The Art Department consists of three separate disciplines of artistic and personal expression: Visual Arts, Theater, and Music. These distinct disciplines introduce students to the basic vocabulary of the art forms and illustrate the constant dialogue between the arts and our society. Each member of the department strives to teach fundamental skills while also stressing the theories and concepts that accompany these skills.

Requirements

All students must complete twenty full credits within the arts department for graduation. This requirement may be met by taking two full years of a given field of study or by sampling a variety of disciplines within the departmental electives.

Honors

Only Senior Studio is offered for honors.

Course Descriptions

Level One

Introduction to Visual Arts

Learn how to find ideas by experimenting with materials, tools, and artistic thought. This class will give you a foundation to explore a range of mediums like drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and digital arts. We will also focus on building community and developing the possibilities of what art can be.

Open to 9th graders

Intro to 2D

This course is an introduction to the materials and methods used by two-dimensional artists. We will explore the techniques needed for drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, and digital art and learn how artists develop ideas for their work. Working with a wide range of subject matter, by the end of the term, you will have a good sense of your interests in art and be able to design a self-directed project. 

Prerequisites: Intro to Visual Arts or by the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.
Open to 9th and 10th graders

Intro to 3D

Learn the foundational process to explore your ideas in three dimensions. Instruction will cover a range of materials, tools, and techniques in the intersection of design, craft, and building things that you can use. This includes introductions to ceramics, plaster casting, resin, woodworking, and 3D printing. Regular discussion of The World of Art and Art History will provide context for our work. Critiques, documentation, and presentation will be essential elements of the class, with an emphasis on both process and product. 

Prerequisites: Intro to Visual Arts or by the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head. 
Open to 9th and 10th graders

Intro to Photography

This course spans photographic processes from the first camera to the darkroom, to the DSLR, to digital post-production Adobe Tools. As photographers, students will learn to observe and notice light, color, and form to understand visual composition, to make a photograph. Reflecting, discussing, and thinking critically about these photographs and photographs made by artists will lead to deeper ideas.

Prerequisites: Intro to Visual Arts or by the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.
Open to 9th and 10th graders

Level Two

Ceramics

This course is dedicated to the exploration of how a ball of clay can lead us toward complex ideas and functional objects. Based on hand-building techniques and wheel throwing students will focus on form, structure, making mistakes, and idea development. By exploring the cultural connections of food and community and the rituals they were created for, students will build vessels and tableware for a social gathering. There will be time for students to design their paths as their skills and confidence grow to give them more control over the objects they envision.

Prerequisites: Intro to 3D or by the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.

Digital Art

Identify your artistic interests, build on past creative experiences, and develop the technical skills you need to make your ideas visible. Instruction will cover a range of tools including Photoshop, Illustrator, Procreate, and experiments in Augmented Reality. Critiques, documentation, and presentation will be essential elements of the class, with an emphasis on both process and product.

Prerequisites: Intro to Photography, or Intro to 2D, or by the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.

Drawing + Painting

Building on your prior knowledge of drawing and painting, you will expand your technical skills and work with new materials in this course. Concepts and subject matter for your work will come from your interests, and you will have the opportunity to design your own studio practice at the end of the term. Regular discussion of The World of Art and Art History will provide context for our work. Critiques, documentation, and presentation will be essential elements of the class, emphasizing process and product.

Prerequisites: Intro to 2D or by the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.

Graphic Design

How does design impact how we think, learn and interact? In this course we will investigate these questions as we explore how graphic communication is woven into our daily lives. Students will gain insight into a range of graphic design applications such as branding and advertising, illustration, typography, information design, and editorial publication. Working primarily with Adobe Illustrator, students will develop their digital drawing and design skills while establishing a workflow between Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop.

Open to Grade Levels: 10, 11, 12

Installation Art

How does place affect and define our sense of being? How can we intentionally and artistically alter these places? This course pulls from a history of artists changing our surroundings indoors/outdoors and in physical community space and virtual spaces. You’ll work collaboratively to create these installations/interventions and collaborate with the participants/audience. Regular discussion of The World of Art and Art History will provide context for our work. Critiques, documentation, and presentation will be essential elements of the class, with an emphasis on both process and product.

Prerequisites: Sculpture or by the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.

