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Create Beyond Limits

Welcome to the Stage

The Transformative Power of Art

At Pingry, we believe that the best education happens when our imagination is valued and creativity is recognized as a path to open-minded thinking and critical analysis. Our community brings together actors, filmmakers, fine artists, graphic designers, singers, instrumentalists, photographers, journalists, publishers and beyond to form an inspiring, dynamic sense of creativity. This is when deep, thoughtful, artistic learning occurs. 

Visual Arts

The visual arts—they affect us personally, socially, and culturally. At Pingry, we seek to help students explore this pervasive media through wide exposure, critical examination, and age-appropriate curricula. Our courses are carefully designed to help students discover their talents and find their voice.

Our facilities are state-of-the art. On the Lower Campus, students work in two renovated studios. At the Basking Ridge campus, they enjoy the resources housed in the beautiful Hostetter Arts Center, completed in 2003. And for Upper School photography students and Middle School studio labs participants, the main campus building is the center of activity.

 

 

Visual Arts

Visual Arts Courses

AP Art History

This course prepares students for the newly designed Advanced Placement exam. It emphasizes understanding works in their cultural context and making thematic connections across cultures. The thematic approach to the study of art provides fresh ways of looking at art and often inspires class discussion. When analyzing works of art, students think critically about form, content, context, and function. 

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Advanced Topics in Art

The serious art student at an advanced level may choose to undertake an individual art project under the direction of a member of the art faculty. Project content, meeting times, and deadlines will be established on an individual basis to best accommodate and support the learning process. This course provides a suitable working environment for the highly motivated student.

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Portfolio Development

This course is designed for the serious art student who has mastered basic art skills and is interested in producing a substantial body of work. Emphasis is placed on developing a portfolio, which may be used for college admission or to support an application. Students will work both independently and collaboratively employing the different disciplines and the multitude of intersections of various media in contemporary art.

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Drawing & Painting

Independent thinking and thoughtfully considered self-expression are emphasized in this course. Students will return to the touchstone of drawing, with regular drawing assignments scheduled throughout the year. Watercolor, mixed media, and collage are examples of methods and media that will be introduced and explored in depth. Working with multiple images, digital technology, and various other nontraditional media will give students more resources and more freedom to create work that meets a high standard of original and critical expression.

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Environmental Art

This year-long Environmental Art course introduces students to art that first gained international attention in the 1960s and has since become a significant art practice. Students will explore the possibilities for using natural and recycled materials found on campus to make art with an emphasis on site-specific sculpture. Pingry has almost two hundred acres that provide easily harvested clay, wood, and stone with which to build sculptures. Interdisciplinary projects with Environmental Science, Environmental History, and Creative Writing classes will be emphasized.

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Photography

Students will study photography as an art form and learn to incorporate individuality and the principles of design into their work. Students learn to use a 35mm camera and gain the necessary technical skills for developing and printing. The history of photography is introduced and students are exposed to the rich, innovative uses of photography in contemporary global discourse.

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Art Fundamentals: 2D & 3D Design

This introduction to the principles of two-dimensional and three-dimensional design enables students to develop a critical visual vocabulary, and this course encourages them to begin to develop their own artistic voice.

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Clayworking

Art forms which may be executed in clay may range from two-dimensional, through reliefs and murals, to the full three-dimensional forms of sculpture and art pottery. Wheel-throwing and hand-building are taught, using stoneware and porcelain clays and glazes fired in both oxidation and reduction.

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Painting of sunbathers on the beach.
Painted portrait of girl looking at viewer with degrading words written on top of her and the background.
Painting of couple walking under a red umbrella in Paris with Eiffel Tower behind them.
Sketched portrait of man staring intensely.
Mixed media piece of fishbowl being dumped out.
Mixed media painting of man holding arm up.
Painting of woman with head piece sitting
Mixed media piece of person walking.
Painting of lion head with patterns over it.
Colorful painting of lion head wearing a top hat
Sketched portrait of girl smiling at camera
Sketched portrait of man looking at camera
Sketched portrait of Sage Dining chef
Sketched portrait of woman holding hat.
Abstract painting with blue background and orange hued waves with white vertical lines
Sketched portrait of woman smiling at camera
Portrait of singer Brendon Urie
Pencil drawing of human/dragon eye with scales
Painting of man imitating %22hear no evil%22 hand gesture.
Sketch of skull of desert animal with branch growing out of it.
Painting of abstract pattern.
Painting of boy and Winnie the Pooh facing away from each other with bubbles in the background.
Colorful, painted portrait of Jake Ross.
Sketched portrait of Lydia Gargano
Water color painting of woods with silhouette of figure with axe.

