Worcester’s premier college-preparatory co-ed day school serving students from Central MA and MetroWest, Pre-K–Grade 12
Arts

Upper School Visual Arts

The Upper School offers of a wide variety of elective visual arts courses, including various levels of studio art, ceramics, sculpture, photography, digital media, and art history. Our department goals are threefold: 

  • To build skills in specific art mediums,
  • To develop a deep understanding and appreciation of art, and
  • To foster the intellectual and creative potential of high school students.

We believe the experience of physically creating is as important as the final product, and we encourage all students to take art courses, regardless of skill level.

Classes — Students may choose half-year, 1/2-credit art courses that meet for one semester (Fall or Spring), or full-year, 1-credit art courses. Classes meet four times per seven-day rotation for 75 minutes each day. Art history is incorporated into the curriculum in all studio and digital courses, with in-depth study in the project-based Global Art History course.

Off-Campus Opportunities — Field trips to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Institute of Contemporary Art, MASS MoCA, Worcester Art Museum, gallery exhibits, and student awards events provide a strong cultural context for student practice. In addition, a biennial program of visual art trips abroad looking at art, architecture and art history further complements the program.

Exhibitions — All Visual Arts students exhibit in the schoolwide spring art show, which is a lively and celebratory event. Artists-in-residence are invited to campus by the department and through the PFA Cultural Series. The gallery space in the art building allows for formal exhibition of student and professional artists throughout the year. 

Studio Foundations: Painting, Drawing & Sculpture

Studio Foundations: Painting, Drawing & Sculpture

Prerequisite: None
Grade Level: 9–12
Length of Course: Half-Year
Credit: one-half

Overview: Studio Foundations is designed as a structured, skill-building course for students who are interested in learning visual arts basics. The course is divided into three Units, which in turn are broken down into projects that students complete through a step-by-step process:

  1. Drawing Unit: Design and composition, form-making, perspective, ink wash, charcoal
  2. Painting Unit: Acrylic and watercolor, brushwork, enlarging, color mixing
  3. Sculpture Unit: Figurative, abstract, and found-object sculpting; additive, reductive, and assemblage techniques; fastening, balance, and scale

Both class and outside assignments have set deadlines to keep the pace challenging.

Objectives: Upon completion of the course, the student will have a grasp of the basic issues of drawing, painting, and sculpture, and be ready to go into Intermediate Studio Art challenges.

Resource Material: Virtual and digital media, and the library and instructor's book collections. Related field trips to area galleries and museums including MASS MoCA in North Adams, and the ICA and Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Curricular Interconnections: Introductory Studio Art is directly tied to the schoolwide Learning Lab Method. By practicing the creative process through investigation, passion, and seeking authentic audience, students readily tie in their other learning across disciplines. Introductory Studio Art is an excellent starting place for any student. The skills and concepts draw heavily on the middle school foundation of art skills taught in the classroom, as well as the 8th grade arts elective offerings.

Intermediate Studio Art

Intermediate Studio Art

Prerequisite: Studio Foundations or permission of instructor

Grade Level: 10–12

Length of Course: Half-Year

Credits: 1/2

Overview: Intermediate Studio Art is a design and art course that involves creation of 2D and 3D art projects. The course is designed as a structured, skill-building course for students who are interested in continuing beyond the basics in the visual arts. Part of the structure of the class allows students to experiment and problem-solve with different art forms and media. The media will involve a variety of materials including: paint, colored pencil, clay, wire, recycled materials, printmaking, and computer software. The students’ success depends largely on effort and attitude within the studio setting.

  • Illustration from observation and memory. Color pencil techniques will be introduced and utilized including color blending and color theory.
  • Printmaking using block cut, linoleum techniques and/or etching and monoprints. Registration techniques will be introduced and utilized.
  • Three-dimensional sculpture using clay, wire, foam core, papers, and collage. Process and concepts will be stressed.
  • Pen and ink illustration from observation and professional artists' influences. Design and typography will be stressed.
  • Watercolor painting in large format, reflective of tondo paintings from the Renaissance era. Traditional and contemporary techniques will be introduced and utilized.
  • Acrylic painting of magnified image concentration on texture, line, shape, pattern, and complementary color.
  • Dream/nightmare “scape” 2d and 3d sculpture utilizing techniques and materials of the artist's choosing. Concept of the idea and visual images are stressed.

Resource Material: Use of art studio library of art books. Videos about individual artists, trips to the Worcester Art Museum, and a day expedition to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Student exhibits at Bancroft and with local and Boston student arts exhibitions.

