Arts: Visual Arts

The visual arts program focuses on skill development and the enhancement of creativity. To that end, we offer entry level courses in a wide variety of media. Advanced study is available in several areas, and students interested in pursuing work in-depth should consider Junior Portfolio and Senior Studio. Students are encouraged to record their ideas in journals and sketchbooks and to assemble portfolios containing a history of their creative accomplishments.

Requirements

Students are required to complete four semesters in the arts, although most take more. Ninth graders select one arts course each semester from foundation electives in music, theater, and the visual arts. They may also join instrumental and choral ensembles, participate in theater productions in winter and spring, and take advanced classes.

Upperclassmen must complete their arts requirements prior to the second semester of their senior year.  Independent studies are limited and are only available to students who have fulfilled their arts requirement and wish to pursue advanced level work in an area of special expertise.

All students should read course descriptions carefully to determine eligibility. Accelerated courses are so designated. Please note that certain elective courses require a materials fee.

Full Year Course

Senior Studio (Accelerated)
Grade: 12
This accelerated course is for highly experienced students who wish to pursue work toward the completion of a portfolio for their college applications or for archival purposes. Conceptual problems are presented and students are free to explore them in media of their own choosing, integrating skills developed in earlier arts classes. The emphasis is on critical and analytical thinking and the development of a personal style. The course is open to students with experience in 2-D, 3-D, or arts technology courses. An ability to work independently and outside of class time is essential.

Prerequisite: Permission of the department.

Fall Semester Courses

21st Century Maker Skills
Grades: 10-12
In this course students will embark upon a journey of exploring, creating, and researching using 21st century tools and technologies. Students will learn how to design and create 3-dimensional art and craft elements using a variety of tools such as a CNC router, Laser cutter, band saws, and a multitude of other tools available in our modeling and fabrication laboratory. A strong emphasis is placed on student-generated design and conceptual ideas for each assignment, including carefully planned preliminary sketches. 

This course may be repeated with permission of the instructor.

Art History: Recurring Themes
Grades: 9-12
More than ever before, we live in a world of man-made appearance, and whether we are conscious of it or not, what we see affects us. In this course, students will develop visual literacy and learn to recognize how various cultures have expressed and perpetuated many deeply held values through art and architecture. The ultimate question is this: how does art (from painting and architecture to advertising and fashion) influence our own sense of reality and shape our own desires? To approach this question in a manageable way, students will examine three or four major themes that recur throughout art history, such as Sacred Space, The Body, Power & Protest, Gender & Identity, and The Environment. They will study a broad range of works, comparing the ways artists from different time periods and cultures have responded to each theme. The class will discuss, read, and write about art, watch videos and film clips, and take a field trip or two to see some art in person. (Readings will be provided in class.) 

This course can be taken as an art or history credit.

Darkroom Photography
Grades: 10-12
This course introduces students to black and white film photography and 35mm SLR camera techniques. Students learn how to determine a correct exposure, control depth of field and motion, process film, and finally, learn the various procedures to make a print from a black and white negative. They are asked to consider photography as a method for personal expression while also examining photography as a means of visual communication. Grades and comments are based on assigned projects and student growth in technical and communication skills as measured by a series of group critiques conducted throughout the term. 

All students are required to have a 35-mm camera whose aperture, shutter speed, and film speed can be controlled manually; the school will rent cameras to students who need them. This course may be repeated with permission of the instructor.

Design Thinking
Grades: 9-12
Design is everywhere — in books, at the supermarket, on the interstate, and on the Internet. Students learn about design concepts in a hands-on manner that emphasizes construction, clarity, composition, and critique. They focus on the process of making things using a design thinking model. Real world examples and experiences are worked into the course as much as possible. 

This course may be repeated with permission of the instructor.

Digital Photography: Personal Expression
Grades: 9-12
This class introduces students to photography as creative expression, using photography as a means to communicate an idea, a message, or an emotion. Students will learn camera functions, including how to determine a correct exposure and how to control depth of field and motion. They will be introduced to Adobe Photoshop, Camera RAW, and Adobe Lightroom techniques. Topics will include staging and lighting considerations, collage/montage, and beginning animation techniques. Students will explore creating images that incorporate the subjective view of the photographer. Grades and comments are based on student growth as measured by project work, and a series of group critiques conducted throughout the term. 