 


 

Film Production

Editing & Filmmaking

Filmmaking has no limitations or box you have to fit into. There are no right or wrong answers, only different ways to tell a story. I can choose the shots, colors, and sounds that I think convey certain emotions, but the real meaning of a film is up to the audience, and I think that’s the best part of filmmaking.”

-Anthony Truncale, 2023 All American High School Film Festival Nominee.

 

Picture of central park in the rain with young boy on scooter, riding by photographer.
Image of colorful, blurry city lights
Side view image of pink flower with some downturned petals
Image of girl smiling at the camera with her hair flipped up
Image of girls flipping hair up
Image of sunset shot in reflection of car side mirror.
Image of pomegranate on black background
Image of pine cone in the forest
Close up image of slinky
Black and white image of bicycle rack with shadows.
Silhouette of girl slightly illuminated by blue light outlining her head.
Image of bicycle sculptures with red light blaring in a city landscape
Black and white image of children's swing set.
Girls sitting back to back and looking away
Mixed media image of a man sitting in a restaurant, alone
Black and white image of girl looking at reflection and reflection looking back at her
Black and white image of full-petaled flowers.
Image of burnt light bulbs
Image of hand reaching out of a hedge, close to touching another hedge
Black and white image of overlapping lines at a considerable depth
Image of men waiting at a food stand in a city at night
Black and white picture of man sitting and reading a book beside large bags of spices

 


Performing Arts

To some, theatre is simply a form of entertainment. But at Pingry, we pride ourselves on using theatre as a way to connect our students to the world around them, helping them to become better people and better citizens. Drama at Pingry encourages genuine personal interactions and truthful moments, allowing actors to open their eyes to the lives of others, to walk in their shoes, and to listen to and respect their voices. As we like to say, the character that a Pingry student portrays onstage ultimately helps to develop their character offstage.
 

Performing Arts

Performing Arts Courses

Introduction to Acting

Introduction to Acting is a course that uses character/scene improvisation, as well as the exercises and techniques of Sanford Meisner to develop the actor’s basic resources: imagination, listening, concentration, and “truthfulness.” 

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Creative Dramatics

Creative Dramatics is a workshop course that uses drama as a means of developing creativity and other personal resources. A problem is posed or an “inspiration” is given to the students, which must ultimately result in them developing a short play. 

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Theatrical Design and Technology

The Theatrical Design & Technology course is a year-long, studio experience that explores the methodology and practice of contemporary scenic, costume, and lighting design. This comprehensive introduction covers the skills and techniques needed to conduct research, design space, serve character, and express nuance found in dramatic literature through personal point-of-view, response, and script analysis. The course will also serve as an introduction to the various techniques and workflows available for supporting the design process including: drafting, rendering, fabrication, and scale model making.

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Advanced Acting

Advanced Acting is a course in scene study. Students will research a topic, create a script, and memorize and rehearse the play, making adjustments using the criticism of the class. Finally, the original play will be taken “on the road” to local elementary or middle schools in the surrounding area for performances.

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Creative Dance & Movement

This course is open to anyone who loves to move. Whether you are a trained dancer, an athlete, or someone who locks the door and poses in front of the mirror, this course will develop the dancer in you. They explore dance in terms of body parts and shape, energies, actions, space, and relationships. They incorporate these values into choreographed warm-ups, guided movement explorations, and group improvisations. The year culminates in a formal dance showing by student choreographers with costume, music, and movement all selected by the students.

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Technical Theatre

Technical Theatre will provide a look into the backstage workings of theatre by exploring lights, sound, and set design. Students can expect to leave the class with a firm grasp of analyzing a script for author intention, setting, and tone, as well as, a practical understanding of how to design and implement technical theatre elements.

