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.

Performing Arts

Afro-Modern Dance

This class provides a broad overview of various ethnic dance forms with an emphasis on blending West African dance with modern day Jazz and Hip-Hop.Close

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

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

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 Winter and Spring Dance Concerts, as well as “on tour” at local venues. Although offered as an evening activity, rehearsals are held on Wednesday, from 1:30-4:30. Please note that we may also work for two blocks during the Fall Project Week. Dancers should be in Level 3 dance classes or receive permission from the instructors. Full-year commitment required.

Electronic Music Production

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.

Encountering Music

This class is designed as a series of listening and discussion sessions, with an emphasis on experiencing music that is new to our ears. Categories such as Electronic Music and Songs of Tremendous Beauty help us navigate through the impossibly large universe of beautiful sound. Some highlights of exploration include the Theremin, Thomas Mapfumo’s Zimbabwean “Chimurenga” music, comparisons of yodeling between Woody Guthrie and the Bavarian master Franzl Lang, the symphony as pre-electric “heavy metal,” and the poetics of Leonard Cohen and Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott. We’ll also get some hands-on experience with instruments both unusual and familiar. No musical experience necessary.


Hip-Hop is a class designed to increase rhythmic awareness and timing while exploring a full range of body mechanics. The class incorporates breakdancing, pop-locking, freezes, power moves and a touch of jazz.

Jazz Combo

The Jazz Combo allows students to continue their exploration of the jazz idiom and hone their musicianship while advancing their theory and performing skills. More in-depth concepts of jazz performance are addressed in combo, including reading and interpreting a lead sheet, improvising over various musical forms and in different jazz styles, and constructing group arrangements. The combo performs throughout the term for various school functions as well as an occasional opportunity to play outside of campus. At least an intermediate skill on an instrument and successful completion of the Jazz Basics course are preferred, though these prerequisites may be waived at the discretion of the instructor. Full-year commitment preferred.

Jazz Ensemble

The Jazz Ensemble gives students the musical tools necessary to become an improvising player. This small group affords students the opportunity to improvise and create imaginative solos in a variety of jazz styles, including the blues. Each class incorporates jazz theory into performance practice. This course focuses on how to jam and rehearse effectively while developing individual and distinctive skills. No advance knowledge is necessary to be in the ensemble. All levels of experience and any instrument are accepted and welcome.

Latin Dance

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


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 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 Arts

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. Meets one night per week, limited enrollment. Members of Calder Tech Crew have priority.

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 (Wednesday evening only). Full-year commitment desired.


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.

Visual and Literary Arts and Crafts


If you love Wallace and Gromet 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.


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; a lab fee will be charged for materials used.


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/Sequential Art

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.


Students will create a vast array of images for graduating Senior diplomas. They will work in a variety of mediums including; painting, drawing, printing and photography. This activity is open to anyone interested in art and carrying on this wonderful Putney tradition.

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.

Foods Around the World...A Culinary and Cultural Trip Beyond the Seven Seas

Developing a repertoire of basic cooking skills and the education of the palate are life-long 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 introducing a basic cooking or baking skill that will be used as a foundation to explore a wide range of food styles throughout the term. Soups, breads, meats, pastry, vegetarian and ethnic cooking, we’ll do it all. We will also begin to develop a sense of the gastronomic culture of food through an exploration of related historical, social, political and artistic subject matter. Weekly tastings will be an important part of the activity and the participants will often leave with food to share.


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.

Book Arts and Literary Magazine

As a class we will explore books, images and text by making everything from traditional handmade books to designing web-based media. We will investigate the elements that go into crafting a graphic media including editing text, graphic design, and illustration. We will also help maintain Lit Mag by soliciting and editing student work. You do not need to be an artist, just have an

Painterly Prints

Painterly Prints will explore several approaches to the monotype as a printed medium. Monoprints are the closest form of printmaking to painting. The imagery is direct, brush and roller to plate and employs painterly concepts such as free mark making and surface development. It is the least technical of print processes and allows for very spontaneous, free, additive and reductive imagery. We will be using both black and white and color inks and paints, found materials and tools. Students will work on pre-cut plexiglass plates of varying dimension to create imagery of personal interest. We will work towards creating cohesive bodies of work during the course of the term. There will be a modest lab fee for this course.

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

Participants will learn the basics of digital photography including manual controls of digital cameras, editing techniques, and file management while developing a visual vocabulary. Class time will include opportunities to create, edit, and discuss photographs as participants work towards meeting their personal artistic goals. While it is best if students have access to a digital camera, arrangements can be made for students to borrow cameras during class time to complete projects. A small material fee may be charged.


In printmaking students will be introduced to the concept of printmaking through a variety of techniques. Students will explore the idea of surface transfer through monotype, while becoming comfortable with the equipment, press, and studio practices. Over the course of the semester, students will graduate to more complex techniques, including, drypoint, intaglio, and color printing. Emphasis will be on learning technique as well as developing expressive imagery.

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: Wood

Students will learn to use a variety of hand and power tools to create sculptures in wood. These sculptures can be made through additive and/or reductive processes but wood carving will be the emphasis of the activity. All levels of experience are welcome.

Sculpture: Plaster, Clay and Wax

The first sculpture project will be in plaster. The emphasis will be to create a non-representational free form sculpture. As well, students will work in wax and various types of clay. The class will study figure sculpture and develop ways of abstracting the figure. A student will probably complete four to six sculptures during this fall period.

Sculpture: Recycle, Reuse, Mixed Media

In this class students will re-purpose everyday items into fantastic works of art. Using various construction techniques, including weaving and mosaic making we will create sculpture from found and discarded objects. In addition, each sculpture will address a specific theme.

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.

Spinning Workshop

This activity will cover the basic principles of spinning wool on a wheel. Students will discuss characteristics of animal fibers—primarily wool, but also mohair and angora. They will learn about basic tools and equipment, about washing and carding or combing, yarn design, and, if there is time, about color and dyeing. Each class will include actual spinning.

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.

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 isolation and a literal interpretation of rhythm and melody. All are welcome.


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