• Program Description

    Howard W. Blake School of the Arts Magnet High School is located on North Boulevard in the historic West Tampa neighborhood. Blake’s Visual Arts Department leads Hillsborough County in the number of Visual Art awards and scholarships awarded to its students. The Art Department offers a variety of courses in Ceramics, Digital Imagery, Drawing, Glass, Jewelry, Painting, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture; as well as, the Advanced Placement classes AP Studio 2-D, AP Studio 3-D and AP Art History.
    The Visual Art Department directs students to learn and master the basic techniques of each disciple. Once a student takes all the entry level classes, they choose an area of focus. Artwork that is created in the advanced classes are research based and allow students to be more self-directed within concepts and techniques. The department encourages collaboration and working across media to create works.
    The final goal in creating artwork is to exhibit the result. We hope you take the time to look and contemplate the works on display.

    Visual Arts Department Awards Include:

    National Gold, Scholastics
    Congressional winner, 14th Congressional Award
    Best of Show, HCC Dale Mabry High School Art Contest
    Award of Excellence, Dali Museum Surrealist Art Contest


    Caitlin Clay, Ceramics & Sculpture, Visual Arts

    Contact: caitlin.clay@hcps.net

    Mrs. Caitlin Clay has been a visual arts teacher in Hillsborough County for 15 years.  She transferred to Blake after teaching art for the International Baccalaureate program for the last 8 years.  She is a native Floridian from central Florida and she holds a BA in Fine Arts, a BA in Mass Communications, with a focus in advertising and a minor in Economics from the University of South Florida.  She continues to improve her skills in the 3-D arts by attending workshops whenever possible.  Mrs. Clay has been a district trainer for art and written curriculum for the state for hard to measure subject areas.  

    Mrs. Clay is a runner, training for the Chicago Marathon, and takes ballet, working her way toward dancing en pointe. She loves to read, cook and travel in her free time. She is married, has 2 children, 2 dogs, 3 birds, and a tankful of fish, which results in a lot of chaos and a lot of love. 

    Emma Chandler, Metals & Fine Crafts, Visual Arts

    E Chandler

    Contact: emma.chandler@hcps.net

    Emma Chandler was borna nd raised in Tampa, Florida. She is a graduate of the Howard W. Blake High School where she first developed her love and experience with metals and photography. Ms Chandler later traveled to San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato Mexico to study silversmithing at Sterling Quest. After selling jewelry for several years, Ms Chandler received an MA in Metals at Ball State University where she studied metalsmithing. In 2015, Ms Chandler earned an MFA at SUNY New Paltz. She continues to create in her personal studio while bringing her immense knowledge to the students of Howard W. Blake School of the Arts.

    Molly Dressel, Drawing & Painting, Visual Arts

    Molly Dressel

    Contact: molly.dressel@hcps.net

    Molly Dressel taught at Blake High School since 2000. She loves art history and travel and spends most of her vacation time visiting museums and galleries around the world, and these experiences are then brought back to her students. The 2-D courses that she teaches focus on building skills and incorporating personal interests within the subject matter. Students that take courses from level one to the advanced classes build a portfolio that can be used for college applications. All courses incorporate art history and contemporary artists within the curriculum, so students understand their place in the art making community. Ms Dressel teaches 2-D Studio 1, Drawing 2, Drawing 3, Painting 2, Painting 3, AP Art History, AP Studio, and Access Drawing. 

    Linda Galgani, Photography, Visual Arts

    Linda G

    Contact: linda.galgani@hcps.net

    Linda Galgani is a certified Art Educator for K-12, in addition to being a practicing artist. She teaches black and white photography, color photography, digital imaging and portfolio at Howard W. Blake High School, as well as Photography at HCC’s Ybor Campus. Before moving to Tampa, Linda lived in Boston, Massachusetts where she taught photography at Wellesley High School, as well as at Dean College. She completed a Master’s Degree in Education at Emmanuel College in Boston and earned her Master of Fine Arts at the University of South Florida. While at USF, she was awarded the Adah Schaich Endowed Scholarship in Photography.

    Her undergraduate degree is in Geography from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts where she graduated Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. While pursuing her degree, she studied abroad. She has taught photography in County Mayo, Ireland as well as in Boston, MA; Tampa, FL and Ithaca, NY. She has exhibited her photographs throughout the country and sold her work to corporations such as Pitney Bowes. Her images have appeared in a variety of publications, including the Photo Review. She was selected for Who’s Who Among American Teachers for the past eighteen consecutive years. She received an Award of Recognition from the National Foundation for Advancement In The Arts as well as Arts for a Complete Education. In 2015 she was awarded from Hillsborough Art Educator Association High School Teacher of the Year.

    Ms. Galgani enjoys cooking, outdoor activities, and travel on her free time.

    Audition Requirements
    Once you have applied, you will receive an email with step-by-step instructions for your audition!

    Auditions will be interview style; you will present your artwork and answer questions about the artwork and past school work.
    The program requires after-school commitments from both students and parents.
    Supplies covered by the classroom budget will not cover all costs of all projects done in class

    What to bring

    • At least 10 of your best artworks from the past two years
    • At least two of the 10 should be done from observation; meaning not copied from a 2-D image such as a magazine image or an image on a phone. Examples, setting up a still life on a kitchen table, drawing a room, drawing a landscape, or looking in a mirror and drawing your face.
    • Artwork from school art classes, summer workshop, etc. This is a good example for teachers to see how you work with assignments.
    • Artwork can be in any medium; drawing, photography, ceramics, sculptures, etc. If work is too large a photo-reproduction can be used to show the work.
    • A sketchbook. This will show teachers how you problem solve and expresses your personal style.
    • Recommendations and lists of other interests are not required but can be helpful during the audition to showcase you in your best light.