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Visual & Performing Arts Courses
Following is an overview of our Visual Arts Program.
For information about some of our other programs, please go to:
This foundation course is designed to meet the challenge of creating visual art in a compelling and interesting way. Through 2D and 3D experiences the curriculum will provide each artist with the ability to generate creative ideas as well as the skills to execute them. Since learning to create visual art involves learning to see, Art Spectrum focuses on the development of this essential visual skill. Observational and conceptual exercises will explore the use of a broad variety of materials, techniques, and treatments used to design, draw, paint, and sculpt. Exposure to art in our community, peer support, and the development of personal sketchbooks will build confidence to create. This course inspires and encourages a positive feeling about the visual arts, and knowledge of the basic techniques and procedures to experience and understand art.
Drawing & Painting
Drawing is the foundation of all artists to describe their ideas, regardless of the medium of the final product. Course work will include art history, research, museum reports, artist statements, and participation in critiques. Designed as the first course in the Drawing and Painting Program, the curriculum gradually builds upon itself to move from an exploration in expressive mark making with graphite, cone, charcoal, colored pencil and pastel, to a painting experience. Advanced color theory is then introduced, with painting approaches and brush techniques considered through acrylic and watercolor paint. The lessons encourage creative, imaginative thinking to begin visually communicating personal concepts. Historical and cross-cultural views on art is integrated into lessons and discussions; sketchbooks are highly used; and exposure to local artwork is obligatory. Representatives will be invited to present, from private Art Colleges and Us with strong art programs, about options for art careers.
Advanced Drawing & Painting
Designed sequentially as the second course in the Drawing and Painting Program, Advanced I is an expansion of the drawing and painting experience. This course develops the artist’s expression to communicate visually and find personal meaning in student work. Through advanced understanding and use of design elements and principles, the beginning of a high quality body of work will be developed in preparation for college and personal portfolios. Assignments will gradually be less structured, allowing for personal motivation towards artistic independence. Sketchbooks become an essential part of documenting growth, and semester museum visits and reports offer important exposure to new art and artists. Seniors have the option to curate and exhibit their body of work in the Library Gallery through a sign-up process.
Advanced Drawing & Painting 2
Designed as the third course in the Drawing and Painting Program, this course has a Self-Directed curriculum.
Thus, quarterly contracts will be based on student-designed learning objectives and aesthetic intent, with a minimum of three pieces of artwork per quarter. Portfolio development will be supported through quarterly one-on-one consultations and class critiques. This advanced course is for students who opt out of AP Studio Art, but desire artistic independence and full studio access. Sketchbooks continue to be an essential part of documenting personal and artistic growth, and semester museum visits and reports offer important exposure to art trends and concepts. Participation in photo shoots is available to digitally document work for college or personal portfolios. Seniors have the option to curate and exhibit their body of work in the Library Gallery through a sign-up process.
AP Studio Art – Drawing
This course consists of artwork involving drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media, and some photography and computer generated work as long as the mark-making process is dominant. Approximately 30 completed pieces reflecting first-year, college-level standards are required in the portfolio to be submitted to College Board by the first week of May, and should exhibit these areas of concern: Quality, Concentration and Breadth. Seniors have the option to curate and exhibit their body of work in the Library Gallery through a sign-up process.
AP Studio Art 2-D/AP Studio Art 3-D
The AP Studio Art 2-D and 3-D consists of artwork involving photography, mixed media, drawing, painting, printmaking, graphic design, digital arts, product design and jewelry making. Approximately 30 completed pieces reflecting first-year, college-level standards are required in the portfolio to be submitted to College Board by the first week of May, and should exhibit these areas of concern: Quality, Concentration and Breadth. Seniors have the option to curate and exhibit their body of work in the Library Gallery through a sign-up process.
This is an introductory course involving studio inquiry into the nature of graphic design and visual problem solving. Topics introduced in the course are: symbols, typography, information design, visual concepts, and three-dimensional graphic design. Emphasis is placed on the basic art elements and principles that underlie all great designs. The course also introduces the student to studio operations and procedures including traditional and digital media, client-designer relations, production processes for print media, graphic design history and cultural content, as well as written and oral components of classwork. Seniors have the option to curate and exhibit their body of work in the Library Gallery through a sign-up process.
Advanced Graphic Design
The primary goal of this course is to develop an advanced understanding of the methods and concepts employed in solving communications problems in graphic and package design. This course also serves to prepare a portfolio of fundamental and dependable methods for creating meaningful, imaginative, communication solutions through research, analysis, oral and written investigation of communication tasks and their target audiences. Traditional and digital media are utilized, as well as demonstrations, presentations, group exercises, historical and cultural research, class critiques, and one-on-one meetings with students. Seniors have the option to curate and exhibit their body of work in the Library Gallery through a sign-up process.
