Evening Arts

The Evening Arts Program serves to extend the artistic and creative possibilities offered to students during the academic day, by providing a wide range of arts-based classes. It is an opportunity for students to try something entirely new, or to delve more deeply into an art form for which they have already developed a passion. In the evening, many wonderful local artists and crafts people join the art department to share their gifts.

The classes meet for 1 1/2 hours one or two evenings per week and students are required to complete two evening credits during the fall and winter/spring terms. With permission from the class deans and the program director, students may take additional activities.

Music, Movement, Theater, and Meditative Arts

African and Caribbean Drumming

This activity offers an opportunity to learn traditional hand drumming techniques and multi-part rhythm structures from Guinea, Senegal and Mali. We will also explore techniques for improvising and soloing. The school has some drums for this class, but if you have your own Jembe/Djembe, Ashiko or Conga, please bring it!

Ballroom Dance

This class will focus on the smooth dances: Foxtrot, Waltz, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, and Tango. We will dance a social partnered style of ballroom to learn how to lead and follow, as well as step patterns, and rhythms. Making it fun will be a central theme while learning how to use our body and communicate with a partner. Leaders and followers need not be gender specific. In fact it is great to learn both parts.Close

Celtic Traditions Music

Bluegrass and Irish fiddle tunes, Appalachian folk songs, contra and square dances: they all have their roots in the Celtic music brought over by Scots-Irish immigrants. We’ll explore the music and dance of the Celts home countries (Ireland, Scotland and France) as well as what they morphed into once they came here. We’ll jam in a big group and also split into smaller combos of matched abilities. This is a class for interested musicians/dancers of ANY level; if you don’t already play an instrument, you can start on Irish penny whistle and/or bodhran (frame drum)—both will be provided for a low cost.

Dance Ensemble (2 credits)

Dance Ensemble offers experienced dancers the opportunity to be part of a community of dedicated dancers. We will choreograph new dances, adding to our company repertoire for performances in the fall and spring Dance Concerts, as well as “on tour” at local venues.

Dunham Technique Jazz Dance

The Dunham Technique is a vibrant fusion of Haitian and African dance, jazz, modern, and ballet. This class will introduce the fundamentals of the technique, including barre work and progressions created by modern dance pioneer Katherine Dunham. The focus will be on joy of dancing, alignment, strength, flexibility, energy rhythm, and FUN! Close

Electronic Music Production: Abelton

Using Ableton Live software, students will explore MIDI composition/editing techniques, live sound processing, sampling, loop-based music production, and a wide array of other musical possibilities. By looking at current artists working within different genres, and also at one another’s work, students will learn specific skills and adapt them to their own projects. Each student will work towards an album of songs, and will be encouraged to share their project on an online-music platform such as bandcamp, soundcloud, or myspace. Throughout the course, each student will experiment with adapting cultural/ musical ideas onto a computer, and developing a specific musical vision/ style/persona/genre.

Jazz I Ensemble (2 credits)

In Jazz I, students are given the musical tools needed to become improvising players. The group affords students the opportunity to improvise and create imaginative solos in a variety of jazz styles, including the Blues. Rehearsals incorporate jazz theory into performance practice. The course focuses on how to jam and rehearse effectively while developing skills and an individual style. The group performs publicly when appropriate. Students need to have basic competence on an instrument. Placement in Jazz I or II is by audition. Full-year commitment.

Jazz II Combo (2 credits)

In Jazz II, students continue their exploration of the jazz idiom and hone their musicianship while advancing their theory and performance skills. More complex concepts of jazz theory are covered in depth, including reading and interpreting a lead sheet, improvising in various musical forms and styles, as well as constructing group arrangements. Jazz II performs 49 frequently throughout the year. At least intermediate skills on an instrument or permission of the instructor are required. Placement in Jazz I or II is by audition. Full-year commitment. Close

Latin Dance

Salsa, Marengue, Cumbia and more! No experience necessary, just a willingness to try and a desire to have fun, fun, fun!

