New Visual Arts and Design Teacher and Program at High Point

Published : Wednesday, October 24, 2018 | 1:10 PM

Introducing Mr. Zack Davis

This year High Point Academy welcomed Mr. Zack Davis as the new Fine Arts Teacher at High Point Academy. Mr. Davis was a faculty member in the Art Department at the Browning School, a K-12 independent school in Manhattan, for seven years. Maintaining a professional art practice for over 15 years has provided Mr. Davis the tools to successfully translate his production and exhibition experience into a diverse art program. Formally trained in ceramics and sculpture, Mr. Davis’ skill set is built on measurable expertise in both 2D and 3D materials and processes. Mr. Davis has a Master of Fine Arts degree Claremont Graduate University and was a teaching fellow at the Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts.


Mr. Davis was on sabbatical from August 2017- August 2018. During this time, he researched and lectured on the non-invasive use of technology in the classroom geared toward fine art faculty. Some highlights of his studies include:

• Studied how tech is changing the way art is created and shared by students, which challenges art programs to remain current and relevant.
• Explored promoting the simultaneous use of both low-fi and high fi methods to benefit the teaching and learning experience.
• Designed and conducted a Lecture/Workshop on the subject to a group of professors in the Fine Arts Dept. at Palomar College in San Diego, CA. He` touched on helpful tech tools, browser-based modeling and design, and maker spaces.
• Discovered tremendous potential for developing curricula for K-12 programs.

He spent 7 months in Argentina, making pots, and generally living which he remarks,

“…was a real language immersion experience, and inspired me to begin to research potential overlap in regard to Fine Arts and Foreign Language education.”

Mr. Davis lived and worked at the Alfareria Iriarte, a rustic ceramics factory and store in the province of Cordoba, Argentina. Alfareria Iriarte is owned and run by Mr. Davis’ wife’s family. There he produced a body of functional and decorative wares. He also engaged in language immersion which inspired current interest in working with foreign language teachers on finding crossover potential between the way visual and audible communications are taught.

Mr. Davis is married to Judith Iriarte-Davis, a professional potter who spent over a decade working for high-end designers as a production potter and private instructor in NYC. Mrs. Iriarte-Davis has been working in ceramics since her early childhood, co-operating her family’s business in Cordoba, Argentina. Since returning to California, Mr. and Mrs. Davis are setting up a new studio for future production in Eagle Rock.

A fun note Mr. Davis shared:

“My wife and I met at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in NYC while collaborating on a project that was a component of my residency in their Open Studios Program.”

For more information and to view some of his art, please visit his website:

High Point Academy

Mr. Zack Davis is bringing a new focus to the art program at High Point Academy. The Fine Arts and Design curriculum will encourage the development of artistic behaviors, including but not limited to, creative thinking, problem solving, and innovation. The program provides students with a working studio space that emphasizes materials, process, and content as a means to observe, imagine, and create. Beginning in kindergarten and continuing on through the middle school years, students are guided through hands-on, project-based experiences that explore drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, collage and computer aided design. Recognizing that every grade level is the best at handling materials and comprehending subjects in unique ways, the curricular structure is sequential, and built on a series of cohesive units that draw on age specific strengths.

Throughout the course of the year, students are regularly presented with age appropriate opportunities to experience transdisciplinary themes through the study of different historically significant and contemporary artists as well as cultures and artistic traditions. Equal emphasis is placed on process and product, which gives students room to be creative and to gain experience in presenting finished works of art and design.

The junior high curriculum is built on a combination of traditional fine arts, design, craft and architecture. Students will have access to a series of course offerings, which are designed to reinforce and build upon skills acquired in the lower school. Courses will include a mix of traditional drawing, 3D modeling (sculpture and assemblage), and CAD methods. Students will explore both the practical and the artistic use of the design process. Units are structured to employ the elements and principles of design and to develop an understanding of both functional and decorative outcomes. All classes will be taken through a series of historically relevant lectures, group design challenge exercises and critiques, which focus on materials, process, and content.

Pictures of the Future

Mr. Davis engaged the 7th and 8th graders during their art enrichment class. Design students participated in 3D scanning using an iPad mounted scanner and engaged in a modeling exercise using browser-based modeling software, SculptGL. While modeling a chair inspired form, students shared discoveries live on the SMART Board about the different features involved with the software. Simultaneously, each student’s portrait was scanned by a fellow student.

Mr. Stern, High Point’s Head of School, joined in the fun and volunteered to be scanned by a student, as well as receive a student-lead crash course in the process. The busts of the scans will be processed, and students will have the opportunity to manipulate the forms using the modeling software.


High Point Academy, 1720 Kinneloa Canyon Road, Pasadena, (626) 798-8989 or visit









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