Shops and Studios

  • Salt and Pepper Shakers
  • Metal Reindeer

“The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself.” Maria Montessori

"If you hang in there," says the great artist Chuck Close, "you will get somewhere."

Close is a famous "pop art" painter. Close's father died when he was just eleven. A few years later, Close was diagnosed with prosopagnosia, a neurological disorder that makes it extremely difficult to recognize faces (more about Close here.)

Close worked hard to overcome his challenges by focusing on portraits. Then, when he was in his late 40s, he became paralyzed from the neck down. Yet Close has continued to teach and to paint, creating some of his most important works to date with a brush strapped to his wrist and a special elevator-wheelchair. 

What Close knows and what we believe here at Dearborn is that for many people who face serious and even impossible challenges, art offers a way to move forward successfully, express your true self, and connect deeply with other people.

Art Works

Dearborn's arts and shop programs offers an outstanding program and has been commended by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The shops and studios help students gain technical and marketable skills, while providing them with important opportunities for self-expression. For some students whose school lives have been particularly frustrating, shops and studio play a critical role in helping students re-connect with the idea of school and learning.

All ninth and tenth grade students typically complete sessions in four different studios or shops: wood shop, metal shop, jewelry studio, and digital media studio. Shops and studios are held four times a week and last 45 minutes. In each rotation, students start with projects that help them master basic skills and safety, and advance to projects requiring master-level capabilities. Eleventh and twelfth grade students focus on a specific discipline. Interested students in all grades can also choose a shop or studio course as an elective.

Shops and Studios

At Dearborn we've seen how shop and studio experiences can dramatically improve students' self-esteem. Every semester, we see students develop passion and pride in their work and respect and appreciation for the work of others. Our arts and crafts sales at the end of each semester are capstone experiences where student artists are able to exhibit and sell their work to the public.

Many students gain enough expertise to transition successfully to post-secondary training and employment in their area of interest.

  • Wood Shop

    Students in the high school woodshop learn the basics of woodworking. After a comprehensive orientation on shop safety, students have at their disposal all the tools of the craftsman’s trade. One machine at a time, students acquire the skills necessary to become independent woodworkers. In addition to learning the safe use of power tools, students are exposed to modern work techniques that emphasize forward thinking and efficiency and the principles of the design/build process. Each student helps to form his or her assignments by choosing from a list of experience-appropriate project ideas. With the aid of source books for inspiration, students learn to communicate ideas effectively through sketches, shop drawings, and verbal descriptions. After completing a set of dimensioned drawings and a parts list, students put their preparations to the test by building what they have designed.
  • Metal Shop

    Metal shop introduces students to the fundamentals of welding and metalworking and includes hands-on training in oxyacetylene welding, MIG welding, TIG welding, ARC welding, torch cutting, plasma cutting and sheet metal fabrication. Students also learn the principles of metal fusion, identification of electrodes, identification of gasses and the various melting points of metal. Proper safety procedures and practices are always strictly enforced.
  • Jewelry Studio

    Jewelry studio focuses on the arts of adornment and fine metalwork. Students learn and eventually master new skills by practicing them on projects of their own design. Students with prior experience in silver-smithing and jewelry design are encouraged to build upon that foundation by learning more advanced techniques and honing their existing skills. 
  • DIgital Media Studio

    Students in our digital media studio get expert instruction and hands-on experience using software and computers to create short films, produce photography projects, write and record music, build websites, learn graphic design and create games and animation. 

Visit the Dearborn Academy online student gallery here.

Dearborn student artists are occasionally asked to produce work on commission. Please email inquires to Ben Feingold Thoryn.

For Dearborn Academy course descriptions, please download the course catalog.