Madrigals (2 credits)

Madrigals is the school’s vocal ensemble. Its name is derived from the Renaissance secular part-songs that originally comprised its repertoire. The current repertoire includes not only madrigals, but music of many genres, including motets, folksongs and modern a cappella arrangements. Madrigals sometimes functions as a teaching example in all-school Sing. Madrigals meets one evening and one late afternoon per week. The group performs frequently both on and off campus. A full year commitment is desired.


The aim of this activity is to cultivate mindfulness which is defined as presentmoment awareness. We will learn how to pay attention, in the present moment, to whatever arises, in a non-judgmental way. The awareness that comes out of paying attention in this way allows us to center ourselves and to develop clarity of mind and stability. We will cultivate mindfulness through practices such as gentle stretching, eating, sitting and walking meditation. We will also learn ways in which we can bring mindfulness into our daily lives. We will reflect on these practices through discussion.

Music Lessons and Practice

Student musicians often find it difficult to carve practice time out of their busy Putney schedules. This activity provides students with the opportunity to build 90 minutes of dedicated practice time into their schedules each week. If desired, students may split this into two, 45-minute sessions on different evenings. Those who are taking private music lessons and who are at the advanced beginner level or beyond have priority in admission to this activity.

Music Production and Recording

Even before electricity was available, inventors were trying to find ways to record and reproduce sound. We’ve come a long way since the Victrola. Thanks to the Phil Horvitz Fund for the Preservation of Performing Arts at The Putney School, Putney students have access to professional quality recording equipment. Using this equipment, students will learn the basics of recording and editing sound. Participants will learn how room acoustics can affect recording, how to use various types of microphones, the basics of live sound mixing on a control surface, and how to use ProTools recording software to edit, mix and master recorded sound. Participants will collaborate with student musicians to practice live recording.

Putney Community Orchestra

Open to all players of orchestral instruments from the advanced beginner level and up, including members of the greater Putney community. This ensemble is dedicated to music for string, chamber, and full orchestra (including works with chorus) from various historic time periods. Students are often featured as soloists. Prerequisite: basic ability on a string, wind, brass, or percussion instrument; the desire to share and experience music making. There are two different levels of participation: Evening Arts Double (two hours Wednesday evening, one afternoon for one hour); Evening Arts single credit (Wednesday evening only). Full-year commitment.

Public Speaking

Students in this class learn how to stand before a group of people in a poised and concentrated manner and speak clearly and intelligently. Primarily, these skills are acquired by researching, preparing, and presenting a series of speeches, including informative, demonstrative, persuasive, after-dinner, announcements, and storytelling. Close


As a class we’ll investigate the elements that go into crafting songs: lyrics, melodies, rhythm, chord progressions, arrangements, sounds, emotion, and inspiration. We’ll work on these ideas both by listening to examples of great songs, and by splitting up into groups and working on exercises: mini songs that we create and share with each other each week. Students can also bring in songs they have been working on to workshop in class, and we’ll aim toward a performance of new material in the last few weeks. Students should have a basic knowledge of an instrument (some chords or notes, depending on the instrument, would be enough) and a willingness to sing and perform in front of each other.


All students, faculty and staff are invited to audition for the fall and/or the spring production. Students are expected to devote some time to memorization and review throughout the week. Most cast members should expect to meet on Sunday afternoons during most of the trimester. Rehearsals will also run later than the regularly scheduled evening times. The theater activity will continue during Project Week as a double project.

Tribal Fusion Belly Dance

This dance class draws inspiration from the nomadic and Romani groups of northern India, North Africa, the Middle East, and Spain. Music ranging from traditional Middle Eastern to Arab-American-Balkan Electronica drives each class. The movement is funky and strong utilizing torso isolations and a literal interpretation of rhythm and melody. All are welcome. Close

Visual, Literary, and Fiber Arts and Crafts


If you love Wallace and Gromit or have ever wanted to create your own short claymation, this workshop will give you the tools and experience you need. A willingness to let your creative mind run free is required along with a bit of patience. Participants will plan storylines, design characters, create storyboards, and use iStopMotion to animate and edit their own short claymation clips and films.