Positions on the graphic production/yearbook staff are awarded through an approval process, which occurs between January and February and is announced in the school bulletin. Priority will go to students with prior photography, computer, graphic design, or past yearbook experience. Instructor and editor approval is required in all cases. The graphic production/staff produces the school yearbook; thus, staff members must have the necessary skills. Instruction in computer graphic, layout, design, and copy preparation will be provided during the first quarter. Those applying for a photography position must have successfully completed a beginning photography course and will be required to learn studio lighting for portraiture. All students are required to spend time in addition to class hours working on the book, and editorships are awarded to the most qualified students who have served on the yearbook staff.
Ceramics & Sculpture
A basic course in ceramics designed for students who have an interest in making functional as well as sculptural pieces using a variety of construction methods including both hand built and wheel thrown processes. Students will learn how to use glaze and other alternative methods for decorating and finishing their work. Emphasis on developing proficiency with building and glazing processes is stressed and projects are designed to build students’ creative problem solving skills. Design, aesthetics and planning are an integral part of the curriculum. Students will be required to keep an active sketchbook where they sketch their concepts and design their works before construction. The ceramics curriculum analyzes historical, cultural and aesthetic aspects of clay working and creative problem solving. Critiques and museum/gallery visits are an expected part of the curriculum.
Advanced Ceramics 1
Advanced Ceramics is a college preparatory course wherein students explore a variety of construction techniques, design methods and firing processes. Students will focus either on wheel throwing or hand building projects to refine their skills and develop personal voice in their work. Sketchbooks are required in which students will take notes, sketch concepts, and design works prior to construction. Contemporary artists will be examined and students will analyze their work in relation to their own work. Building a portfolio, photographing artwork, museum visits, and attending all lectures by visiting artists are required.
Advanced Ceramics 2
Advanced Ceramics 2 is a continuing advanced level course wherein students expand upon ceramic processes and individual interests. This course is geared for the student who is motivated to undertake ambitious work in clay and further their understanding of ceramic art as a means of artistic expression and possible pursuit of study in college or future profession. The goal for this course is to provide the advanced student the opportunity to grow in a setting with ambitious peers and to produce works toward a sophisticated portfolio for the college/art school application process and for submission in juried art competitions and exhibitions. Students will explain or justify themes and aesthetic decisions, and make connections to art history and culture. Building a portfolio, photographing artwork, museum visits, and attending all lectures by visiting artists are required.
Students are taught film and DSLR camera operation, digital workflow, elements of art and design principles, introductory image editing and management in adobe software (Photoshop and/or Lightroom), mounting and display of finished work, photography terminology (such as those necessary to explore shutter and aperture adjustments to achieve desired outcomes). The curriculum will provide learning experiences, which include the historical aspects of photography, through the use of research, reading, presentations, and viewing videos. Through writing and discussions, students will demonstrate aesthetic perception, verbal and written communication during critiques, and an understanding of historical and cultural aspects of the medium. Students may be assigned written reviews of exhibits at local galleries/museums.
This course builds on the skills taught in the Photography I class. Work assigned throughout the course will emphasize the technical as well as expressive and non-verbal communicative nature of the photographic medium. Students will master advanced skills in the use of small and medium format cameras, expand film and darkroom skills, use portable and studio lighting equipment, and further develop their knowledge of darkroom and digital processes to include contrast control, filters, dodging and burning techniques, and alternative photo processes such as cyanotypes, photomontage and combination printing. Students will explore digital avenues for sharing their work, such as creating a website or blog or publishing their images in book form using digital tools. They will develop a portfolio based upon a personal theme of their choice. Students will expand their understanding of current and historical directions in photography through completed works, research and presentations, assigned written reviews of exhibits and class critiques.
AP Art History
Trends and themes in the history of art are surveyed along with an examination of art as a reflection of other historical events. The first semester consists of a study of Western art from prehistory through the 19th century. The second semester is a study of art from 20th century to the present as well as the arts of non-Western cultures. Class activities include viewing and discussing slides, seeing films/videos, taking notes on lectures and related reading. Students will do their own research and give class presentations. They will be required to do museum visits and written critiques of original works, outside of class. Students who successfully complete this course will need to demonstrate an understanding of Art History chronology, and how different cultures have aesthetically perceived artistic expressions. They will also need to show expanded ability to make aesthetic judgments about content, techniques, forms, and purposes of art, through their writing, reading and independent research.