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explore our CAMPUS

What's cool about our campus is that it's spread out over seven acres in Philadelphia's historic neighborhood of Germantown. The buildings are an eclectic mix of old and new, a unique look and feel more consistent with a college campus. With three gyms, three auditoriums, a student center, numerous open, green spaces and nine classroom buildings, it's a place worthy of adoration and exploration. The Meetinghouse, at the center of it all, provides a beautiful and spiritual focal point.

1. Main Building 2. Meetinghouse 3. Sharpless 4. Hargroves 5. Wade Science Center 6. Alumni Building 7. Admissions 8. Living Graveyard 9. Dead Graveyard 10. Loeb Performing Arts Center 11. Smith Gym 12. Cary Building 13. Friends Free Library 14. Field House 15. Scattergood Gym

we have deep roots in this place

Values Container

The Pillars of A

Quaker Education

At GFS, students and teachers gather in Meeting for Worship once each week. This is a time for shared, silent contemplation. Anyone who feels moved to speak may rise and do so. It is a simple formula, and can be a remarkably powerful experience.In these days of constant connectivity, the ability and opportunity to sit in silence have special value. Meeting for Worship is a cornerstone of the GFS culture that many come to cherish throughout their lives.

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speak the truth

We strive to deal fairly, equally and honestly with everyone. We aim to do as we say, reflecting our beliefs in our actions. even when it is inconvenient or challenging, we stand by our convictions, striving to lead lives of integrity.

Shine Together

We are all blessed with remarkable gifts. We are equally qualified to seek truth and to hear the voice of God. Every person deserves equal respect. For these reasons, we work against prejudice and discrimination and for equality.

stay connected

"Alone we can do little; together we can do so much."* We know there is strength in cooperation and wisdom to be found when many perspectives come together. We believe in the power of community.*
The words of Helen Keller.

keep it simple

In every way we can, we try to minimize the distractions that can draw our attention from the important things in life. This means not becoming overwhelmed by the busyness of daily routine. It means seeking balance. It means embracing simplicity.

care for all

This planet we inhabit, the talents we've been given, the community of which we are a part- all hold remarkable value. We must be responsible, imaginative and proactive in protecting these gifts and caring for the world and people around us. We must exercise good stewardship.

promote peace

We believe each life is precious and unique. We stand against war and violence and work to eliminate their root causes, including ignorance, racism, hatred and oppression. We are committed to creating peace.

  • Truth
  • Shine
  • Connected
  • Simple
  • Care
  • Peace

Faces Container


Edit in Media Manager


The Upper School Art Program provides depth and breadth—students are introduced to appropriate skills and concepts that gradually build in complexity. Through the exploration of various materials and media, students investigate formal and conceptual issues with increasing independence. We are concerned not only with the making of art but also with the development of critical thinking, visual literacy and art history awareness. Using a problem-solving format, criteria are first presented and examined, and then students develop individual solutions to answer assigned problems creatively. Each assignment culminates in a group critique in which students use appropriate visual arts language to inform their critical thinking. Students learn to recognize quality and to appreciate the uniqueness and diversity of effective responses.

A Note on Making an Art Major

An Art Major is comprised of two art minors taken simultaneously. These two courses make up an Art Major. At course sign-up, students in grades 10-12 wishing to create an Art Major should select their two minors and also select ART790 Art Major.


ART310 Foundation
minor elective | grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
This course is designed to introduce and investigate visual concepts. These concepts of 2D and 3D composition include line, plane, negative/positive space, perspective, color, value and figure/ground. Each unit of study is tailored to build technical skill and theoretical understanding, as well as to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills regardless of prior experience. Through critiques, students learn to use a visual vocabulary to analyze formal issues. Successful completion of this course is a prerequisite for Photography I & II, Drawing and Painting, Color & Design, 3-Dimensional Art, Digital Collage, Mixed Media Animation, Senior Studio, and yearbook layout.

ART830 Color & Design
minor elective | grades: 10, 11, 12
prerequisite: Foundation

In this course, students concentrate on how color and design can be used to describe and communicate ideas through visual means. We investigate color as it can be used emotionally and psychologically for practical and poetic ends. Students will study layout and design, using elements of realistic and abstract form. Assignments emphasize creative problem solving and varying conceptual exercises, the solutions to which may be used for school publications. Multiple techniques and media will be used including collage, drawing, painting and digital media. Skill development will underlay all of our study. Because space is limited, students electing this course should specify a 2nd/3rd art course choice when they sign up. Enrollment limited to 12 students per section.

ART840 Drawing & Painting
minor elective | grades: 10, 11, 12
prerequisite: Foundation

The year will begin with drawing. We will define drawing in many ways, from the observed and structural to the expressive and conceptual. A variety of media will be introduced throughout the course. Painting will follow as a natural outgrowth, with a focus on color, value and materials. There will be continual emphasis on the traditional subjects of figure, landscape, and still life, as well as on the first steps the young artist takes in finding their own subjects and style. Enrollment limited to 12 students per section.

