In Middle School, students focus consistently on drawing and design concepts along with learning special techniques in painting, graphics and sculpture.
Each student begins a sketchbook in Middle One. It is used in conjunction with studio projects, and they maintain them until Middle Four. The sketchbooks are intended to build an understanding of art as an investigation in developing ideas, exploring process, making connections to different traditions and learning specific skills and vocabulary. A digital portfolio is also begun in Middle One and continues through the rest of the student’s art program. This portfolio enables students and teachers to become more aware of progress, strengths, and tendencies in each student and the program as a whole. It provides appropriate exemplars for assessment and a record for the student.
Breakdown by Grade
Middle One students are provided with a rich and varied experience in the visual arts. They use a variety of materials, tools, techniques and media to express their ideas, observations and feelings. Activities help students understand concepts, engage their imaginations and work together. Over time, students acquire individual artistic styles and practical skills. Students use specific vocabulary and terminology as they discuss their own and others’ work. By critically analyzing, interpreting and evaluating art pieces, they improve the quality of their finished products as well as their understanding of processes. Art projects are linked to other areas of the curriculum when opportunities for meaningful connections exist. An understanding and appreciation of the role and importance of art in history and culture is a goal of the program.
Middle Two students use their imaginations to create art works in response to personal experiences and cultural study. They develop skills in a wide range of media and learn approaches to problem solving through projects that are multilayered processes. Activities help students understand and apply the principles of design to communicate ideas and expression. Students gain knowledge and understanding of the social, cultural, aesthetic contexts of art and appreciate works of art from these cultural perspectives. Students gain understanding of the impact that artists have had on civilizations and how to use and appreciate the art classroom as a studio where the social, intellectual and physical aspects of artistic study take place.
The Middle Three two-dimensional curriculum is designed to build understanding and practice of spatial representation. Artworks are examined to see how spatial and temporal concepts are portrayed. