Senn Arts » Senn Arts Visual Art

Senn Arts Visual Art


Visual Arts is an intensive visual art program that addresses concepts in visual art as well as informed and critical decision-making.  The courses in this program provide students with an opportunity to explore and experiment with combinations of various media and processes. Students will master their abilities using the elements and principles of visual art to create successful artwork as well as further investigate concepts of imagination, observation, and expression.

Students are expected to work on longer-range projects, do research, keep a sketchbook, critique and develop a high quality portfolio. Students are expected to take initiative to develop their own commitments to content and personal voice.

An approach supported by concepts and individual instruction requires students to ask more questions of themselves and their work than it answers.  This method offers a more informed perspective to their own repertoire, resulting in a student’s ongoing pursuit of learning and growth.

Equal weight is given to formal skill building and the involvement of content in the work of students at all levels of their development. Students engage in problem-solving strategies that reinforce the integration of a conceptual idea with its physical manifestation. Dialogue in the classroom helps clarify not only the student’s material decisions, but the reasoning behind those decisions.  It is important to address why an artwork exists as well as how.

Jesse Wyss, Visual Art Lead Teacher

Curriculum Overview

First Year Visual Art
Foundation: Who am I? Who are we?
The first year program involves a process of self reflection while providing a foundation based on comprehensive technical, theoretical, and historical studies.

Sophomore Visual Art

Artistic Language: How do I get there? Where do we come from?
The second year program involves the development of artistic language. By increasing exposure to a wider and increasingly sophisticated system of Reflection and Transformation as well as more in depth explorations of Methodology Tools and Techniques, and the beginning of a honing of skills and narrowing of a specific interest or focus.

Junior Visual Art
Artistic Voice: What am I trying to say?
The third year program begins with the emergence of a personal Artistic Voice. will be nurtured through this first year of advanced study. The ability to understand Intent as well as the all encompassing concepts of Purpose and Meaning will form the structure of this first year of advanced study.

Senior Visual Art
Artistic Identity: Where are we going?
The fourth year program involves a thoroughly advanced study involving the convergence of advancing techniques and artistic identity with the continuing process of artistic emergence.


Artwork from all four grades were represented in exhibitions all over the city including:

  • The CPS ALL CITY High school art Exhibition.
  • Illinois High School Art Exhibition at the Bridgeport Art Center.
  • Edgewater Fall Art Fair
  • Illinois’ 9th Congressional District Art Competition

Senn Arts students created WTF (Where’s the Funds) Art Collective, a gallery and a night of performance that held discussion centered around CPS budget cuts.

Multiple visual artists received Gold and Silver Keys in the Regional and National Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards.

Students were also involved in many exciting visual art programs outside of school including but not limited to the: Working as an interns, advanced apprentices, and fellows  in the After school matters Advanced Painting and drawing and Skateboard Design classes, the Adler Planetarium, and the Chicago Architectural Foundation

This year we have three seniors completing their tenure in the selective Chicago Arts Access Program, otherwise known as CAAP, a three-year college bridge program designed for students dedicated to studying art and design through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There is also one junior, two sophomores, and now two more freshmen have been chosen for this highly selective program at SAIC, one of the top art schools in the nation.

Art students visited The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, examined artists books at the Joan Flasch Artist Book Collection at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and  viewed the Chicago Shorts program as a part of the Chicago International Film Festival.

Visual artists have also crossed over into other disciplines to perform in Louder Than a Bomb, sing in the A cappella group, and create set design and puppets for Avenue Q. They participated in debate, student government, made principal's list and one became the highest ranking ROTC officer in Senn.

Lastly, This year’s Visual Art seniors were offered a total of $1,322,840 in scholarship dollars. They are accepting a total of 674200 dollars with awards with titles such as the Walter & Shirley Massey Scholarship, First Year Scholars Program, Presidential Scholarship, Distinguished Scholarship, Competitive Excellency Award Merit Scholarship, Creative Honors Scholarship.