Art 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.
  • Be taking the four year sequential curriculum, students begin with a solid foundation in technical visual skills. Creative thinking skills are added gradually until students become adept at problem solving.
  • By senior year, our students have learned how to formulate their own problems and to work independently.
  • Most students begin their art studies at Pius XI with little or no art background.

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.

For a complete list of courses, access the Pius XI curriculum guide »

Art Faculty

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

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

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