Blacksmithing (2 credits)

In the evening arts blacksmithing class the traditional hammer-and-anvil method of shaping hot metal is taught, using tools and techniques whose origins go back a thousand years or more. The objects we make range from the functional to the artistic, the commonplace to the whimsical. There’s an emphasis on craftsmanship but also on imagination. Class size is limited to six students per session, as this ensures a high level of student-teacher interaction. This is a two-evening activity.

Book Arts

As a class we will explore books, images, and text by making handmade books. We will investigate the elements that go into crafting a graphic media including editing text, graphic design, and illustration. We will alter books, create books, and explore them as an art form. Close

Ceramics (2 credits)

In this activity, which is open to all levels, students are encouraged to explore a variety of methods that are possible for the means of expression with clay. Starting with basic handbuilding and wheel-throwing techniques, students have the opportunity to move on to increasingly complex projects of their choosing. Along with the different construction methods, students are introduced to a range of surface decoration possibilities such as texturing, carving, painting with slips and stains and glaze application. Students work is high-fired in a gas kiln. A fee for materials is charged.

Comics and Graphic Novels

A studio class exploring techniques of drawing and story telling in the comic/ graphic novel format. Students are given different themes to work with to create short stories using pictures, panels and words. Class work is then printed up as a compilation book. Advanced students are also encouraged to bring their own characters and ideas and produce their own complete comics.

Creative Writing

Explore self-expression through an informal writers’ workshop. We will dabble in a variety of genres, including fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Prompts and exercises will be offered as a way to get started, or you may work on your own project. Participants should be prepared to share their writing from time to time with the group.

Culinary Arts

Developing a repertoire of basic cooking skills and educating the palate are lifelong endeavors important to everyone. This activity will take a hands-on approach to the world of cooking, food, and taste. We will begin each class by learning a basic cooking or baking skill that will be used as foundations to explore a wide range of food styles throughout the term. From meats to marshmallows, savory to sweet, we will do it all! We will also learn about the culture of food through related historical, social, political, and artistic materials. Weekly tastings will be an important part of the activity and we will often leave with food to share. Close

Digital Film Making

Students in Digital Film Making will explore various techniques for recording digital video. Individual projects will be used to learn the basics of the editing process—such as use of color, composition, transitions, text, graphics, and sound. No experience is necessary, as our goal will be for students to increase their own knowledge and skill base with amateur and semi-pro equipment and software. Once comfortable with a variety of tools, students will use class time to film and edit more complex projects of their own choosing. Cell phones with video capability and personal laptops are encouraged but not required.


Encaustic (wax) is the perfect medium for exploring collage. The wax is translucent but not completely clear. As you build the surface and continue to add elements to your collage, the piece develops depth. Early aspects of the collage will begin to cloud and fade as the surface evolves. Because you can continually work the piece by reheating the wax, it is possible to explore many interesting ways of creating texture. We will be working with photographs, ephemera such as old maps and letters, drawings, paint, and, of course, wax. The possibilities are endless.

Figure Drawing

Devoted exclusively to drawing the human form directly from observation. Students will observe and express the structure, gesture, anatomy and form of the live model in a variety of drawing and printmaking media. We will look at precedents in art history and add substantially to college and art school portfolios.


The emphasis in this activity is on making silver jewelry, but students may make other objects as well. We will also work with other metals such as brass, copper, and materials that can be combined with metal. Students will acquire skills in basic hammering, sawing, and forging as well as setting stones in bezels, and finishing techniques. There will be a small fee for materials.


Students will increase their competency while they enjoy a congenial evening. All levels welcome, though an emphasis is placed on beginner and intermediate levels.

