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Visual Arts

…are woven into the very fabric of our students’ lives. On our walls, you’ll see beautiful classical and contemporary works alongside amazing student creations.

impressionistic-type painting of a child's face

Karyna Howell ’17

abstract black, white, and pink artwork

Sidney Hare ’18

skull ceramic piece

Greg Olszanskyj ’19

painting of a woman

Jacqueline Graham ’17


Elena Zipp ’19

Peter Pan-like figure on top of a tie-dyed background

Knox Heslop ’17

artwork of colorful hand reaching into blackness

Lauren Bikhazi ’18

geometric line art of volcano erupting

Knox Heslop ’17

abstract art of people swimming in space

Karyna Howell ’17

Artwork: colorful layers of thick paper cut into triangles

Wes Johnston ’17

construction paper artwork carefully shaped into a waterfall scene

Leah Button ’18

Artwork of person in bathtub

Olivia Gao ’17

watercolor of a waterfall

Kate Button ’17

Student Art Shines in Our Larimer Center Gallery

In 2016, middle and upper school art teacher Rob Mellor advocated for and created—with help from our facilities team—a pristine, well-lit space to showcase student work just outside the Larimer Center for the Performing Arts. Above are select gallery works from years past.

By Division

Beginning schoolers learn the joy of self-expression through art. Each year, our faculty and early childhood art specialist focus on a basic element of art—color, line, texture, form, value, or shape—and the creativity begins. For example, when three-year-olds illustrate the lines of a forsythia bush, they learn that two points anchor each line and that lines can be horizontal, vertical, or crosshatched.

Lower schoolers explore a variety of materials and techniques under the creative instruction of artist Kathryn Czarnecki, guided by the National Standards for the Fine Arts. Curriculum incorporates interdisciplinary and multicultural projects, art appreciation, and art history. Students enjoy field trips to museums and galleries, art exhibits of their own works, and nature field studies.

Through projects, middle schoolers strengthen their understanding of the elements of art and principles of design. Curriculum provides opportunities for exploration, experimentation, skill development, and expression. Our teachers also develop students' understanding and valuing of art, bolstering their artistic literacy.

Intro and intermediate Upper School classes led by contemporary artist and teacher Rob Mellor explore drawing, painting, printmaking, assemblage, sculpture, design, and color theory. Advanced classes provide students with a rich, rewarding experience, and a better understanding of strenuous studio practice and consistent production.

Kathryn Czarnecki
Lower School Art Teacherget to know kat

Rob Mellor
Middle and Upper School Art Teacherget to know rob

Dan Mitchell
Middle and Upper School Ceramics Teacherget to know DAN

Ann Wolfer
Middle and Upper School Art Teacher, Yearbook Advisorget to know Ann

Upper-Level Specialties


Middle and upper schoolers may study the wheel- and hand-building techniques of ceramics—classes that, in addition to sculpting, cover global cultures, clay artists, properties of clay and glaze, the firing process, and studio equipment.

Digital Arts

Our digital-native students start to learn design and presentation software in the Lower School. Once in the middle and upper schools, they may further explore digital art via electives. Students can study photography, digital illustration, and design in a hands-on manner by creating the middle and upper school yearbooks, and Tesserae, the Upper School literary magazine. In the creative spirit of the magazine, Tesserae students—led by teacher Joel Long—are known for art-directing quirky staff portraits each year.

Visual Arts Stories in Fine Print Magazine

Collage of Tesserae and Gazette websites on laptops.

As the pandemic plunged Rowland Hall into remote learning in spring, and as it continues to keep some students learning from home, upper schoolers in our newspaper and literary magazine classes have nimbly reimagined their printed products. Both publications have now found homes online, at least temporarily.

Read the 2020 Tesserae student literary magazine Read the Gazette student newspaper

Ben Fowler ’20 and senior Garrett Glasgow shared editor-in-chief duties to get Tesserae online—an effort that started in April and concluded this month. While the Tesserae team hopes to keep the website updated with future issues, Garrett said they’re definitely planning to bring back print for 2021:

“Due to COVID-19’s impact on the ability to create a print copy of this year's edition of Tesserae, the staff decided to shift to a digital copy of the magazine. With help from Rowland Hall's marketing team, the staff created a website with the usual collection of poems, prose, artwork, and photos created by students. In addition to the typical artforms seen in prior magazines, the digital nature of this year's edition also enabled us to include short videos. While we hope to create a print copy of the 2021 issue, the 2020 issue is widely accessible and filled with content by talented Rowland Hall students. We hope everyone takes an opportunity to look through this year's edition.”

Over at the Rowland Hall Gazette, senior and editor in chief Sophie Dau and her team look forward to posting new pieces every week or two:

“We decided to go digital this year because of the limited amount of students on campus, and we hope to incorporate outside content with more flexible publishing. We will update the website much more frequently, so keep an eye out for opinion pieces, teacher and student profiles, school news, current events, and more!”

Thanks to Ben, Garrett, Sophie, and their classmates—along with teachers Joel Long and Dr. Laura Johnson—for getting these digital publications up and running for community members near and far to enjoy. Our students’ creativity persists, even if the presses are paused.