The school will rent cameras to students who need them. This course may be repeated with permission of the instructor. 

Drawing
Grades: 9-12
How do we view the world around us? Drawing is about seeing; it's about careful observation and perception. This course deals with that world of seeing, observing, and perceiving. Students will experiment with charcoal, pencil, pen and ink, and pastels while introducing techniques and skills to enable students to gain confidence in their visual expression

Graphic Design
Grades: 9-12
This course introduces basic skills and key concepts relating to the creation of visual media for use in print and online. Students develop their understanding of graphic design concepts while utilizing industry-standard software packages such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. They are introduced to concepts related to visual design through a series of exercises and assignments. Assuming the role of graphic designer, students complete a number of real-world design problems, such as: the production of logos, posters, and magazine page layouts. Student work will be assessed on the basis of how well each student has satisfied the requirements of each assignment, and critiques will be conducted periodically throughout the semester. 

Painting
Grades: 9-12
This class is devoted to enriching a student’s development as an artist through the practice and study of painting in oils and acrylics. Students learn about the basic tools and techniques used in painting and will create a series of works of increasing complexity. They work primarily from life, beginning by exploring the ideas of realism and believability. As the class progresses, students will begin to delve into the murkier depths of painting, known as expression, eventually merging the two with a work of personal significance as they try to find the answer to the question, “What makes a good painting?” 

This course may be repeated with permission of the instructor.

Sculpture
Grades: 9-12
In this course, students will engage with various sculptural materials and processes, while examining and creating three-dimensional forms. They will use the elements and principles of art as starting points for discussions around how objects are seen and perceived in three-dimensional spaces, and ultimately, “What makes a good Sculpture?" 

Woodworking
Grades: 9-12
In this course students learn basic woodworking concepts and skills. Safe studio practices are emphasized. The main thrust of this course is the logical process of designing and crafting in wood. Three major projects are usually completed in the course, with some students exceeding that number. A strong emphasis is placed on student-generated design and conceptual ideas for each assignment, including carefully planned preliminary sketches. 

This course may be repeated with permission of the instructor.

Winter Arts Course

Figure Drawing
Grades: 10-12
This intensive study of drawing from the model meets two times a week after school during the winter sports season (from early November through February). Using a variety of drawing media, including pencil, charcoal, pen and wash, pastel, watercolor, and tempera, students explore gesture, proportion, mass, foreshortening, portraiture, and composition. Opportunities for expressive interpretation of the figure occur in the final portion of the course. 

This class counts as a course during the spring semester. 

Prerequisite: Painting or Drawing or permission of the department.

Spring Semester Courses

21st Century Maker Skills
Grades: 10-12
In this course students will embark upon a journey of exploring, creating, and researching using 21st century tools and technologies. Students will learn how to design and create 3-dimensional art and craft elements using a variety of tools such as a CNC router, Laser cutter, band saws, and a multitude of other tools available in our modeling and fabrication laboratory. A strong emphasis is placed on student-generated design and conceptual ideas for each assignment, including carefully planned preliminary sketches. 

This course may be repeated with permission of the instructor.

Art History: Questioning the Role of Art in Society
Grades: 10-12
What is art? What is it for? Who controls it? Who gets to decide what art is? We often think of the existence of art as self-evident and transparent, but, in fact, it is the product of a host of assumptions made by those who create it, use it, or buy it. This class will blend history, art history, and anthropology to examine the changing ways in which societies have used and imagined art, from prehistoric painters to 21st century investors in NFTs, over the course of human history. Rather than a chronological survey of works of art in and of themselves, this is a course about the idea of art and artists. As such, the approach will be comparative and thematic. 

Specific course topics and case studies will be driven by student interest, but they may revolve around questions like: Who owns the art of the past? Must an artist starve? Do patrons create art? Why does the value of a work of art change if our understanding of the work’s creation changes? Is there a difference between a Grecian urn and an IKEA pitcher? What happens to an object made in one context when it is taken into another context? Can a body ever be art? Does art that memorializes the past have a value separate from the event it memorializes? 