Lit Mag

Help make The Literary Magazine a reality. Join a team of writers, artists, photographers, and editors who will design our magazine and publish a variety of creative talents from our community. You will help recruit, promote, select, lay out, and produce our stellar and well-loved yearly publication. Close


The evening activity in painting is designed to introduce new students to painting and will afford more experienced students the opportunity for further practice, growth, and development. We will explore color theory, painting from observation and from imagination, and materials and mediums. We will look at work that interests us and try to understand the techniques employed to achieve the desired results. Close

Photography: B&W

This activity is open to anyone regardless of experience. The emphasis will be on making images with traditional black & white film, paper & 35mm cameras. For those with no experience, it will be an opportunity to learn the basics of how to shoot, process and print in the school’s darkroom. For those with a background in traditional photography, this activity is an opportunity to explore the medium further. Having a 35mm camera is helpful, but we have a few cameras to loan as well. Materials: Film and paper will need to be purchased by the student, and are available in the school bookstore. The cost of supplies is approximately $40.

Photography: Digital

After achieving a solid understanding of exposure and camera operation, this class will lead you on a journey of digital photographic discovery. You will learn techniques to capture action, landscapes, and portraits, along with basic aesthetic principles to improve your photographic compositions. In addition to capture and composition skills, you will become proficient in basic digital processing techniques to help your photos better reflect your artistic vision. Exploration of specialized techniques such as time-lapse, light painting, B&W, or HDR can also be undertaken by interested students. Digital SLR cameras are available, a small material fee may be charged for printing. Students who have already taken digital photo in our evening program should sign up for digital photo II. Close


In this printmaking class, students will work with a variety of etching techniques. They will explore hard ground and soft ground etching, aquatint, spit bite, sugar lift, and white ground. Depending on experience, students will make many small plates, using a different technique on each plate, or make one image that incorporates all the techniques. Students will be encouraged to explore the various possibilities of printmaking and image making. Close

Sculpture: Metal

If you have the urge to express your creative self by cutting, bending, denting, grinding, welding and polishing metal, then you may have a future as a metal sculptor. Take this activity to confirm the suspicion and you won’t be disappointed.Close

Sculpture: The Figure

Figure sculpture. Students will work from live models. Students will create a series of pieces in oil-based clay or wax. The focus of this class is on the making and not objects made. All wax and clay works will be recycled at the end of the class.

Sewing, Quilting and Fiber Arts

This activity will cover a variety of basic sewing skills. Students can choose to focus on quilting techniques or learn to sew clothing from commercial and original patterns. Instruction in embroidery, alterations and embellishments will also be offered. All levels of experience are welcome.

Stained Glass

Glass Unleaded! We will be exploring stained glass using lead-free solders and copper foil. You will learn to cut glass, break and grind it, wrap with foil and solder together to complete a beautiful work of art. After some experience with this process, 3D formats are also an option to create sculptural mobiles and small boxes. A small fee may be charged depending upon materials used.


Students will learn the fundamentals of weaving by designing and creating individual projects on fourand eight-harness floor looms. Projects may include scarves, clothing, blankets, rugs or tapestries. Other fiber-related techniques can also be explored including spinning, dyeing and knitting. Beginners are welcome. A small fee may be charged depending on the size of projects and materials used.


Instruction and suggestions are offered on design, construction techniques, and the uses of both hand and power tools. Everyone must complete at least one project by the end of the class. Beginning and experienced woodworkers are welcome.


This is a year-long project with real deadlines and real disappointments at the end, if it isn’t done—or isn’t done right. You’ll work with a team of dedicated student journalists who will document the school year in photos and words, then design it to fit within the budgeted pages using the latest computer layout and digital photo software. You’ll sell ads to parents and businesses to offset the cost of the publication to your peers, then don the production manager’s hat as we negotiate the printing process. At weekly editorial meetings you’ll update your colleagues on your progress and brainstorm with them. You will emerge with a fine yearbook and a pile of real job skills you can add to your resume.


The Putney School | Elm Lea Farm, 418 Houghton Brook Road, Putney, Vermont 05346-8675
802-387-5566 (main) | 802-387-6278 (fax) | admission@putneyschool.org | info@putneyschool.org