Top: Tesserae and Gazette website collage featuring background artwork by Tesserae contributing artist Alex Armknecht ’20.

Student Publications

students performing on stage
Middle and upper school actors, dancers, musicians, and visual artists derived their own absurd, whimsical, haunting, and comedic version of Alice in Wonderland, performed April 11–13 in the Larimer Center for the Performing Arts.

The innovative show featured large-scale murals, traveling props, a costume menagerie, every style of dance, and integrated orchestral, vocal, and jazz music.


Livia Anderson sitting in front of her mural.

After three years of intermittent painting, junior Livia Anderson in August applied the last strokes on a vibrant mural dominating one wall of eighth-grade American Studies teacher Bill Tatomer’s classroom.

Livia—who received help from assistant artist and twin sister Leonie—started the mural the summer before eighth grade at the request of Mr. Tatomer. Now, her “client” couldn’t be happier with the final product: “I’m so fortunate to have this student-centric, curriculum-specific masterpiece in my classroom,” Mr. Tatomer said. “I’ll treasure it, and my students will get to appreciate it for years and years to come.”

Livia's mural features a famous World War II scene, plus imagery inspired by the westward expansion of the US.

In the following Q&A—lightly edited for length and context—Livia discusses how she made the mural, her productive struggle during the the three-year undertaking, how she persevered, and what she learned.

Why did you volunteer to paint this mural?

Most of the time I use small canvases, so completing an artwork of such magnitude was foreign to me. It was a great opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and experiment with new methods and mediums.

Is this your first mural-painting experience? What was that like? Will you do it again?

This was my first time painting a mural. It was exciting because I experimented with different tools, such as airbrushes, sponges, paint rollers, etc. If I’m ever given the opportunity to paint another mural, I’ll wholeheartedly accept. I’ll say, however, that I was unprepared when it came to time management, so that made it difficult to complete quickly.

It took me far longer than I expected, but I’m glad I completed it...If I’m ever given the opportunity to paint another mural, I’ll wholeheartedly accept. —Junior Livia Andersen, mural artist

How long did it take? Explain the process and timeline.

I began painting the mural in summer 2015, before I started eighth grade, and completed it this summer—so it took about three years. I finished most of the sketching and background painting during the first summer, but the details took me longer. I mostly worked on it when school was out for summer, which allowed for hours of uninterrupted work at a time.

How do you feel about the final product?

I’m quite proud of the mural, to say the least. It took me far longer than I expected, but I’m glad I completed it.

Explain the imagery you used. What inspired you?

I knew Mr. Tatomer wanted me to depict the American flag, but I challenged myself when it came to the other elements. I decided to pay tribute to Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, the famous 1945 photo by Joe Rosenthal. I also included elements of the westward expansion, such as bison and a steam engine, and “We the People” as a nod to the foundation of America.

You've taken several art electives with teacher Rob Mellor. How did your knowledge and skills influence this mural, if at all?

I used quite a bit of the skills I’ve learned. The two main principles I had to take into consideration were perspective and proportion, and I used my knowledge from art classes to do so.

What did you get out of the experience?

Throughout the creation of this mural, I learned so much and improved my artistic skills. I used new tools and mediums and depicted things I don’t work with often, such as the human form and geometric objects.

Visual Arts

Celebrating 150 Years in Our Classrooms

For the sesquicentennial, we asked Rowland Hall's teachers to find ways to incorporate our 150th anniversary into their curriculum. They rose to the challenge, creating fun and instructional opportunities for students, including art installations, math activities, spelling lessons, and service projects related to our school's history and/or the number 150.

Below are a few of the year's highlights. Check out photos and video from all the curricular activities on the Rowland Hall 150 website.

Upper School: Studio Art Installation

Art teacher Rob Mellor quite literally wove our sesquicentennial into his curriculum. His six-member Studio Art 3 class created a shallow installation of string secured by 150 nails. The 3-D line design incorporates color, pattern, random chance, and a large spiral as a nod to Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty artwork at the Great Salt Lake. Students created connections from nail to nail and linked each symbolic year together to create an open tapestry. Mr. Mellor said the project entailed "classic problem solving within a group dynamic. Compromise, trial and error, concept and meaning."

Middle School: 150 Rube Goldberg Machine

Middle School students in Ben Smith's class took on the major challenge of creating a SeRuGoMa, also known as the Sesquicentennial Rube Goldberg Machine. They built the machine on three large cardboard numbers (1,5,0) and divided into teams to design and construct seven actions per cardboard number, each of which triggered a subsequent action. They shared their creation with fellow students and visitors on Grandparents Day in November and on Maker Day in May.

Lower School: Giving Back, 150-Style

Lower School students in the first and third grades used the sesquicentennial celebration as an opportunity for community service. Third-grade students knitted over 150 hats to donate to the House of Hope, while first-grade students completed 150 acts of kindness over the course of the year. We're especially proud of these big-hearted and generous Winged Lions, who even received a shout-out on KSL's morning news for their good deeds!

Beginning School: Birthday Bash

Our Beginning School students participated in a birthday bash on the 150th day of school. They prepared 150 beautiful butterflies as a gift to Rowland Hall, and then celebrated on the quad with singing and dancing.


You Belong at Rowland Hall