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.  This course culminates with the Senior Show, a celebration of seniors in making, editing and exhibiting their work.

Prerequisite: Permission of the department

Fall Semester Courses

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, the ultimate question is this: how does art (from painting and architecture to advertising and fashion) influence our sense of reality and identity and shape our desires? To approach this question in a manageable way, we will examine three or four major themes that recur throughout art history, such as Sacred Space, The Body, Power and Protest, and The Natural World. Students will study a broad range of works, comparing the ways artists from different time periods and cultures have responded to each theme. They will examine, discuss, read, and write about art, and may even make some art, too.

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

CERAMICS

Grades: 9-12

Students 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 are covered. In the second half of the semester, basic glaze theory and some wheelwork are explored.  An emphasis is placed on personal expression and skill consistency. Students keep a sketchbook/journal throughout this course and will record all work in a digital portfolio.

Ceramic Sculpture

Grades 9-12

This course explores the process, technique and conceptual challenges of creating sculptural forms in clay. Both additive and subtractive techniques will be taught in addition to basic hand building, slip casting, mold making, and glaze fundamentals. Art objects created may vary in size and place from small personal objects designed to fit in a pocket to desk-sized figurines to large scale collaborative outdoor sculptures.

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.

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 Adobe Illustrator. The course ends with a bang:  a digital project with a real client and a class field trip to IKEA.

Digital Photography

Grades 10-12

This class introduces students to photography and the use of the computer as a photographic tool.  Students learn camera functions, including how to determine a correct exposure, how to control depth of field and motion, and how to use Adobe Photoshop. Topics will include Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw, as well as selections and masking, sharpening, and basic color correction. At the same time, students are encouraged to view photography as a means of visual communication and to produce images that incorporate a point of view. Grades and comments are based on student growth as measured by a series of group critiques conducted throughout the term. 

The school will rent cameras to students who need them.

Documentary

Grades 10-12

We live in the golden age of documentary films. Documentary film has been used to explore humanity in all of its complexity and dimensions. In this course students will study the history and development of documentary and non-fiction film. In addition to watching and analyzing a wide array of film, students will have the opportunity to design and make their own films.

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. Students are introduced to concepts related to visual design through a series of exercises and assignments. They assume the role of graphic designer as they complete a number of real-world design problems, such as the production of brochures, 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 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 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?"

21ST CENTURY MAKER SKILLS

Grades: 10-12

In this course, students will embark upon a journey of exploring, creating and research using 21stcentury tools and technologies. They 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, 3d printer, band saw, and a multitude of other tools available in the school’s modeling and fabrication laboratory. A strong emphasis is placed on student-generated design and conceptual ideas for each assignment, including carefully planned preliminary sketches.

The Woods

Grades 9-12

Does knowledge help us see?  Does art inform our empirical understanding? How do we view the world around us?  Learning to draw is learning to see; it's about careful observation and perception. This course deals with the world of seeing, observing, and perceiving while focusing on Park’s outdoor campus through a naturalist’s eye.  In this team-taught Visual Art and Science course, students will observe and make connections as they strive to understand the botanical world of Park’s campus. Students will come to appreciate the local flora from both a scientific perspective and an artistic aesthetic. They will create portfolios containing observational drawings, journaling, plant specimens, and more.

This course can be taken for either an Art or Science credit.

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.

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 (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 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 are covered.  In the second half of the semester, basic glaze theory and some wheelwork are explored. An emphasis is placed on personal expression and skill consistency. Students keep a sketchbook/journal throughout this course and will record all work 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.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Grades: 10-12

This class introduces students to photography and the use of the computer as a photographic tool.  Students learn camera functions, including how to determine a correct exposure, how to control depth of field and motion, and how to use Adobe Photoshop. Topics will include Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw, as well as selections and masking, sharpening, and basic color correction.  At the same time, students are encouraged to view photography as a means of visual communication and to produce images that incorporate a point of view. Grades and comments are based on student growth as measured by a series of 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? In this course, drawing is about seeing; it is about careful observation and perception. In this course, students experiment with charcoal, pencil, pen and ink, and pastels while exploring techniques and skills to enable them to gain confidence in their visual expression.

Illustration and Sequence

Grades 9-12

Illustration and Sequence is a course about communicating ideas through images. Students focus on drawing and collage techniques in order to create illustrations about both personal and universal ideas. Students will spend a significant amount of time looking at contemporary artists and illustrators online and in books. They will also explore how pictures, when grouped together and put in an order, can be used to tell stories, as seen 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.

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, as well as 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/journal throughout this course.

Surface Design

Grades 9-12

Surface Design is an 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.

World Cinema

Grades 10-12

The great American director Frank Capra observed that film is one of the three universal languages, along with music and mathematics, and that watching the movies that come from different parts of the world is one of the best ways to begin to understand and engage with other peoples and cultures. In this course students will take a few steps towards an appreciation of the amazing cinema that is produced in countries all over the world.