There is a long and impressive tradition of excellence in the visual Arts at Ampleforth and the Department is a thriving hub of activity.

Occupying a central position in the school, the purpose built Sunley Centre is well equipped, with large painting studios, a printmaking workshop, a ceramics studio, sculpture facilities, Art library, computer room and exhibition space.

The teachers and technicians are all respected artists bringing a complimentary group of specialisms to the classroom. Our aim is to work alongside students helping them to discover their own creativity, and delight, in making things.  Drawing from observation is a core element of the curriculum, enabling students to confidently record and explore their ideas, which then leads to work using a wide variety of media, materials and processes.

All students are welcome to sign up for one of the many Art activities, regardless of whether they have chosen to do Art as one of their exam subjects. Over the course of the year a range of activities and clubs are offered, including Life Drawing, Experimental Drawing, Photography, Oil Painting, Printmaking, Ceramics, Sculpture, Digital Art and Art History. Students are also welcome to come and use the facilities to pursue their own projects during evening Prep sessions  or on a Sunday afternoon.

Each year the Art Department runs two school wide Art competitions which attract a lot of interest. Winning entries are exhibited and the standard is always extremely high. This year we are running a photography competition in the Lent term and a drawing competition in the Summer term.

Art is a very popular subject at GCSE and A Level and many students progress to Art Foundations and Art related degree subjects each year. Those who have opted for Art are expected to sign up for at least one weekly Art activity and are encouraged to use the studios and library as much as they want at other times. Each Year group participates in an Art trip or Art workshop, to widen their knowledge of artists, materials and processes.

The Sixth Form have their own dedicated Sixth Form studio and many of them make it their second home. They are also involved in curating a programme of Exhibitions during the year both within the school and at local venues. We have recently created a Sixth Form Art Society, run by and for the students, which will invite visiting speakers and artists, meet to watch films and documentaries and engage with the local artistic community, visiting exhibitions and studios. For the first time this year some students will be participating in ARTiculation, a prestigious nationwide competition for students to choose and make a presentation about a work of Art. Those selected from the school will proceed to the regional finals (held last year at The Baltic Art Centre in Newcastle) and if successful there, to Cambridge University for the National Finals.

Aims of the Department: 

  • We seek to give our students knowledge of making and appreciation of visual language, culture and heritage. 
  • We seek to enable our students to grow as imaginative creators of their own art and to develop an informed and critical understanding of the history of art and architecture.