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Play Production

Play Production is a course/production gives students a chance to explore a character from beginning (development) to end (performance), develop a logical storyline through scene work, watch it unfold, and give meaning to the process. It is a highly charged class that demands energy, intellectual effort, and culmination of years of effort and skills.

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Upper school actor holding arms up in triumph, performing in Peter and the Starcatcher.
Upper school boy standing above his fellow actors, performing in Peter and the Starcatcher.
Boy holding up a phone to a boy playing guitar in the upper school winter musical Rent.
Our Town play
Two high school students in Almost Maine play
Pingry Upper School students perform %22The Addams Family%22 musical.
Three students performing in the drama assembly
Boy and girl performing at Drama II Assembly.
Romankow teaching drama

 


Past Musical Productions

Pingry students with a desire to perform onstage have several opportunities throughout the year for enriching theatrical experiences. Explore our past productions showcasing our Drama students and their unforgettable performances.

"Peter and the Starcatcher" by Rick Elice

 

"Antigone" by Sophocles

"The Addams Family" by Marshall Brickman

Music

At Pingry, we believe that music is an indispensable part of a well-rounded education. With that in mind, we offer students the opportunity to study vocal and instrumental music as well as music theory, addressing the needs of both experienced and experimental musicians through individualized and group instruction.

We believe that a strong foundation in the classic repertoire not only allows students to experience musical performance with greater understanding, but also encourages them to explore other musical styles and textures. Our performance classes expose students to classical, traditional, world, folk, jazz, musical theater, a cappella, and popular/contemporary repertoire.

Music

Music Department Courses

Wind Orchestra

Wind Orchestra is comprised of all woodwind (flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, bassoon, etc.), brass (trumpet, trombone, french horn, tuba, etc.), and percussion (timpani, bass drum, mallets, etc.) instrumentalists. The Wind Orchestra performs works from various musical periods while focusing on the vast repertoire for symphonic bands.

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String Orchestra

The String Orchestra is comprised of all string players. Musical skills are refined by the preparation and performance of challenging repertoire ranging from Baroque through Romantic. The String Orchestra and the Wind Orchestra both perform at all major concerts during the year.

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Jazz Ensemble

A class for moderate to advanced players comprising a band of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, piano, bass, drums, and guitar. The main emphasis in Jazz Ensemble is on ensemble interpretation and performance. Through rehearsal, performance, and study of various arrangements from the jazz repertoire, the student will learn the musical vocabulary necessary to play swing and to improvise. 

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Buttondowns/Balladeers

In this ensemble, students work with equally motivated peers to achieve excellence in the performance of choral music. A wide variety of literature is studied with the aim of learning many styles of music: classical, traditional, folk, world, jazz, musical theater, and popular a cappella music. Through intensive rehearsals and performances, students develop and refine their vocal abilities, sight-singing skills and sense of ensemble. 

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Students sings solo during the Pingry Buttondowns Concert
Lower school girl singing, in costume, at musical
Alex Wong playing piano with Dr. Igor Jasinki watching in the MS Atrium

 


Hostetter Arts Center Gallery

"Endless Second Chances" is currently on view in the Hostetter Arts Center Gallery through May 26, 2024. The exhibition features work by alumni artist Joanne Steinhardt ’84. 

Painting of a woman with eyes closed
Poster for the Hostetter Arts Gallery Haunted Terrain Exhibit
Sculptures by Jamie Levine
Poster for the Sarah Kurz Virtual Art Gallery
Metallic sculptural art piece and abstract black and red art piece.
Statue from the Haunted Terrain Exhibit
Student photography on display.
Compilation of photos of Pingry visual arts faculty
Poster of Peter Delman's art show in the Hostetter Art Gallery
23rd annual student photo exhibit poster
Rich Freiwald's Exhibit in the Hostetter Art Gallery: Just Clay
Alumni art exhibition poster for Hostetter Art Gallery of MJ Tyson '04 and Dwight Hiscano '80.
Peter Delman's painting of a woman painted in blue with other women standing behind her painted in red

Upcoming Arts Events

 


Pingry Artists

Our Pingry alumni are some of the most dedicated and sought-after professionals in art, music, drama and design today. From award-winning ad campaigns and innovative architectural designs, their work can be found in every corner of the globe. Here’s a small sampling of some of their recent accomplishments.

