The art room is a well-equipped, exciting and fun place for all pupils to work. Having said this, art is taken seriously at Caldicott and is pursued by many to a high standard, with the best boys securing scholarships or exhibitions to their public schools. Every boy receives a double lesson of art each week, in a large well-lit space, during which he follows a progressive and challenging course. The art room never closes, so there are plenty of opportunities during the school day for boys to pop in and talk to members of the department, check their work, or even make a greetings card or poster. They have access to a great many subject specific books, covering all aspects and periods of art, ten networked computers, an iMac, scanner and high definition digital project, which they may use for their work or research purposes. In the evening the art room is a lively, welcoming space with background music, in which boarders can advance their artwork or pursue an associated hobby; it is a great source of pleasure for the boys who choose to use the facility. In addition to this there are weekly meetings of the Junior Art Club and Senior Art Club, and periodically the Caldicott Art Society will initiate a group project or event.
In principle the subject enables boys to use a combination of information, knowledge, creativity and practical skills to create images and objects that relate to a wide range of human issues, needs and experiences. These may be used to impart ideas, record events, or used to improve the aesthetic or practical quality of everyday products and esoteric objects. As a result the work may be sensually pleasing or intellectually challenging. In practical terms art is essentially an experiential activity; at Caldicott it is no less so and we aim to develop every pupils' capability to create things that relate to them, but also to the world around them. To this end, the department runs at least six educational visit every year to see important temporary exhibitions and view the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery, Tate Britain, Victoria and Albert Museum, Royal Academy, and Tate Modern.
The department is committed to enlightening boys to the fact that the subject affects many aspects of their lives, by turning their attention to the evidence around them. The existence of an artistic timeline serves well; by examining past achievements, observing current activity and discussing likely future developments in the art world, we highlight the possibilities open to all pupils. Through this study and practical activity the boys gain enjoyment, satisfaction and often an immense sense of achievement, laying the foundations of what we hope will be a lifelong appreciation of the subject.