ART880 Creative Furniture Making
minor elective | grades: 10, 11, 12
prerequisite: Foundation

This class will focus on creative furniture making. Students will learn traditional woodworking techniques while practicing discipline, patience, and problem-solving skills. With a strong emphasis on safety, students will develop a practical understanding of hand tools and learn to operate a table saw, band saw, miter saw, routing table, and power tools. Students will first learn about joinery focusing on the mortise and tenon followed by designing and creating a scale drawing. Students will undertake a major furniture project determined by their interests and skills. Class is limited to ten students.

ART810 3-Dimensional Art
minor elective | grades: 10, 11, 12
prerequisite: Foundation

This studio course is an introduction to three-dimensional design. Emphasis is placed on creatively solving problems and communicating ideas through the use of numerous materials in a “learn-by-doing” process. The willingness to take technical and conceptual risks is essential to the course. Each project will begin with drawing to guide students thinking of formal considerations. Historical and contemporary art and design will inform thinking and strategies. As the year progresses, projects will become more complex and students will be afforded opportunities for experimentation and personal expression. Because space is limited, students electing this course should specify a 2nd /3rd art course choice when they sign up. Enrollment limited to 12 students per section.

ART860 Digital Collage
minor elective | grades: 10, 11, 12
prerequisite: Foundation

This digital lab course introduces the computer as an artistic tool for drawing, painting and collage. We will take advantage of aspects that are unique to digital drawing, such as layering, scaling, the incorporation of photography, and working with states of revision. This course is about expanding the narrative possibilities of image-making through contemporary processes of edition and image construction using Photoshop and Illustrator. Students will be exposed to advanced methods of editing still and moving images, video and animation. Because space is limited, students electing this course should specify a 2nd/3rd art course choice when they sign up. Enrollment limited to 12 students per section.

ART850 Photography I
minor elective | grades: 11, 12
prerequisite: Foundation

This is an introductory course that explores the technical and aesthetic possibilities of the photograph. Students will first master the skills of black-and-white darkroom photography; an introduction to digital images and alternative photographic processes will follow. Throughout the course, attention will be paid to the content and composition of photographs, as students solve problems in portraiture, documentary, studio photography and social commentary. There is a lab fee of $100 for this course. A limited number of school cameras are available for students on an as-needed basis. Because space is limited, students electing this course should specify a 2nd/3rd art course choice when they sign up. Enrollment limited to 12 students per section.

ART920 Photo II: The Journey Continues
minor elective | Grade 12
prerequisite: Photography I

The Journey Continues provides students the opportunity to grow as artists. Building on their foundational knowledge in the darkroom and the digital lab, students will explore new creative approaches to the medium and learn advanced technical skills as they experiment with light and ways of seeing. As students build their photographic portfolios, they will look critically not only at their own work but also at the work of renowned photographers. The Journey Continues classroom provides students their own computers and workspace, offering them the time, space, and occasion to organize their portfolios for the college admissions process. At the end of the year, each student will create a final presentation in a form of their own choosing.

ART610 Senior Studio: Advanced
major elective | grade: 12
prerequisite: Foundation plus one of the following: Drawing & Painting; Color & Design; Digital Collage; Photography or 3-Dimensional Art. Drawing & Painting, and Art History are strongly recommended as preparation; departmental approval required

This advanced studio course stresses the development of technical and aesthetic skills, and the development of original, personal vision. Both classical and contemporary approaches to visual arts will receive attention with particular emphasis on personal expression through the synthesis of formal considerations. Other areas of study include color theory, abstraction, observational, conceptual, and narrative work. Guidance and support is provided for the preparation of a strong portfolio for college admissions. Regular homework and some reading and critical writing are required. Enrollment limited to 12 students per section, and will be determined by a portfolio evaluation plus one directed assignment.

ART870 Mixed-Media Animation
minor elective | grades: 10, 11, 12
prerequisite: Foundation

This course introduces students to a variety of traditional and contemporary techniques in animation. Looking at examples of animations in art and film, as well as nonfiction topics such as science and history, students will learn hand-drawn, stop-motion and digital methods for making their own animations. Story building will be key in developing ideas for production. Students will also learn to edit the animations and incorporate sound effects and music. Throughout the course, students will produce a series of short animated sequences using a variety of techniques, themes, and media as they explore how these choices impact their stories. These works will build to one or more major projects. An historical overview and international perspective are provided through film screenings and group discussion, and students will review and discuss current trends in animation. Enrollment limited to 12 students per section.

ART731 Art History: The Individual and Society
minor elective | grades: 10, 11, 12
prerequisite: Foundation

In Art History we will use the structure of themed inquiry to look at western and non-western art across history. Artworks will be studied through the lens of “The Individual and Society,” allowing students to explore the role of art in the making, changing, and maintaining the elements of society and how this impacts the human experience across various cultures and periods of history. The themes that will be examined under this lens will be: Patronage and Commerce in Art, Sacred Spaces, Art as Resistance, Gender in Art, and the Role of the Audience in Art.

The major goal of this course is to give students a grounding in looking at art and making sense of what they see. As they learn the skills of observation, analysis, and interpretation, students examine the stylistic, iconographic and technical development of architecture, painting, sculpture, and craft art.

Themes will be on a two-year rotation, allowing students to take the course twice. Art History: Nature, Spirit, and Religion will be offered in 2020-21.