Ceramics
Grades: 9-12
Students of ceramics become acquainted with the basic techniques and skills of using clay to create both functional and non-functional objects. Design principles, hand-building methods, safety, and studio etiquette will be covered. In the second half of the term, basic glaze theory and some wheelwork are explored. An emphasis is placed on personal expression and skill consistency. Students will keep a sketchbook/journal throughout this course and will record all works in a digital portfolio. 

Darkroom Photography
Grades: 10-12
This course introduces students to black and white film photography and 35mm SLR camera techniques. Students learn how to determine a correct exposure, control depth of field and motion, process film, and finally, learn the various procedures to make a print from a black and white negative. Students are asked to consider photography as a method for personal expression while also examining photography as a means of visual communication. Grades and comments are based on assigned projects and student growth in technical and communication skills as measured by a series of group critiques conducted throughout the term. 

All students are required to have a 35-mm camera whose aperture, shutter speed, and film speed can be controlled manually; the school will rent cameras to students who need them. This course may be repeated with permission of the instructor. 

Digital Photography: Photo Documentary
Grades: 10-12
This class introduces students to representational documentary photography, and the use of the computer as a photographic tool. Students learn camera functions, including how to determine a correct exposure and how to control depth of field and motion. Students will be introduced to Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Camera Raw, and Adobe Light Room. At the same time, they will explore photography as a means of documenting reality, and exploring how images can tell a story, capturing the world as it exists, without directing or editing the scene. Grades and comments are based on student growth as measured by a series of projects and group critiques conducted throughout the term.

The school will rent cameras to students who need them.

Drawing
Grades: 9-12

How do we view the world around us? Drawing is about seeing; it's about careful observation and perception. This course deals with that world of seeing, observing, and perceiving. We will experiment with charcoal, pencil, pen and ink, and pastels while introducing techniques and skills to enable students to gain confidence in their visual expression. 

Junior Portfolio (Accelerated)
Grade 11
This accelerated course is designed for second-semester juniors who wish to pursue work toward the completion of a portfolio for their college applications or for archival purposes. Students should come to this class with solid experiences in 2-D, 3-D, or arts technology courses. Assignments are designed to enhance skills and experience and to develop a personal aesthetic and unique approach to art-making. The ability to work independently and outside of class time is essential. 

Prerequisite: Permission of the department.

Making About: Now
Grades: 10-12
This team taught course will begin not with a visual arts discipline but with ideas. We will make art both about and from the daily newspaper using both two dimensional techniques like drawing, printmaking, painting, digital maker tools and collage, and three dimensional techniques like paper mache as well as installation. This class will take over the Arts Center using all studios for a less discipline-specific approach to making.

This class is offered in alternate years and will not be offered this year.

Metal Fabrication and Manipulation
Grades: 10-12
This course allows students to learn basic techniques, design considerations, and safety skills while working with ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and some non-traditional materials to create both personal and sculptural objects. This study includes cutting, shaping, smithing, enameling, and soldering methods for wire and sheet stock. Students will keep a sketchbook. 

Painting
Grades: 9-12
This class is devoted to enriching a student's development as an artist through the practice and study of painting in oils and acrylics. Students will learn about the basic tools and techniques used in painting and will create a series of works of increasing complexity. They will work primarily from life, beginning by exploring the ideas of realism and believability. As the class progresses, students will begin to delve into the murkier depths of painting, known as expression, eventually merging the two with a work of personal significance as they try to find the answer to the question, "What makes a good painting?" 

This course may be repeated with permission of instructor.

Surface Design
Grades: 9-12
Surface Design will be a truly interdisciplinary workshop, combining handmade and digital techniques in printmaking, ceramics, two and three dimensional design, with digital and fabrication technology on the Adobe Suite, laser cutter, and CNC router. Projects might range from intricate patterned and textured glaze work to three dimensional applications of stencil printing. This team taught class takes over the Arts Center using four different studios. 

This class is offered in alternate years and will be offered this year.