Advanced Studio Art

Advanced Studio Art

Prerequisite: Intermediate Studio Art
Grade Level: 11–12
Length of Course: Full-Year
Credits: 1

Overview: Advanced Studio Art is designed as a structured, investigative course for students who are interested in building on skills learned in Studio Foundations and Intermediate Studio Art, exploring creative possibilities more deeply, and possibly preparing a portfolio. The course is divided into a series of Units, and the units in turn are broken down into projects that students complete step-by-step. The Units in Advanced Studio Art are:

Advanced Drawing Skills: Sustained still-life, figure drawing, and work with multiple drawing media.

Advanced Oil and Acrylic Painting: Painting on canvas, enlarging, and Chiaroscuro will be taught.

Advanced Sculpture/New Media: More complex sculpture challenges, such as clay, assemblages, and using found objects for sculptural balance.

Both class and outside assignments have set deadlines to keep the pace challenging.

Objectives: Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to draw, paint, and sculpt sufficiently well to enter a college-level foundation program. The student will understand the basics of 2D and 3D design, and will have begun to prepare a portfolio for college.

Resource Material: Gallery talks and work with visiting artists. Virtual and digital media, and the library and instructor's book collections. Related field trips to area galleries and museums including MASS MoCA in North Adams and the ICA and Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Ongoing student exhibits at Bancroft and with submissions to local, Boston, and New England juried student arts exhibitions.

 

AP Studio Art

AP Studio Art

Prerequisite: Advanced Studio Art
Grade Level: 12
Length of Course: Full-year
Credits: One

Additional Prerequisites:
All of our Studio Art classes are sequential and designed to culminate with the AP Studio class. Studio I introduces students to the elements and principles of design, life and imaginary drawing, color theory, and acrylic painting. Studio II further builds on skills from Studio I and also introduces students to 3D design and various printmaking techniques. Studio III is a pre-AP class in which students further the knowledge gained in the previous two class levels with more advanced and sophisticated projects and a greater breadth of materials and approaches. Studio III students are also introduced to oil painting and advanced sculpture techniques. Students are also strongly encouraged to take intensive, multi-week “Pre-College Visual Art Workshops” in the summer after completing Studio III, in preparation for both their college applications and AP Studio Art. (Our school also provides specific courses in Digital Media, Digital Photography, Ceramics and Photography that students can take at any level to further strengthen their portfolio.)

Overview: AP Studio Art is a continuation of Studio 3, with the overall curriculum more specifically directed by the requirements of the Advanced Placement portfolio due in May. Under the instructor’s supervision, students must exercise autonomy and good planning to set the pace for completion and photographs of their portfolio. The projects in AP Studio include advanced drawing, painting, sculpture, and graphics projects depending upon which of the three AP Portfolios the student chooses. Each portfolio also has a “Concentration” requirement, which requires that the student choose a particular direction or motif for their work.

Objectives: Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to draw, paint, or sculpt sufficiently well to either enter or be given credit towards a college-level foundation program. The student will understand the basics of 2D or 3D design, and will have prepared a portfolio that demonstrates their skills, breadth, and creativity.

Student Assessment Based Upon:

• Risk taking and investment in the creative process

• Quality and amount of work completed in and outside of class

• Critique participation and feedback integration

• Development of concentration, quality, and breadth

Resource Material: Gallery talks and work with visiting artists. Virtual and digital media, and the library and instructor's book collections. Related field trips to area galleries and museums including Mass MoCA in North Adams and the ICA and Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Ongoing student exhibits at Bancroft and submissions to local, Boston, and New England juried student arts exhibitions.

Introductory Ceramics

Introductory Ceramics

Prerequisite: None
Grade Level: 9-12
Length of Course: Half-Year
Credits: 1/2

Overview:

  • History of Clay
  • Pinch hand-building method, study of form
  • Coil hand-building, Native American pottery
  • Slab structure, tiles
  • Use of glazes
  • Decorative glaze application, wax resist, oxides
  • Wheel throwing, trimming
  • Sculpture

Objectives: Introductory Ceramics introduces students to the history of clay as an art form and provide an opportunity to work creatively in an exciting three-dimensional medium. Students will learn the basics of hand-building techniques and beginning wheel throwing while exploring the use of design to enhance forms. They will design sculptural pieces that enhance their creative ability and require planning, yet allow room for experimentation. Museum field trips, slides, and videos are all presented so that students will understand the value ceramics plays in the art world.

