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Art Program

The Visual Arts program provides opportunities to explore a variety of media and share their work with the community.

Artists learn techniques in drawing, painting, graphic design, watercolor, and 3-dimensional work.

Art is an integral part of life at Villa. Student artists display their work at school and in the community, at local restaurants and art centers. There is a charity art show on campus during the winter months, and a Fine Arts Festival at the end of each school year. All students have an opportunity to publish their work in Festival, the art and literary magazine.

Many students receive scholarships for University of the Arts pre-college programs, and have taken part in summer institutes around the country. Graduates have majored in creative fields at a variety of colleges and universities including RISD, Parsons, Pratt, SCAD, the University of the Arts, Drexel University, the Pennsylvania State University, York College, and MICA.

Artwork by Candy Ciesielski

ceramic tea pot


  • AP Studio Art Drawing/AP Studio Art 2D Design
  • AP Art History
  • Honors Advanced Art Major
  • Honors Art Major
  • Studio 2
  • Studio 1
  • Art 9
  • Watercolor
  • Collage/Mixed Media
  • Ceramics 1
  • Ceramics 2
  • Ceramics Independent Study
  • Introduction to Sculpture
  • Graphic Design

Kate Brown

Mrs. Brown is an artist, art educator, and entrepreneur. She has a B.S. in Art Education from Kutztown University, and an M.A. in Art Education from The University of the Arts. The 2019-2020 school year marks Mrs. Brown’s 26th year at Villa Maria Academy, and her 20th year as an instructor at The University of the Arts as a senior faculty member, teaching in their Pre-College Programs, Summer Institute, and Professional Institute for Educators.

Mrs. Brown was voted High School and Non-Public Teacher of the year in Chester County, earning Citadel’s Heart of Learning Award in 2011. She was also chosen, via a national search, to be a teacher advisor to Scholastic Art Magazine in 2013-2014. She enjoys working with a variety of media and subject matter, and has shown her work in a variety of public settings.

Sarah Bacastow

Mrs. Bacastow joined Villa Maria Academy in 2012. She holds a BFA with a concentration in ceramics and sculpture, and a minor in Art History from West Chester University, where she was awarded the West Chester University Foundation Award for Best of Show. She later earned a Pennsylvania Art K-12 Education Certification from Rosemont College.

As a teacher with over 15 years experience, Mrs. Bacastow has previously taught classes at local schools and art centers in Chester County, apprenticed at several artist workshops, and has exhibited her work in a variety of public settings.  In her spare time, she likes spending time with her family, painting, kayaking, anything outdoors, and traveling.

Stephanie McLaughlin

Mrs. McLaughlin's deep love for the arts is evident through her passion for teaching young artists, her dedication to her own artistic journey, and her small business. She earned a BFA with a concentration in painting from Tyler School of Art at Temple University, and is continuing her education at Parsons ,where she will obtain a certificate in Graphic Design. The 2022-2023 school year will mark Mrs. McLaughlin's 2nd year at Villa Maria Academy. 

In 2020, Mrs. McLaughlin was awarded the Jane D. Bonelli Art Education Award. In 2022, she won the Viewers' Choice Award at the Central Pennsylvania Fine Arts Images Exhibition. Mrs. McLaughlin continues to display her artwork at a variety of public settings and attends art fairs and craft shows throughout the year. On weekends, she teaches classes at a local community arts center. " 

Darren Polsz

Darren Polsz

Mr. Polsz currently works at Villa as the Design and Video Specialist as well as the Graphic Design teacher. He brings his ideas, design skills, and expertise in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to the classroom, giving students lessons that can be transferred to real-world projects. Prior to joining Villa in 2017, Mr. Polsz had an internship with the Philadelphia Flyers marketing department during the team's 50th anniversary year.