Mixed Media

Find. Cut. Glue. Spray. Transfer. Draw. Repeat. How do we create meaning through layering? Combining what we find and collect, we will develop innovative ways to build two-dimensional works of art. Rubber stamps, spray paint, wax, and Xerox transfer are just some of the techniques we will explore. We will also look at contemporary artists who create meaning by layering materials and techniques, discuss the results of our experiments with each other, and share ideas on a regular basis. Be prepared to play, to make a mess, and to produce a lot of work. 

Prerequisites: Intro to 2D or by the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.

Photo: Alternative Processes

Unlock the potential of photography by delving into the realm of alternative processes. This course is designed for students who seek to break away from traditional photographic techniques and embrace a more experimental and hands-on approach to image creation. Blending and manipulating images using traditional techniques through the lens of the contemporary artist. Regular discussion and personal research of photographic artists will support the reflection and growth of the class. 

Prerequisites: Intro to Photography or by the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.

Sculpture

Go deeper into the how and why humans have made things throughout time. We will investigate objects that were designed for functional uses as well as objects that were made to solely function as art. You’ll have options to build with your hands and/or software, including processes like woodworking, ceramics, plaster, resin, and 3D modeling. Regular discussion of The World of Art and Art History will provide context for our work. Critiques, documentation, and presentation will be essential elements of the class, with an emphasis on both process and product. 

Prerequisites: Intro to 3D or by the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.

Video Production: Narrative Images

Students will observe and create using video-based media. Topics may include cinematography, lighting, script writing, acting, directing, sound recording, composition, and editing to tell a story. Themes of storytelling and narrative through images will be the focus of this course. What is mise-en-scène? Is there a difference between narrative and plot? Regular screening and analysis of short films from the world of art, youth media, and the commercial world will provide inspiration and context for our work.

Prerequisites: Intro to Photography or by the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.
(This class may be taken more than once.)

Level Three

Advanced Ceramics

This course builds off the foundational skills from Ceramics and provides the opportunity to expand on hand-building and wheel-throwing practices. You will explore your point of view as a ceramicist by creating a portfolio inspired by a theme or chosen process. Research into how and why artists have and continue to use clay as a method of expression and functionality will support your studio practice. 

Prerequisites: Ceramics and recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.

Advanced Digital Art

This course builds off your technical skills and interests in Digital Art. You will enhance your understanding of digital art-making tools while developing your point of view as a digital artist. Researching contemporary digital practices will support your self-directed process and help you explore how to display your work on campus.

Prerequisites: Digital Art and recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.

Advanced Drawing + Painting

This course builds off your interests and success from Sculpture 1 and provides the opportunity to improve in technique. You will deepen your understanding of a chosen process through rigor and self-direction. Exhibiting completed artworks with intention and concept is required.

Prerequisites: Sculpture and recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.

Advanced Mixed Media

If you are committed to Mixed Media and ready to go deeper, this class is for you. Working with materials you already know and love, you will develop a portfolio of works about a particular theme. Research into how and why artists have used layering and alternative materials in their art will support your studio practice. 

Prerequisites: Mixed Media and recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.

Art + Life

You’ve enjoyed your time in the studio throughout your high school career. You’ve built your skills and developed personal concepts for your work. How will you continue to build your creative voice after graduation? Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.” This course will explore creative strategies to keep art in your life after high school including working in sketchbooks, refining your interests, and learning to seek out and enjoy seeing art in the world. 

Open to 12th graders who have taken at least one level 2 class or with permission from the Department Head. 

Studio Practice

This class creates the community, structure, and space for the most serious artists to pursue their work. Students taking this class have shown to be independent, dedicated artists prepared to bring their interests to the class. Group critiques, research in contemporary art, readings, and documentation of the creative process will be major elements of the course.

Open to 11th graders who have taken at least one level 2 course with the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.

Advanced Studio Practice

For Seniors who have built their skills and developed personal concepts for their artwork. How will you continue to build your creative voice after graduation? Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.” This course will explore creative strategies to keep art in your life after high school, including workshopping, refining your interests, and learning to seek out and enjoy seeing art in the world. 

Open to 12th graders who have taken at least one level 2 class and with permission from the Department Head. 

Senior Studio (Honors)

Culminating with the annual Senior Show, this 2-term class creates the community, structure, and space for the most serious artists to pursue their own work. Students taking this class have shown to be independent, dedicated artists who are prepared to bring their own personal interests to the class. No projects are assigned. Group critiques, research in contemporary art, readings, and documentation of the creative process will be major elements of the course.

Open to 12th graders with the recommendation from the Visual Art Department Head.