An independent Catholic school for young women in grades 7-12

fine arts

At Ursuline, being a well-rounded, educated woman includes learning the fundamentals of artistic expression.  Courses in the visual and the performing arts provide the foundation for this expression and allow students to follow their interests to advanced levels of study.


Visual Arts

The Visual Arts department faculty helps each student express herself artistically and creatively by developing her technical skills and imaginative ideation. Students hone their capabilities for observational learning and explore a variety of art media through hands-on projects that include training in and use of Ursuline’s tools for digital expression.

Visual Arts Classes

Art 7

Beginning students learn techniques and the basics on which all future instruction rests: the color wheel, contour drawing, tempera paint, chalk pastels, introduction to drawing from a grid, and basic animation using the Animation Creator HD iPad app.  They produce book cover illustrations and an animated movie. (Grade 7)

Art 8

Art 8 builds on and develops students’ skills learned in Art 7. Students learn about complementary and analogous color palettes, work on shading, and begin drawing using classical perspective. They benefit from technology through the printmaking unit, which introduces textile design, such as repeating patterns and coordinated palettes. In fashion design, students choose a theme for a series of garments and illustrate a fashion board in watercolor and colored pencil. For a culminating project, they work in three dimensions by drawing, planning, measuring, and constructing architectural models. (Grade 8)

Visual Art and Design I

Through drawing, digital photography, Adobe Photoshop, painting, hand lettering, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign, students  explore realism, abstraction, introduction to Graphic Design, and elaboration on a theme. Understanding visual composition, color theory, and typography, students can proceed into upper level art classes. ( Grade 10, 11 or 12)

Visual Art and Design II

Prerequisite: Visual Art and Design I
Students in this course explore more complex concepts in visual art and design including color theory, Modernism, Wabi-Sabi, positive and negative space, composition, and the development of ideas from sketch to final. Students continue to manipulate Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign and also work in traditional media such as painting, sculpture, and drawing. (Grades 11 or 12)

Visual Art and Design III

Prerequisite: Visual Art and Design II
This class, comprised of both Advanced Placement and non-AP students, emphasizes developing a body of work and an artistic voice. Students work in a variety of media before working, with instructor guidance, on independently-designed projects. (Grades 11 or 12)

AP Art and Design

Prerequisite: Visual Art and Design II (Visual Art and Design I with permission)

The Advanced Placement Portfolio class is designed for students who are seriously interested in the practical experience of art. The AP Art and Design Program consists of three portfolios: 2-D Design, 3-D Design, and Drawing which correspond to the most common college foundation courses. Students may choose to submit one of the portfolios.  AP Art and Design is not based on a written exam; instead students submit portfolios for evaluation at the end of the school year. The Portfolio consists of twenty-four works of art. Students may incorporate digital photography and imaging within the confines of this course. The submission of a portfolio to AP is required.  (Grade 12 or Grade 11 with teacher permission)

Website Design

Combining art and coding, students use graphic design and programming to connect left and right brain thinking in a practical, real world application. Students learn how to use principles of design to create a website and will gain the tools needed to implement their designs through code. They master HTML and CSS (and some Javascript), both of which languages provide a superior knowledge base in the web design field. (Grade 10, 11 or 12)


Performing Arts

Participation in the performing arts is a positive, whole-person endeavor that provides the student opportunities to take risks in a supportive environment.  Performing arts provide an opportunity for students to develop and foster their communication skills, self-discipline, problem solving, teamwork, leadership, collaboration, and creativity, as well as to heighten their sense of self and the world around them.


Performing Arts Classes

Music 7

7th grade students learn to be participants and listeners through this introduction to music; they play percussion instruments, learn to read music and sing. They study music from the Baroque and Classical eras as well as the modern age, and learn to analyze and critique the selections.  Through the use of an online program called Incredibox, student learning includes the technology of musical arrangement. (Grade 7)

Music 8

Eighth grade music reinforces and extends seventh grade learning, as students progress through music composition.  Performance opportunities include the ukulele as well as singing. In collaborative groups, students will produce a music video of their ukulele performance, and they will learn the process of evaluating musical performance. Continuing to utilize technology, student will use Garageband to create their own Hip Hop arrangement after studying 20th century music history. (Grade 8)

Music Theory I

While music is universally embraced as a human language, Ursuline student learn how to interpret that language through understanding. Students focus on time signatures, rhythm, understanding intervals, key signatures - major and minor, and harmony; ear-training, which includes interval recognition, rhythmic and melodic dictation, chord progressions and cadences. Students’ culminating activities include two original compositions. (Grade 10, 11 or 12)

AP Music Theory

Prerequisite: Music Theory I
AP Music Theory will build on the foundations learned in Music Theory 1, such as pitch, rhythm, meter, scales, keys, intervals and chords and is designed for students who have basic performance skills in voice or instrument and can read and write music. Students develop their musicianship skills in sight-reading, aural dictation, both melodic and rhythmic, realization of a figured bass and realization of a Roman numeral chord progression.  Aurally and through score-reading, students will learn to analyze and identify harmony, melody, texture and form from a repertoire that includes works from the Western European Common Practice, Jazz, 20th century works and world music. (Grade 11 or 12)

Musical Theater

This course engages students in all areas of musical theater and includes the history and cultural significance of musical theater from “Dafne” by Jacopo Peri to “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Students explore acting, singing, directing, dancing, rehearsal, performance, and design skills which will culminate in the presentation of specific musical theater scenes. (Grades 10, 11 or 12)

Drama I

This course introduces students to Theater Arts through the study of beginning acting techniques and practical application of theater skills such as acting, movement, voice, relaxation, concentration, performance, improvisation, character analysis, scene study, monologues, audition skills, stagecraft (lighting, set, sound and costume design), playwriting, and directing.

Communication Arts

The three objectives of Communication Arts are to enhance and improve public speaking technique, to become a savvy media analyst and consumer and to produce purposeful video content using a variety of creative approaches and editing.

Since effective public speaking is key to several areas of academic and professional success, students will continue to develop skills, no matter what level, with the intention of using these skills throughout their lives by analyzing and practicing specific speech techniques and by developing strong presentation skills.

Communication Arts students explore various media influences in a variety of industries including journalism, advertising, music, film, TV and social media exploring important concepts such as branding and demographic analysis. Communication Arts students collaborate with classmates to produce content for the school community learning lighting, audio, editing technique, voice overs and special effects including the use of green screen.  Students use a variety of equipment independently, including video cameras, tripods and microphones and utilize the iHub and editing software. (Grades 10, 11 or 12)



Meet Our Faculty

Susan Glancy


Matthew Kedzierski


Caroline Rufo


Pam Schnatterly