Cushing is home to one of the most highly respected visual arts programs in secondary education, offering college-level instruction and exceptional equipment and facilities. We support many kinds of artistic expression, including:
glass: stained glass, fused glass, molded glass, and more
painting and drawing
pottery and sculpture
silversmithing and jewelry fabrication
Our courses are designed to encourage beginners, inspire advanced students, and challenge those who are working at the studio artist level. You will have opportunities to learn first-hand from talented faculty members and guest artists, while extending your studies through travel and off-campus experiences. Many of our best students exhibit their work—not just locally, but also in cities such as New York and London.
For students at every level, the Emily Fisher Landau Center for Visual Arts offers state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, including:
Pottery & Sculpture Studio with nine Brent wheels, slab roller, extruder, electric and raku kilns
Photography Studio with lab for developing black and white film and a group darkroom with 10 enlargers for students to make their own prints. Students studying digital photography use Macs, Photoshop, and professional Epson printers.
Art Studio (40’ x 80’) for painting and drawing
Silversmithing Studio for making jewelry, flatware, and hollowware—complete with an impressive collection of historic metalsmithing tools, some from the 1880s
Glass Studio for cutting glass, working with lead came, soldering, working with copper foil, painting on glass, and making glass jewelry
Many Cushing graduates have gone on to prestigious art schools and are enjoying professional careers in the arts—but we also welcome students who may follow a different path. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our program, we’d be happy to hear from you.
Robert Foster Johnson has been teaching visual arts at Cushing since 1973. He is a watercolorist, a stained glass artist, and a master silversmith and goldsmith. He is an honorary member of the Society of American Silversmiths and the Society of American Goldsmiths, and is a member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Mr. Johnson is the first holder of the Lilla M. Pond Faculty Chair for Excellence in Teaching. He has taught at the Fitchburg Art Museum, the Groton Center for the Arts, and the New Hampshire Conservatory of Art and Music. He was a consultant and designer for Mashco Imports of New Dehli, India, and taught private classes through the years. He has restored stained glass windows for many churches, and designed and created chalices for them as well. Mr. Johnson’s original paintings hang in collections throughout the world. He was the illustrator and photographer for “Beginning Bonsai: The Gentle Art of Miniature Tree Growing,” by Shirley and Larry Student. Mr. Johnson has conducted numerous seminars for schools, art centers, and organizations, including the 30th annual Yankee Dental Congress in 2005, when he presented lectures in both watercolor and silversmithing. He has conducted art enrichment trips to New Mexico with Cushing students.
Mr. Johnson lives off campus with his wife, Carolyn, who also works in the Visual Arts Department at Cushing. They have two daughters (both Cushing graduates) and three grandchildren.
Joan Sinatra Hathaway joined the faculty of Cushing Academy in 1997 to teach ceramics, photography, and art history. A graduate of University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she has operated Sunburst Pottery since 1974. In addition to being a studio potter, Mrs. Hathaway was also a Museum Educator at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and Director of the Museum School at the Fitchburg Art Museum in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. She produces her own work out of her home studio in Ashburnham which she shares with her husband and three sons. The studio is surrounded by 30 acres of beautiful landscape. Views of Mt. Monadnock and the ever-changing sunsets are inspiration for her work. She makes functional pottery for people to use in their homes on a daily basis. She hopes her pieces bring a little beauty and joy into the everyday lives of the people who use them. Her work can be found in the collections of fine kitchens nationwide.
Debbie Gardner is a teacher of Fine Arts at Cushing Academy. Originally from Utica, New York, she grew up spending hours at The Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Museum in that city. Family vacations largely revolved around visiting art galleries in New York and New England. Her life’s path initially led to a career in chemistry, with a specialty in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometry. Concurrent with this career and raising five children, she continued to grow as an artist, setting up a home studio, studying at local colleges and museums, working with local artists, and travelling to attend workshops and classes outside the area. By 2005, the transformation to full time artist/art teacher had been completed. In addition to teaching art at Cushing Academy Mrs. Gardner maintains a studio, Wild Wind Studios, in Ashburnham. She works in a variety of media including silversmithing, ceramics, watercolor, and oil painting, various fiber arts and photography. In addition to her strong focus on family and art, Mrs. Gardner enjoys working her small farm with horses, sheep, chickens, cats, a dog, and an organic vegetable garden.
Susie Kendall Carlisle began teaching at Cushing in 1980 as a member of the English Department. In 1984, she left teaching to focus on raising her young family and to pursue her master’s degree. Dr. Carlisle returned to Cushing in 2000, resuming her role as an English teacher and yearbook advisor. In 2006, she joined the administration as Assistant Director of Academics; from 2007-2016, she served as Dean of Academics. In the fall of 2016, Susie returned to the classroom fulltime, teaching both English and her newly discovered passion, Fused Glass; she is currently the chair of the English Department. A graduate of Wheaton College in 1977, she received her master’s degree from Fitchburg State College in 1991 and her doctorate from Northeastern University in 2006. She lives in Ashburnham with her husband and two West Highland White Terriers; adjacent to her house is a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin.
39 School Street Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430 978-827-7000 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.