Art & Design Program

The Art & Design program will help you develop your visual literacy (your understanding and appreciation of artistic concepts such as the principles of design), creative problem solving, design-thinking (a focus on the process of making), and technical skills (craftsmanship).  You’ll develop your knowledge, understanding, and skills in various materials and techniques through class projects, exercises, and outside assignments. You’ll collaborate, share and discuss your work in critiques, and prepare your work for exhibition. You’ll be encouraged to build a portfolio of your most successful work. Students of all grade levels can start the program with one or more of a variety of “Foundation”-level courses. These are all active, hands-on courses!

In our art classes, you’ll develop your Studio Habits of Mind, which are valuable skills in today’s competitive job market. You’ll develop your craft, becoming more technically skillful in using different tools, materials, and artistic processes. You’ll learn the proper maintenance for tools, materials, and your workspace. You’ll begin to see and embrace problems as opportunities, develop your focus, and persist and persevere at tasks. You’ll envision and imagine, thinking creatively, developing your ability to come up with new ideas. You’ll learn to plan well. You’ll express yourself, making art that conveys ideas, feelings, or personal meanings. You’ll observe, looking closely and carefully at things. You’ll become more and more sensitive to the natural environment as you work from observation, memory, and imagination. You’ll reflect on what you and your fellow artists have done. You’ll learn how to look at and talk about art. You’ll stretch and explore, reaching beyond what you thought you could do. You’ll learn to embrace opportunities, discover through play, and learn from your mistakes. You’ll work and interact with one another in the community that is the art class, and you’ll have a chance to share your work with your wider communities of school and family. Art classes can serve as a balance to your academic classes. Art-making is an enriching experience that can help to develop a well-rounded person (Studio Habits of Mind comes out of the framework of Studio Thinking designed by practitioners at Project Zero at Harvard’s School of Education.).

Consistent with the school’s mission and 21st Century Learning Skills, Art & Design students are engaged in modes of artistic and creative expression and critical thinking every day.  They are presented with extensive opportunities for growth in creating, presenting, responding, and connecting. Students are encouraged to develop skills that teach them accountability, adaptability and tenacity in their academic, social, and civic interactions. Students will work both independently and collaboratively to solve artistic and conceptual problems, acquiring skills to generate their own questions and investigate independent topics of interest related to the concepts being taught. They will synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art, and they will convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work. Students will apply a variety of problem-solving strategies, which may involve generating and conceptualizing artistic ideas through writing or brainstorming; organizing and developing these ideas through drafting, revising, and refining for presentation; working spontaneously and experimentally; and processing feedback from peers.  

Students will participate in a classroom environment where they are nurtured to act with integrity in all academic endeavors and to exhibit respect for themselves and empathy for others. They will learn to speak honestly and respectfully to classmates and respect their opinions in discussions and in group critiques of student work. They will interpret meaning and intent in artistic work, and they will use the vocabulary of art in a way that demonstrates informed, critical decision-making, applying criteria to evaluate artistic work. They will exhibit responsible citizenship by maintaining their tools and work space; assisting and serving as resources for classmates; and considering the relevance of art in a local, global and digital society.  Students will relate their artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding, studying the work of famous artists and artwork from different cultures and eras.

For students in all grade levels who are new to art at the high school, your journey in the art program starts with our foundation courses: Studio Art, Studio Art Honors I, Photography I, or Computer Graphics I. These courses are designed to give students an introduction to our core disciplines while they develop their understanding of artistic concepts and learn the essentials of visual communication. These foundation courses are appropriate for students of all grade levels who are entering the visual arts for the first time.

For committed art students at any grade level, the Studio Art Honors courses (I, II, III, and IV) offer experiences with a wide range of 2D and 3D materials and both traditional and new processes. All Studio Art Honors courses are full-year, honors level courses. In Studio Art Honors I, you will first establish a strong foundation of skills and artistic understanding to build upon in the following years while also having the opportunity to discover new abilities and areas of interest. Participation in honors-level work is an opportunity for students to gain additional experience, strengthen their skills at a more rapid rate, and build their portfolios. 

In all four years of the Studio Art Honors program, students will solve visual challenges in drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, mixed media, and design. Art appreciation and the study of art historical works will be incorporated throughout each year-long curriculum. Continuation in Studio Art Honors courses leads to Studio Art Honors IV: AP Studio Art, in which students are encouraged to take one of the AP Studio Art exams. Enrollment in the Studio Art Honors courses are highly recommended for students considering post-secondary study after graduation. 

All Studio Art Honors IV: AP Studio Art students are also encouraged to enroll in an additional art course in their senior year. Students interested in furthering their studies in Architecture, Graphic Design, or Fashion Design beyond high school are strongly encouraged to take as many art courses as possible to create a strong portfolio of work, which is needed for college applications. Please speak with any member of the art faculty for additional course recommendations.

Honors students will complete at least one major independent project each quarter beyond CP-level coursework and they are engaged in the study of a wider and richer range of content. Although there are outside assignments in all art courses, that outside work for honors-level courses typically requires a commitment of  2 - 3 hours (or more) per week.

Third and fourth years are offered in several artistic disciplines. Because of the more independent, personalized nature of these advanced courses, enrollment requires a B+ or higher in the previous year of that discipline.

All art courses help to fulfill the high school’s Exploratory graduation requirement.

Art Courses

Course Descriptions