Visual Arts

Anita Thompson, Department Head

The Visual Arts department provides a wide selection of required and elective courses through which students are exposed to ever-expanding visual arts vocabulary along with the tools of visual communication and personal expression. Aesthetic awareness, art history, art appreciation, and media exploration are experienced through ceramics, drawing, photography, sculpture, and painting. Assessment is largely portfolio-based. Seniors often submit a portfolio as either a supplement, or in the case of art or architecture applicants, a requirement to their college applications. The learning environment encourages problem solving, critical thinking, and technical skill building while providing the freedom to pursue personal vision.

Studio Art
Fall Semester/Spring Semester—Required in Grade 9

This intensive course introduces students to a wide range of media such as collage, sculpture, multiple drawing materials, clay, and digital imaging. Students are encouraged to be as experimental as possible. During the course students will have the opportunity to view and analyze art from a wide range of contemporary and historical artists representing a variety of cultures and time periods. Students will develop a working understanding of the elements and principles of visual art and will apply this learning in their day to day studio work. In class students will analyze their own work and critique work of classmates.

Prerequisite: none

Ceramics I

Fall Semester/Spring Semester—Open to Grades 9–12

In this class students will learn the three methods of hand-building: pinch pot, slab construction, and coil construction. Students will create a number of ceramic projects using each different method. Some of the projects will include the creation of clay sculpture, different types of vessels, sgraffito, photo transfer, and glass to clay fusion, as well as other experimental clay methodology. During critiques students are encouraged to evaluate the aesthetic and functional qualities of each object created.

Prerequisite: none

Ceramics II, III

Fall Semester/Spring Semester—Open to Grades 10–12

These sequential classes may be taken to build upon the preceding Ceramics course. In Ceramics II & III students will explore advanced hand-building, clay sculpture, and wheel throwing techniques.

Prerequisite: Ceramics I

Advanced Studio I

Fall Semester/Spring Semester—Open to Grades 10–12

Students are presented with a variety of media, such as various drawing media, oil and acrylic paint, block printing, and sculptural materials ranging from plaster to glass. Through different problem-based assignments, students are encouraged to experiment with materials and develop their own creative solutions to the design challenge at hand. A strong emphasis is placed on the development of drafting and design skills. Projects are designed to promote students’ creative expression and critical thinking skills.

Prerequisite: Studio Art

Advanced Studio II, III

Fall Semester/Spring Semester—Open to Grades 11 and 12

These sequential classes may be taken to build upon the preceding Advanced Studio course. In Advanced Studio II & III students will explore advanced painting, drawing, and sculptural techniques while strengthening their craftsmanship and skills of communication with visual media.

Prerequisite: Studio Art & Advanced Studio I

Transparent Anatomy: Life Drawing

**This is a full-time semester course**

Fall Semester—Open to Grades 10–12

This course provides an in-depth exploration of life and basic drawing techniques for both the novice artist as well as the more advanced drawing student. Part of the class will be dedicated to basic drawing principles such as linear perspective, line weight, and rendering. Students will then apply these principles to their work on detailed still lifes. In the life drawing portion of the course, students will learn how to draw the human form by breaking down the body into small increments. They will explore the internal and external anatomical components of the human body. At least twice a month they will have the opportunity to draw from life when the nude model visits the class. At all times, they will be working on gesture, composition, line quality and tonal control while working with a wide range of art making different media.

Prerequisite: Studio Art

Transparent Anatomy: Figure Sculpture

**This is a full-time semester course**

Spring Semester—Open to Grades 10–12

This course offers the opportunity to explore a wide range of sculptural materials and processes through the lens of figurative sculpture for both the novice artist as well as the more advanced student. Students will learn about the proportions of the human body and how to render those proportions in an accurate and representational manner in three dimensions. Students will be exposed to traditional techniques such as modeling the human form from clay, plaster and wire, as well as more advanced techniques such as the lost plaster mold casting process. The course will also explore the concept of abstraction and how working in a non-representational fashion can open up doors for further creative expression. The course will culminate in an exploration of contemporary figure sculpture and the students will be challenged to apply what they have learned to a broad array of contemporary art making materials and processes.

Prerequisite: Studio Art

Photography I

Fall Semester/Spring Semester—Open to Grades 9–12

This course covers both technical and aesthetic aspects of fine art photography. Students are introduced to both film and digital cameras and learn how to use them as a tool for communication and personal expression. Emphasis is placed on the procedures and techniques that are employed in controlling the medium. A major part of this course involves learning about the art of photography and the application of visual and compositional principles within the medium. Photo history, critique, and independent writing and research projects are integrated into the curriculum. Technical camera, darkroom, and Photoshop skills are pursued throughout the course. Owning a film or digital SLR camera is recommended, but not required.

Prerequisite: none

Photography II, III

Fall Semester/Spring Semester—Open to Grades 10–12

These classes may be taken sequentially to build upon the skills developed in Photography I. In Photography II & III, students will refine technical skills and explore more advanced techniques as they experiment with different types of photography and build upon their knowledge of photographic practice and fine art photographic history. Units on alternative process photography and hybrid processes are integrated into the curriculum. Photo history, critique, and independent writing and research projects are active components of the course. Through their work and research, students are expected to develop a personal style as they pursue subject matter that is relevant to their artistic vision. Students may work in either digital or film formats and are expected to provide their own camera.

Prerequisite: Photo I

Visual Arts Major Senior Studio

Yearlong—Open to Grade 12

This course is designed for students who have a proven passion for the visual arts and a commitment to developing the independent habits of mind and personal vision required of the most sophisticated working artists today. During the first semester of this yearlong, full-credit course, students will be required to develop personally relevant and technically refined solutions to thematic prompts. Engaging in daily research for artistic inspiration, high-level critical dialogue about works in process, and embracing the iterative creative process are expectations of students who enroll.

During the second semester, students will develop and pursue an independent body of work that builds off of the work created in the first semester of the course. Students will be assessed on their ability to push their work to the highest level of formal and conceptual refinement and their ability to present their clear artistic vision in weekly critiques. The course will culminate in the students preparing for and hanging of the Visual Arts Major Senior Studio Art Exhibition. Students interested in taking part in the course should submit a portfolio and essay of interest to the Visual Arts Department chair by the end of March for consideration for the course.

Prerequisite: Grade 9 Studio Art; Transparent Anatomy–Life Drawing; Transparent Anatomy–Figure Sculpture; recommendation of the department based on demonstrated skills and motivation


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