Visual Arts

/Visual Arts
Visual Arts 2018-03-29T09:27:21-05:00

Visual Arts Department

The visual arts program at Pius XI Catholic High School is recognized for its excellence both regionally and nationwide.

Students who graduate with courses in this program regularly continue onto the finest arts colleges in the country, including Rhode Island School of Design, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and more.

“Learning to think creatively in one discipline opens the door to understanding creative thinking in all disciplines. We believe it is the creative thinkers among us who will become the visionaries of tomorrow.”
Pat Frederick, Visual Arts Faculty

Studying the visual arts in high school allows students to develop a positive way to express themselves and grow as global citizens. Our students are consistently recognized with numerous awards, including the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Visual Arts Program is Intentionally Designed to:

  • Help students recognize that art is primarily a means of communication.
  • Empower students with the ability to communicate visually with honesty and accuracy by giving them the necessary thinking and technical skills to discover their own voice.
  • Help students to respond thoughtfully, analytically, sensitively and critically to the voice of others.
  • Help students interact intelligently and responsibly with a culture that is increasingly becoming more visually adept.
  • Encourage students to formulate their own problems and to work independently.

Tradition of Excellence

  • Pius XI visual art scholars are routinely offered more than $3 million in college scholarships each year.
  • In an era of diminishing resources when many schools are reducing or eliminating the arts, our commitment to the “artist-scholar” remains unwavering.
  • The program has produced five Presidential Scholars and numerous merit and scholarship awards through the YoungArts Competition (ARTS), the nation’s most prestigious art award.
    • In the past eight years alone, we have had 11 YoungArts National Finalists, as well as seven National Scholastic Arts Portfolio Gold Medal winners, and more than 100 National Scholastic Silver Portfolio Winners.
  • The quality of instruction by the art faculty has been recognized by invitation to the White House five times since 1995, has been recognized for excellence by the Education Department of Harvard University and the International Network of Performing and Visual Arts Schools, and has been the subject of two doctoral dissertations.
  • Pius XI graduates pursuing post-secondary education in art can be found in some of the country’s most prestigious art programs including Art Center, The Rhode Island School of Design, the Maryland Institute College of Art, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Washington University, and Tufts University.

Visual Arts Faculty

Catherine Burnett
Catherine BurnettDepartment Chairperson
National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), B.S., UW-LaCrosse
Anne Dretzka
Anne DretzkaArt Faculty
B.F.A., UW-Whitewater
Patricia Frederick
Patricia FrederickArt Faculty
M.F.A., The Maryland Institute College of Art, B.A., St. Norbert College

Craig Gyland
Craig GylandArt Faculty
B.A., UW-Whitewater
Kevin Jennings
Kevin JenningsArt Faculty
B.F.A., Maryland Institute College of Art
Mark Mulhern
Mark MulhernArt Faculty
M.F.A., UW-Madison, B.F.A., Layton School of Design

Will Swenson
Will SwensonArt Faculty
B.F.A., Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
Devan Schneider
Devan SchneiderArt Faculty
B.F.A. UW-Milwaukee

Pius XI offers an exceptional educational experience grounded in four core pillars of excellence

• Living the Faith
• College-Ready Academics
• Renowned Arts Program
• Winning Athletics

Award-winning faculty are scholars in their own right and committed to student success

• 100+ courses
• 12 Advanced Placement classes
• Customized Tailored Curriculum
• Engage students in intellectual dialogue
• Cultivating lifelong learning

Pius XI is a warm and welcoming community of global learners

• Diverse, International Community
• Broad World Perspective
• Academic Prowess
• Respect and Dignity of Others
• Deep Appreciation of Peers

Upon graduation, our students are prepared with life skills to succeed

• 93% of Pius XI graduates continue their education at a four-year university or college
• After attaining a Bachelors degree, 32% of grads will pursue an advanced degree
• Pius XI grads have been chosen by every Ivy League and Big 10 School