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Visual Arts

Lower School

In our Lower School art program, students learn the language of art and gain an appreciation for the visual arts. Students focus on the elements and principles of art, learning about artists and styles and making connections to experiences in other classes. Collaboration between the arts and other subjects, particularly the humanities, supports the progression of visual literacy, aesthetic sensitivity and problem-solving at each grade level. This approach prepares students to communicate comfortably with their peers and teachers and provides them with the skills for self-expression, helping them to discover the happiness inherent in the creative process.

Middle School

The fine arts program engages the creativity and curiosity of Middle School students. Problem-solving activities inherent in both the two- and three-dimensional art courses help students develop cognitive and fine motor skills and an awareness of the emotional impact of the fine arts. Students select and transform ideas, discriminate and synthesize the elements and principles of design, and apply these skills to their expanding knowledge of the visual arts and to their own creative work. Students refine the questions that they ask in response to artwork, leading to an appreciation of multiple artistic solutions and interpretations. In both fifth and sixth grades, students take one semester of studio art and one semester of woodworking. In seventh and eighth grade, students may choose to explore a half year or full year of either course, furthering their experience in the chosen medium. The study of historical and cultural contexts helps students to gain insight into the role the visual arts play in human achievement. They come to understand that the art of a culture is shaped by its aesthetic ideas and by additional factors including social, political and economic influences. Through the coursework, students develop an understanding of the meaning and importance of the visual world in which they live.

Upper School

A wide variety of art courses in two- and three-dimensional media are offered in the Upper School Fine Arts program, including Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, Photography, Portfolio Development, Sculpture, Studio Art, AP Studio Art: 2-D Design, and Woodworking. The Upper School Fine Arts program creates a challenging and diverse learning environment for developing studio-based artistic exploration. Our goal is to familiarize students with the means, the context and the interpretation of art through intensive instruction in traditional and contemporary ideas and techniques. Students acquire a comprehensive understanding of both the elements that compose artworks and the ideas that make them meaningful. Constructive criticism is an integral part of classroom discussion, helping each student to realize more fully his/her creative potential. All aspects of creating art – from generating ideas to the technical process – are included in instruction and practice. References to art history and contemporary art are integrated into every course. Students have several opportunities throughout the year to show their work to the school and community in a gallery setting.

Art Exhibitions

Each year, the fine arts faculty in grades K – 12 curates a winter and a spring art exhibition and hosts opening receptions for staff, faculty and friends to come together and celebrate the work of our art students. In addition, student work is submitted to several juried and non-juried art competitions and exhibitions throughout the year

Winter Art Exhibition

Visual Arts Chair

Sarah Isusi chairs the fine arts department at GSB. She is in her fourth year at Gill and teaches Upper School Studio Art, Drawing and Painting, Portfolio Development and AP 2D Design. Isusi holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Painting and a Master’s of Art in Teaching from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a Master’s of Fine Art in Painting from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Prior to coming to Gill, she taught International Baccalaureate Art and Design to Upper School students in Baltimore and later developed the Fine Arts program for a Charter School for Performing and Fine Arts in Philadelphia. She is an active member of the N.J. Art Education Association, as well as the Center for Contemporary Art in Bernardsville and the Print Center of N.J., where she shows her work annually.

Meet the Team

List of 5 members.

  • Cornelius Arnett 

    Sculpture / Ceramics, Grades 7-8; Fine Arts, Upper School
    908-234-1611, Ext. 229
  • Mrs. Sarah Isusi 

    Chair, Fine Arts Department
    908-234-1611, Ext. 232
    The University of the Arts - M.F.A.
    Maryland Inst College of Art - M.A.T.
    Maryland Inst College of Art - B.F.A.
  • Jaime Diken 

    908-234-1611, Ext. 300
    School of Visual Arts - M.A.T.
    Moravian College - Fine Arts
  • Amy Newman 

    Art, Grades 5-8; Fine Arts, Grades 9-12
    908-234-1611, Ext. 231
    Montclair State University - M.A.
    Rutgers University - B.F.A.
  • Robert Ort 

    Woodworking, Grades 5-8; Fine Arts, Upper School
    908-234-1611, Ext. 261
    Rochester Institute of Technology - A.A.S. Photographic Arts
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a vigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.