Creativity, imagination, and excellence are at the heart of education at St. Mary’s Academy. Students engage in fine arts – including music and visual arts every day. Our goal is to help students build technique and aesthetic awareness as well as grow their critical thinking and problem-solving skills in ways that extend beyond the classroom.
Lower School students engage in the visual arts as a regular part of their school day. Students from Junior Kindergarten through 5th grade participate in self-discovery and creative problem solving, as they develop persistence and skill building with a variety of mediums. Our curriculum allows for exploration in ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video, filmmaking, and architecture. It is our goal to inspire students to discover their personal voice and mode of expression.
Middle School students have several arts class selections including visual arts and photography.
High School students continue exploring the arts in introductory level classes to focus their interests and talents in advanced courses of study—from two- and three-dimensional art to photography. Many of our students have been Regional and National Medalists in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and have been recruited by art institutions.
The Visual Arts faculty is exceptional for their instructional expertise, as well as for their accomplishments outside the classroom as professional artists. While this is required for college professors in the arts, it is an unusual asset at the K-12 level that sets our Visual Arts faculty at SMA apart.
Andrew Beckham, HS art teacher and Visual Arts Department Chair, has his photography represented in museum collections nationally, including the Denver Art Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, and MacArthur Foundation, among others. A Fulbright Fellow and author, Mr. Beckham 's work has been published by Princeton Architectural Press and GFT Books. In Denver, his work is represented by Goodwin Fine Art.
Jamie Hatch Sniegowski, HS art teacher, is a ceramic artist and sculptor. In past years she ran her own gallery space in the Santa Fe Arts District in Denver. She is active in her studio and owns Aspen Pottery, a small business that sells pottery on Etsy and locally at Willow-An Artisan Market in historic downtown Littleton. Mrs. Sniegowski has also exhibited her work at art festivals nationally.
Cheri Buxman, MS art teacher, has been awarded grants to study at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, one of the country’s premier art-immersion retreat centers for serious creatives. Cheri’s work is inspired by traditional Japanese and Chinese design, Indian miniature painting, and American folk art. Her work is represented in Denver by Abecedarian Gallery.
Kelly Mansfield, LS art teacher, is a sculptor and long time member of one of Denver’s oldest cooperative art spaces, Next Gallery. A co-founder of Camp of the Creative Arts, a summer arts program for children, Kelly is an arts advocate in and outside of the classroom. Ms. Mansfield’s work has been exhibited in group exhibitions nationally, and is in numerous private collections.