Welcome to The Arts Department!

The Visual Art program offers a wide range of opportunities for students both inside and outside the classroom.  Whether you are a student who just likes to “make stuff” or you are a student who is planning a possible career in art or design, our program will serve you well.

In addition to our regular programming, we traditionally supplement our classes with excursions outside the classroom, such as, trips to the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Word Press Photo Show in Toronto. We also are involved in community shows, such as, the Cambridge Celebration of the Arts, Langs Centre, and the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery.

Visual Art, Craft and Photography Programs

  • The Visual Art program starts in Grade 9, as an Open Level course and finishes in Grade 12, as a College/University M Level course and can contribute to a students best 6 marks for post secondary applications. The Grade 9 & 10 courses build your skills and are the prerequisites for the senior classes. The Grade 11 & 12 classes emphasize creating personal work that makes great finished pieces and can be strong portfolio entries if you are planning studies in fine art, graphic design, fashion & interior design or animation and illustration.
  • The Craft program runs in Grade 9 and 10 and is Open Level. It emphasizes practical application of functional art.
  • Photography is offered starting in Grade 10 as an Open Level course and it finishes in Grade 12 as a College/University M Level course.
  • All the Visual Art, Craft and Photography courses count toward the required arts credit for graduation. Additional arts courses can be taken to qualify for the Group 2 credit category, also required for graduation.

Extra opportunities in The Arts

There are many opportunities to get involved in the Arts at PHS. Don’t be shy, drop in anytime to check us out!

  • ART CLUB:  We run an Art Club once a week after school all year long. Students get involved in art activities and can use the space as a social studio opportunity. 
  • OPEN STUDIO: Open Studio runs at lunch for students who want to use the art room to work on their art projects in a welcoming, creative environment.
  • ART COUNCIL: The art department offers leadership opportunities in our Art Council. These students develop art events, organize displays, run Art Club and coordinate with the other school councils to run major arts events. 
  • ART RETREAT: This event is an overnight retreat for all arts students in music, drama and visual art. It is an enriching opportunity that allows students to further explore their passions and to meet students from other disciplines.
  • ART AWARDS: The Academy Awards of the Arts at PHS, this event is held at the end of the year to recognize and celebrate the hard work that music, drama and visual art students contribute to the school.
  • ART FUNDRAISER: Students create art such as glass cheese platters from wine bottles, greeting cards or graphic buttons to raise money for charitable causes. 

Student FAQs

Q: Do you get a lot of homework?

A: The courses allow students the opportunity to do most of their work in class, but they are welcome to enhance their skills at home. We also have an Open Studio available during lunches for students to have a space to catch up or do extra. This creates a good balance in their schedule.

Q: What is the difference between the Visual Art Course AVI1OI and the Craft Course AWA 1OI?

A: The AVI1OI Visual Arts course is our introductory open level course, which allows students to create work using traditional media such as drawing, painting, printmaking, clay sculpture, and mixed media. It is a prerequisite for the college / university (M level) visual art credits in the senior grades.

The AWA1OI Craft course is an open level arts course that emphasizes practical application of functional art. It continues to a grade 10 open level craft course, but is not a prerequisite for the senior level visual arts program.

Q: When can I take Photography?

A: The photography program starts in grade 10 and allows students to continue to the grade 11 and 12 college / university (M level) courses.

Parent FAQs

 Q: Are the Art & Photography classes designed only for students who intend on pursuing art after high school?
A: Art has many transferable skills, such as creative problem solving, that help all students prepare for a variety of post secondary programs. Most importantly it gives students a creative outlet and a change of pace from their other courses. They benefit from having a hands on course to explore the creative side of their brains.

Q: For students who want to apply for post secondary art related programs, do you help them get their portfolio ready?

A: We work together in the department to help students get ready for post secondary. We have had students successfully enter very competitive programs in such institutions as the Ontario College of Art & Design, Sheridan College, and the Waterloo School of Architecture. Locally, Conestoga College offers many creative programs where PHS arts experience is an asset.

Q: My kid really loves art. Can they take more than one art credit per year?

A: Students can take both visual arts and crafts in the same year.  Some students take both because they love the hands-on creative experience and are interested in building their portfolio. Some even add photography to their schedule in grade 10.

Department Staff

Ms. Liebregts    alexa_liebregts@wrdsb.ca  Department Head

Mr. Fink             john_w_fink@wrdsb.ca

Courses and curriculum documents


AWA1OI, AWA2OI Visual Arts, Crafts

AWQ2OI, AWQ3MI, AWQ4MI  Visual Arts, Photography

AWL3OI Visual Arts, Drawing

Please read the course descriptions under The Arts

Gr 9 & 10 The Arts curriculum document

Gr 11 & 12 The Arts curriculum document