Class of 2023

Last spring, Sejal Patel '23 gained acceptance to the New Jersey Music Educators Association (NJMEA) Honor Choir. In fact, she earned the second highest score. It was another achievement in her steadily developing resumé as a skilled choral performer, which also includes being one of just three Pingry freshmen to make the cut for the Balladeers, the School's female a cappella group.

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Class of 2019

As a sophomore, Brandon Spellman ’19 had trouble locating Pingry’s clayworking studio. By junior year, he was spending most of his flex and conference periods there, soaking in the knowledge of Upper School visual arts teacher Mr. Richard Freiwald. A lover of the visual arts from a young age, Brandon had never been exposed to clay until he arrived at Pingry. Mr. Freiwald’s studio ignited a passion. “Frei’s style is to give you an entire room of materials and, combined with his knowledge, you can make whatever you want, in whatever medium you want—glasswork, metalcasting, throwing on pottery wheels, sculpting, slip casting. My favorite part of class is just getting to try all he has to offer.

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Class of 2023

Inspired by his father, also a cellist, Caleb began playing in the Lower School band in Grade 3. It was his first experience playing in a group, and he was hooked, he recalls. He went on to perform in the Middle School orchestra, and now, as a rising freshman, looks forward to collaborating with Upper School cellists and playing in the high school orchestra. One of his favorite musical initiatives at Pingry: a few years ago, he teamed up with two friends, both violinists, to create the Ace Trio; they still perform at parties and community service events

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Class of 2021

When asked about her sources of artistic inspiration and influence, Ariel Li ’21 cites her mother, a dentist, who has always loved to draw in her free time, and her great aunt, a professional artist in China. “Growing up, I saw my great aunt’s paintings around our house. I was just a baby when she came to visit us. She drew my portrait,” she recalls. Today, Ariel occasionally sends her aunt photographs of her own drawings—the protégé nodding to her master

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Class of 2021

Cal Mahoney’s passion for theater began to shine years ago, when they entered Pingry as a Grade 6 student and joined the ensemble of The Secret Garden. In Grade 7, they continued to assist in the school’s theatrical productions, as a member of the tech crew for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When given the opportunity to step into a leading role the following year, as Antonio in The Tempest, there was no turning back. “It was incredible—the lights, the set, the costumes. It really sparked something in me,” they say

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Class of 2020

In first grade, Josh Thau ’20 was an audience member, watching his fourth-grade sister perform in the Lower School play, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When he arrived home that afternoon, his message to his parents was clear. “Sign me up—I want to do that!” He would have to wait another year and a half for eligibility, but his Grade 3 debut was a memorable one, he recalls: he played a circus animal in Seussical, Jr

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Class of 2021

When a visiting artist treated Middle Schoolers to a sculpture workshop, introducing students to materials they hadn’t before worked with, aspiring artist Ajuné Richardson was inspired. Using pulp, wire, and dyes, she invented her own mixed media pizza. She recalls another visiting artist who taught her about larger scale projects—murals. “It’s great to be introduced to the work of other artists and exposed to different types of art,” she says. “I like to sketch with pencil and paper—it’s very simple—so I was pretty single-faceted before. I still love to sketch, but now I have a better appreciation of other approaches.

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Class of 2019

Katerina Deliargyris ’19 came to Pingry in Grade 6 via schools in Germany and, before that, Greece. A few of her new Pingry friends took part in the Middle School musical her first year, but drama wasn’t on her radar. “I thought, ‘Good for them. They’re doing their thing, but it’s not something I want to pursue.’” Then, the following year, she decided to give it a shot, and landed the role of Mrs. Oneeta Sengupta in Haroun and the Sea of Stories.
 

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Class of 2017

With the help of a few friends, Jesse McLaughlin '17 transformed the 1971 play, Cowboy Mouth, by Sam Shepard and Patti Smith, into a dance piece, and shared his staging with students and faculty at Rutgers' Mason Gross School of the Arts Theater Department, where he was a conservatory actor. "It was an exhilarating, breakneck process," he said. "But I found myself dissatisfied. My work with this piece was not over."