Advanced Ceramics

Advanced Ceramics

Prerequisite: Introductory Ceramics or permission of instructor
Grade Level: 9 -12
Length of course: Half-Year
Credits: 1/2

Overview: Advanced Ceramics is designed to expand on the Introductory Ceramics course, with emphasis on further development of skills while working in clay. Students will work on both hand-building and wheel-forming assignments, and will increase their knowledge of firing and glazing procedures. Creative thinking, problem solving, and technical development through demonstrations and discussions will be fostered. The following units are covered:

  1. Form and Function: Assignments include creating well-formed clay vessels that are even in weight and glazed appropriately so that they are not only pleasing to look at, but also serve a useful purpose.
  2. Surface and Form: We cover creative use of surface treatments such as slips and stains to enhance clay pieces. Students will work with molds so that the forming process can be done rather quickly and the emphasis placed on creative surface design.
  3. Sculpture: Students will complete a free-form sculpture assignment, experiment with carving tools, and enhance with glaze or paints. Students will also create a thrown piece that has sculptural elements added to it.
  4. Field Experience: A trip to the Worcester Center for Crafts or a local working studio artist’s facility is planned. Students will actively participate in either a Raku or Soda firing experience.

Digital Media

Digital Media

Prerequisites: None
Grade Level: 9-12
Length of Course: Full-Year
Credits: 1/2

Overview:  This course will allow students to develop graphic designs skills and learn how to apply them for more professional and effective presentations and communications. The software used is the current industry standard.

  • Design Essentials: Research, typography, contrast, layout, grid systems, identity, logos, critique and analysis
  • Principles of graphic design
  • Uses of technology/ symbols/ imaging/ engineering design process
  • Scanning, printing, resolutions, and image property information
  • Introduction to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign

Sample projects:

  • Designing CD/DVD covers
  • Antique photo restoration
  • Design a company logo and branding/advertising
  • Design packaging for a product
  • Poster for a social cause
  • Brochures
  • Magazine covers
  • Basic web pages

Objectives: To develop skills in the technical and aesthetic use of computer equipment and applications in order to produce digital graphics, and learn desktop publishing applications.

Resource Material: Handouts and demonstrations; www.atomiclearning.com

Global Art History

Global Art History 

Prerequisites: None*
Grade Level: 11–12
Length of Course: Full-year
Credits: 1

Overview: Global Art History is a chronological survey of painting, sculpture, architecture, and photography from non-western and western traditions. Works from China, India, Japan, South America, Meso-America, and Africa will also be introduced so students can understand the ideas and concepts that unite the art of these cultures with the time periods within the Western tradition. This curriculum will enable students to explore the many cultural traditions and diverse art practices that shape contemporary art in our current time. Field trips to local museums, class projects, research papers, oral presentations, as well as quizzes and tests will all be part of this course.

Objectives: Students will be required to build a vocabulary of art and architectural terms through quizzes and class discussions. Critical thinking skills will be acquired through slide comparisons as well as written assignments. Hands-on studio art projects related to each chapter will give the students an opportunity to understand art by making art.

Resource Material: Slide presentations supplemented by class and project activities for each chapter of the textbook. Our class work is supplemented by videos, trips to the Worcester Art Museum, and by a daylong expedition to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Curricular Interconnections: The potential for connection with courses in other departments, especially History and English, is almost constant in this course. Any area of human knowledge is potentially relevant to this course, and concepts from the fields of cosmology, the history of science, and psychology often come up.

*Global Art History, while it has no formal prerequisite, is usually taken by juniors and seniors who have had the experience of a number of secondary-level history courses and may also have taken studio courses. The opportunity is there to make connections, and the teacher uses 'teachable moments' to encourage these.

Digital Photography

Digital Photography

Grade Level: 9-12
Length of Course: Half-Year (Spring)
Credits: 1/2

Overview:

Photo History

  • Camera Obscura Room
  • Photogenic Drawing (Photograms)
  • Early Portraits
  • Roll Film and the Invention of the Shutter
  • Photojournalism
  • Fine Art Photography
  • Darkroom Photography
  • Pinhole Cameras
  • Still-Life Photography

Digital Photography

  • Basics Review
  • Words and Images
  • Panorama
  • Diptychs
  • HDR Photos and Histograms
  • Influential Photographers Research Project
  • In the style of Photographer Research Project
  • Body of Work Independent Project One
  • Body of Work Independent Project Two
  • Digital Portfolio

Objectives: This class will enable students to develop advanced skills in the technical and aesthetic use of digital cameras, related computer equipment, and applications such as Adobe Photoshop to produce high-resolution digital prints. The History of Photography will also be covered. This second-semester course is open to students who have completed Introduction to Digital Photography.

Resource Material: Virtual and digital media, and the library and instructor's photo book collections. Related field trips to area galleries or museums.

Curricular Interconnections:  Compositional relationships with Studio Art Classes, relation to Modern and U.S. History classes, writing across the curriculum with final project statement.

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