Mr. Faus Reflects on Visual Arts

Staff Writer Sydney Goldstein sat down with Mr. Brad Faus, program director and instructor in art, to discuss his experiences with the visual art program and his vision for its future.

What prompted your interest in the school’s visual arts program?

Thirty-two years ago, Mrs. Faus and I were looking for a school with strong support for the arts programs across the curriculum. The department [here] was larger at that time, with three full-time faculty and two part-time faculty teaching ceramics and architecture.

What would you consider the best part of the art program? Are there any things you would like to see changed?

Maintaining enrollment is a constant pressure, especially as Hotchkiss has grown in size and expanded its offerings across the curriculum. Digital painting and drawing are areas [in which] we need to expand. We have students coming to us with interest and experience in digital media, and we need to do a better job serving their needs. We have a small digital media studio which serves this purpose at present. We [also] hope to continue to build our ceramics program and [perhaps] offer ceramics as an option [in] the Humanities program. Ms. Owen has done great work with the new ceramic studios and is actively growing the program. Our architecture class has embraced the EFX lab and [is] actively engaged with engineering and design projects. We use the laser cutter in the EFX lab for major projects. We have [also] been excited about the hiring of Mr. D’Ambrosio as our art history instructor, given his background and professional interest in the discipline.

How has the school’s art faculty and curriculum evolved over the years?

We are a smaller program these days and offer fewer sections of our courses, however, we recruit actively and have been able to attract students with strong interest and ability. We are a faculty of practicing artists, and this is an important aspect of our teaching and program. Mr. Noyes will retire [after] this year, and this marks a major change in our program, given his tenure. The most substantial change in our program [has been] the Humanities curriculum. It has made a positive difference in the quality of our 9th and 10th grade curriculum, as we include art historical research and idea development [in] the core of studio practice.

What do you like most about the new art wing? How has it added to the program?

The Cullman Art Center renovation has been a successful project, with the help of feedback and design recommendations from Mr. Noyes, Ms. Moore, Mr. D’Ambrosio, and Ms. Owen. Hotchkiss parents and architects Pilar Proffitt and Rob Bristow created a clean, contemporary design which not only supports our program but offers beautiful studio spaces. The use of a 126 year-old elm tree from campus for much of the wood furniture and the exterior patio space are distinctive elements of the design. Excellent storage, flexible spaces, power reels, and LED lighting meet all of our needs.