Art class


Discover new ways of expressing yourself.

The Visual and Performing Arts are an integral part of the Walker’s community. Creativity, communication, and collaboration are fundamental to all of the arts on our campus.

Through the arts, students learn to take risks, push beyond perceived boundaries, and discover new ways of expressing themselves and engaging with the community. 

A student who has a passion for the arts can pursue after school co-curricular activities such as acting, technical theatre, dance, and visual arts during all three seasons. In addition, students can participate in private voice and instrumental lessons, and perform in vocal and instrumental ensembles. There are so many opportunities for students to perform and showcase their art work. There are several main stage music, theatre, and dance performances as well as art galleries throughout campus. Student performances and art work are part of daily life at Walker’s.

The Arts programs emphasize both skill development and self-driven, experiential learning. Courses in Digital Photography, Movie and Video Production, Studio Arts, Art History, Ceramics, Dance, Music, and Theatre, as well as Independent Studies in all areas, allow students to delve into numerous art forms as they discover new ways to express themselves. All students have an Arts requirement, but often students find a form that speaks to them and they continue beyond the minimum credits. Formative assessments are used throughout every visual and performing arts class. Students are given immediate feedback throughout the lesson, which includes suggestions, options, and engaging conversations. Critical and constructive feedback from both peers and faculty measure the effectiveness of both the creative process and the final product.

Arts students are taught to be leaders by choreographing, composing, curating, and assistant teaching. Students participate in arts-related community partnerships, such as Children’s Dance classes, a capella competitions, the Memory Project, and the Connecticut Inclusive Arts program. At Walker’s, we prepare students to look beyond themselves and find ways to use the arts to give back to the community and make a difference in the world. 

Arts Faculty

Cheri Soule

Director of Dance

Cheri Soule


B.S., SUNY Brockport
B.A., Eastern Connecticut State University
M.F.A., Smith College

Cheri Soule is the Director of the Dance Program at Walker’s. She teaches modern, jazz, ballet, choreography, and improvisation, in both the Upper and Middle School programs. She received an MFA degree in Dance from Smith College, a BS in Dance from SUNY Brockport, and a BA in Fine Arts from Eastern CT State University. Cheri has danced professionally with The New England Dance Theatre and The Judy Dworin Performance Project. She also enjoys designing sets for JDPP’s Moving Matters! program in Hartford. Cheri has also served on the faculty at Springfield College, and as visiting artist at Trinity College. Her favorite part about being at Walker’s is the chance to teach, rehearse, and collaborate with such enthusiastic young dancers.

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Ben Barker

Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair, Visual Arts Faculty

Ben Barker


B.Sc., University of East Anglia, England

Ben Barker earned a B.Sc. (Hons) in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia in England and is a graduate of the Connecticut Film Industry Training Program from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. Ben spent over 20 years in the environmental industry conducting laboratory analysis, mobile laboratory site investigations and indoor air quality studies. He is a State of Connecticut Department of Health Services-certified Environmental Laboratory Director. After leaving the scientific arena, Ben pursued his life-long love of photography and film by working in locations management for film and television productions in New York City and Connecticut. He is also a seasoned and qualified soccer coach, having coached the game for 15 years. Over that period he has coached all youth ages from two to 18 years old.

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Marissa Forde

Visual Arts Faculty

Marissa Forde


B.A., Jacksonville University
M.Ed., University of Hartford

Marissa, a Simsbury native, joined the Walker’s community in the winter of 2011 after beginning her teaching career in the local public school system. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art with a focus on Illustration from Jacksonville University, and her master’s degree in education from the University of Hartford. She holds certifications in both art education and elementary education. Marissa teaches middle school visual arts. She also teaches ceramics with students ranging from beginner through advanced level three. Marissa is passionate about engaging girls in art by encouraging her students to explore how artistic creations are born through the solving of problems.

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Shannen Hofheimer

Shannen Hofheimer

Director of Theater, Music Faculty

Shannen Hofheimer


B.M., University of Hartford

Shannen, a classical artist and musician, holds a B.M. in Vocal Performance from The Hartt School of Music. She provides musical and theatrical instruction for students from beginner to the conservatory level. Throughout her work, Shannen seeks to share with her students the excitement and joy of making music. Her experience includes musical theatre, opera, jazz, rock, and more. She works with her students to equip them with versatility in vocal styles and a colorful repertoire. As a child, Shannen had the privilege of performing with NETworks Productions on the international tour of “The Sound of Music” starring Marie Osmond, which taught her professionalism and responsibility at a young age. She also toured nationally with Chamber Theatre Productions where she performed classic works of literature adapted for the stage for school groups. Her performance endeavors have instilled in her a deep passion and love of the performing arts, which she hopes to pass on to her students.

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Laurie MacAlpine P'08

Music Department Chair

Laurie MacAlpine P'08


B.S., Ladycliff College
M.M., The Hartt School

Laurie MacAlpine came to Walker’s in 1998 and has expanded the music program to address the needs of a growing student body. She earned her bachelor’s degree in science with a minor in vocal music from Ladycliff College and went on to receive her master’s in music composition from The Hartt School, University of Hartford. An accomplished musician, she studied composition and theory with Arnold Franchetti, classical guitar with Janet Marlowe, and piano with Bridget de Moura Castro. Before coming to Walker’s, Laurie owned her own piano and classical guitar studio for 10 years and started four independent music programs for home school associations in Connecticut. She has conducted several children’s choirs in churches throughout Hartford and is currently the cantor at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. At Walker’s, she has expanded the music program to include a gospel choir and a chamber choir (Voce Felice), Upper and Middle School orchestra, a handbell choir, and chamber ensembles. In October 2006, she was awarded The Natalie Galbraith Mitchell Chair in the Humanities for her work at the school. She is currently a member of Simsbury Town Band in the clarinet section.

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News /

Students Receive Scholastic Art Awards

Five Walker’s students have received Scholastic Art Awards this year, the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7-12 ( The award-winning artworks will be…

Added to: Academics, Arts