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Visual Arts

Student artistic growth begins in the lower grades with experimentation in a variety of basic media. Middle School is a time for refining skills, experimenting with different styles, and solving problems in areas like dimension or color theory. Upper School students study principles and styles of art as they fine tune their focus and build skills in more advanced art media. Education at all levels makes use of Charleston’s rich art community by encouraging students to visit our many unique museums, galleries and art fairs.

Traditional Art

We teach basic design elements and principles of art and build on those concepts each year. 

Building on student ability and interests - We feel strongly that the student should make the major decisions about the direction they want their art to go.  The STUDENT is the artist, the teacher is a guide. We like for our artists to feel confident enough to move forward in their work without asking ‘is this good’ or ‘am I doing this right’?  If THEY think it’s good and THEY think they are doing it right, then that’s what is most important. We open the doors and remove the obstacles, helping them reach the potential we always knew was there.  

From lower school to upper school, students are able to experiment with painting, drawing, clay, sculpture, and more, growing in confidence and technical skill as the years progress. It is our purpose to guide and nurture creativity, producing in the end students who have either discovered or fine tuned a side of them they may not have known they had. It is our hope that after graduation, our students are able to continue on a creative path and bring joy to others through the use of their imaginations. AP Studio Art is the culmination of a one’s experience of the visual arts at Porter-Gaud.


Art does not simply exist on canvas.  Whether molding something on the potter's wheel, or carving a pice from a block of clay, our students bring their artistic vision to life.  Students begin in the Lower School by sculpting self-portraits and Christmas Play characters, and we progress to the AP Art Studio, where students have the option of choosing clay as their medium for their portfolio.  We have a professional-grade kiln room to fire their pieces once the final touches have been made. Parents treasure the pieces their students create. Mantels, shelves, and curio cabinets around Charleston are full of priceless Porter-Gaud creations.

Digital Design

Recognizing that art is becoming progressively more digital, we have built a digital design lab for students who would rather create on a computer.  Whether they are bring a digital photograph to its best or designing something from scratch, digital art will be a key component in the success of future artists.  We hope to expand our offerings in the future to include graphic design and photojournalism.

LS Visual Art

Formal art classes begin in the first grade where students learn to paint, sculpt, draw, and create. These skills build the scaffold for our art curriculum as it progresses through the Lower School. While we hope students learn the basics of visual art, our focus is more on the fun and creativity that comes from encouraging and skilled art teachers.