), upper school visual arts teacher said. 


By trying new things, students get the opportunity to grow as artists. “In film, we often try different techniques but sometimes it doesn’t work out that well,” Jocelyn Chiang (she/her, ‘23) said. “We take it as an opportunity to learn from our mistakes.” 

Because of the freedom seen in art classes at TAS, different teachers have different philosophies and perspectives on what is taught in each class.