Visual Arts Major at Arts Academy
Why Study Visual Arts
Art is your tool to express, question, and participate in the wider world. It's how you solve problems, inspire others, and stake out a space for yourself. At our boarding arts high school, Interlochen Arts Academy, you'll develop your creativity and prepare for your future as an artist.
What You'll Learn
As a Visual Arts major, you'll take courses on skill-building, techniques, and art history. You'll receive regular individual and group critiques. You'll experiment with different media and forms like painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, ceramics, metals, fiber arts, fashion design, and more.
You'll learn from practicing artists who have extensive teaching experience. They'll provide mentorship, guidance, and thoughtful feedback, along with individualized instruction to nurture your vision. They will also help you build a portfolio for your life after graduation, whether you plan to pursue a visual arts major in college or chart your own path.
As a student of the Visual Arts program, you will:
- Refine technical skills and use of two-dimensional media
- Apply a variety of materials and processes to creative problem-solving
- Analyze the meaning behind material, use of color, composition, space and placement
- Exhibit cognitive awareness of the formal or visual qualities of art and vocabulary, i.e. the elements and principles of design
- Learn how to document your body of work and create a digital platform to promote yourself and your work
- Take initiative for your artistic practice and be resourceful in finding appropriate materials
For information on graduation requirements and academic curriculum, please visit Academy Academics.
Meet the Faculty
Our faculty members balance the demands of a career in visual arts with a passion for training the next generation of artists. They've served as museum board members and curators, and exhibited their work in symposiums, galleries, art fairs, and more.
Robbie Conal poster artist
Wendy Froud, sculpter, writer, and puppermaker for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth
Susan Goldberg Editor in Chief, National Geographic Magazine
Joshua Hagler contemporary visual artist
Kenyatta Hinkle interdisciplinary visual artist, performer, and writer
Liz Miller installation artist
Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum painter, animator, writer, and installation artist
Michael Whiting painter and sculptor
As a Visual Arts student, you'll have many opportunities to show your work throughout the year. Student work is displayed in our professional gallery and other prominent locations throughout the visual arts building and around the campus. Some of our regular exhibitions include: the Annual Juried Student Exhibition, Senior Thesis Exhibitions, Festival Exhibition and various Visiting Artist Exhibitions.
Awards & Honors
Our Visual Arts students have been Finalists and Presidential Scholar candidates in the YoungArts Awards, the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. They have also received national recognition in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program, one of the most prestigious competitions for young artists in the country.
Dow Center for Visual Arts
During your session, you will learn and create in the Dow Center for Visual Arts, one of the finest facilities dedicated to the study of the visual arts at the high school level. The 36,000 square-foot complex includes separate studios for drawing, painting, metalworking, ceramics, sculpture, photography, printmaking, digital arts, and fibers, as well as a gallery for student, staff, and faculty exhibitions.
We regularly host top art college and university representatives who offer one-on-one portfolio reviews to Visual Arts majors. Through this engagement, our students make valuable connections and gain critical insights to inform their college selection process.
My time at Interlochen strongly influenced both my personal and artistic development. Being surrounded by peers and faculty, all devoted artists; spending countless hours diving deeply into new concepts in critiques, and maintaining my personal practice have all made for a challenging and amazing four years.
Maud Negreiff '20, Arts Academy (Visual Arts)
2020 Senior Portfolios
The virtual exhibit of our senior thesis projects reveals the creativity, variety, and breadth of our Visual Arts majors. From painting to photography, illustration to interdisciplinary images, each student shares their unique aesthetic.
Visual Arts students regularly enroll in top art programs, including:
ArtCenter College of Design
Cleveland Institute of Art and Design
Institute of American Indian Arts
Maryland Institute College of Art
New York University
Norwich University of the Arts
Northern Michigan University
Otis College of Art and Design
Pacific Northwest College of Art
Parsons School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design
Ringling College of Arts and Design
Savannah College of Art and Design
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
School of Visual Arts
University of California
Roger Thomas: How Interlochen helped shape a career in design
How does a rebellious kid with so-so grades end up transforming Las Vegas forever? For Roger Thomas, it was Interlochen.
Friday, February 3, 2023 - 6 p.m. ET
Dow Center for Visual Arts FREE, no tickets required
Saturday, February 11, 2023 - 11 a.m. ET
Main Campus FREE, no tickets required
Friday, April 14, 2023 - 6 p.m. ET
Dow Center for Visual Arts FREE, no tickets required