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Visual Arts

Artists have the power to heighten awareness through their work.

Visual arts students at ‘Iolani School learn the responsibility of ethical, respectful and articulate representation and self-expression.

Each ‘Iolani student develops a unique artistic voice through a process of self-discovery. They learn to develop concepts and manipulate form and style as they master artistic media.

The program strives to develop artists who are skilled, confident and self-aware.

The ‘Iolani Visual Arts program operates on the assumption that everyone has a unique way of seeing, thinking and feeling. From there, it encourages students to question and seek new relationships between ideas and materials.

Students have opportunities to learn from other artists and share their own work. Visiting professional artists conduct in-class workshops. Art students take field trips to the Honolulu Museum of Art, The Contemporary Museum, Hawai‘i State Art Museum, and other galleries and exhibits. Student artists share their work in exhibits on and off campus.

‘Iolani students also create art in cross-disciplinary projects in other subject areas.

The Lower School art curriculum allows students to explore a variety of media, techniques, cultures, and styles. Students create work in both two dimensions and three dimensions. Lower School artists in each grade level participate in interdisciplinary units of study that include an art component.

The Upper School art curriculum begins with exploratory classes in grades 7 and 9. Seventh graders take six-week Art sequences, and ninth graders take quarter-long sequences. Students in grades 8-12 may opt to enroll in a semester-long elective course in Mixed Media, while students in grades 9-12 have elective options in Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Sculpture, Photography, and Mixed Media. Students in grade 12 may elect to enroll in Advanced Placement Studio Art Drawing or 3D Design.

With the exception of AP Studio Art, all art courses offer the option of advancing three levels. The levels move from foundations and exploration of techniques and media to more advanced work. At all levels, students critically analyze their work and the artwork of others through reflection, shared observation, and constructive oral discussion. Mixed-level classes encourage valuable peer exchange of knowledge and perspective.

The arts are infused in the life of the campus. Student art from current and past years adorns offices, display cases, lobbies, hallways and classrooms in permanent and temporary exhibits on campus. Fine art appears in student publications, and almost every building and courtyard on campus has art on display.

The Dave Roberts Endowment offers qualified students a special opportunity to enroll in a pre-college program following their junior year.


Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition

Thirty-five ‘Iolani School students currently have 47 stunning pieces of artwork on display at the 60th Annual Hawai‘i Regional Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition at the Hawai‘i State Art Museum (HiSAM).

Each work, which was judged along with thousands of statewide entries, was recognized with a 2023 Scholastic Art Award. ‘Iolani Upper School students received a total of 47 Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention awards in all visual art disciplines: Drawing, Painting, Photography, Design 3-D, Ceramics and Mixed Media. Included in that group are two nominees for American Visions awards.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program is the longest-running and most prestigious student arts recognition program in the United States. It was established in 1923 by M.R. Robinson to encourage, foster, and reward student creativity across the country.

Please go see the beautiful Gold Key and Silver Key artwork created by ‘Iolani students and others from across the state at this wonderful free exhibit in the Diamond Head gallery at HiSAM. Visit the Hawai'i State Art Museum official website for more information.

2023 Scholastic Art Awards
2022 Scholastic Art Awards
2021 Scholastic Art Awards
2020 Scholastic Art Awards