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Class of 2016

It is telling that, while at Pingry, TanTan Wang '16 was not only the face of the Buttondowns, but the iconoclast behind its smooth, high-level publicity movies. Head of the Student Tech Committee his senior year, he was also the very first student at Pingry to become an Apple Certified Mac Technician (he was given a small toolset by the Tech Department to celebrate the milestone). And the first student to launch a drone above Pingry's Basking Ridge Campus, capturing spectacular photos for the School's Communications Office. Thanks to interests cultivated at Pingry, technology and the arts have always been inseparable to him. When he got to Yale, he found the perfect, hybrid major: Computing and the Arts.

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Class of 2017

A mere two years out of Pingry, Chris Varvaro '17 is deftly balancing the demands of college, where he's a Music major at The College of William and Mary with his fast-rising career as a DJ and music producer. It's not the life of a typical college student, but Chris embraces "the hustle," as he calls it. (Worth noting: he's minoring in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at The Mason School of Business.) For a young adult aspiring to write and produce full-time, as well as travel on tour, he's making a pretty good start.

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Class of 2017 & 2019

Their equally outgoing personalities veil very different experiences in the dramatic arts at Pingry—whereas Katharine found her home on the stage, as actor, Allie has found hers behind it, as stage manager. Unifying them, however, is their passion for stagecraft, and the impact that the school’s drama program has had on them

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Class of 2012

Recipient of the 2011 Award for Outstanding Achievement in 3D Media-Sculpture and the 2012 Brendan J. Donahue ’79 Memorial Prize for Pottery, he was pretty sure sculpture was his thing. But then he realized, thanks to another class with Mr. Freiwald, that he really liked making jewelry as well, and the idea of making sculpture on the body. After many long days in Pingry’s studio and numerous conversations with his mentor, he was on a path to becoming a fashion designer.

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Class of 2015

“Pingry definitely helped me strengthen my ability and curiosity to learn about art,” she says. “I think I was really lucky with the art program. Compared to other schools, Pingry gives you access and exposure to a lot. It really introduced me to the art world.”

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Class of 2016

Wanting to enrich Pingry’s music experience for fellow students, in her junior year, Emily Kwon founded the school’s first chamber music quartet. It wasn’t as if she needed to pad a lean schedule. A violin player since age five, she was selected to New Jersey’s competitive regional and all-state orchestras as a first violin player for two consecutive years. She was also a member of various New Jersey Youth Symphony ensembles since Grade 3, not to mention a variety of Pingry instrumental ensembles since Grade 6.

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Class of 2013

During his senior year at Pingry, he was tapped to perform as Keith Urban’s keyboardist during the American Country Music Awards. Just after graduation, he joined guitar virtuoso Steve Vai on an international concert tour that took him to Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Thailand, all before he turned 19. And, during his sophomore year at USC’s Thornton School of Music, where he has been taught by music masters Patrice Rushen, Smokey Robinson, and John Fogerty, he appeared as a student musician on two episodes of the hit show Glee.

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Class of 2014

The recipient of Pingry’s top music honor, the Madeline Bristol Wild Music Prize, Camille is now happily immersed in the New Studio on Broadway program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Still, she returns to campus on occasion to ask Mr. Winston for his feedback on new pieces. “Without him, I wouldn’t have had the courage to break boundaries and immerse myself in the unknown.”

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Class of 2016

A "graduate" of three Pingry musicals and three plays, he has told many stories to many different audiences. Now, a performer at Franklin & Marshall College, where he is planning to double major in music and physics, he continues to pursue both his artistic and academic passions.

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Class of 2017

In eighth grade, Adam Present ’17 took an introductory film class with Ms. Sullivan. At the Upper School, he thought he would take photography, but on a whim ended up taking the Upper School film class with Ms. Sullivan as well. He grew to really like it. By his junior year he was taking a portfolio course with another key mentor, Mr. Boyd, and began working on more complex projects with a friend and fellow classmate. When Ms. Sullivan told them about the upcoming Montclair Film Festival, the two filmmakers submitted their latest finished work. Why not?
 

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Academics Program

A legacy of academic and personal excellence within an ethical framework of honor and respect. 

Athletics Program

Pingry student athletes succeed not just in a win, but in the effort and camaraderie, and step back on the field each day, ready to work.

Our Campuses

Explore our three campuses, each thoughtfully designed to provide a diverse range of educational experiences for every student.