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 (Acc)

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: 11-12

In this course students will embark upon a journey of exploring, creating, and research 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: 10-12

More than ever before, we live in a world of manmade 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.

Contemporary craft

Grades: 11-12

Traditional crafts have had a resurgence in the 21st century. Why, especially in these times are people so drawn to making things by hand? Can craft calm us? How can some of humanity’s oldest and most flexible art materials be used to make art that speaks to us now? In this equally hip and mindful class students will use traditional craft materials and methods such as embroidery, weaving, and more to respond and tell stories about our world today. No experience needed but a willingness to engage with techniques that can’t be rushed required.

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. If humans made it, design played a role. This course examines design in two parts. The first half of the course is dedicated to learning about design concepts in a hands-on manner that emphasizes construction, clarity, composition, and critique. The second half of the course takes place in the digital lab where, after some extensive tutorials, students will work in groups on a larger print production project using the program Adobe Illustrator; last year’s class chose to create a calendar. The course ends with a bang: a digital project with a real client and a class field trip to IKEA. 

This course may be repeated with permission of the instructor.

Digital Photography: personal expression

Grades 10-12

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. 

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.

hitchcock

Grades: 9-12

The “Master of Suspense,” Alfred Hitchcock, remains one of the most important filmmakers in cinematic history. His films continue to surprise, delight, and influence contemporary filmmakers, and offer a unique introduction to the study of film. In this course students will look at a selection of the director’s work throughout his career, exploring the development of his themes and film style. Films will include his early British work such as Blackmail and The 39 Steps, as well as his iconic work in films like Psycho, Vertigo, North By Northwest, and Rear Window.

lost and found

Grades: 9-10

In this course, students will explore a multitude of options and challenges that occur when making 3-dimensional art from a variety of non-traditional materials and objects. Artists such as Nevelson, Hess, Goldsworthy, and Duchamp may serve as inspiration. Students will have the opportunity to make work that is meaningful and powerful, while continually exploring the inseparable conceptual and aesthetic link that a material has to an art object.

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.

woodworking

Grades: 9-10

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: 11-12

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

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.

Illustration and Sequence

Grades 9-12

Illustration and Sequence is a course about communicating ideas through images. Students will focus on drawing and collage techniques that lead them to creating illustrations about both personal and universal ideas. The class will spend a significant amount of time looking at contemporary artists and illustrators online and in books. Students will also explore how pictures, when grouped together and put in an order, can be used to tell stories, as we see in books, graphic novels, and animation.

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

Grade: 10-12

This team-taught course will begin not with a visual arts discipline but instead it will begin with ideas. Students 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 and 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. It is offered this year, but will not be offered in 2021-2022.

metal fabrication and manipulation

Grade: 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

Grade: 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 we 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 is 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. It is offered this year, but will not be offered in 2021-2022.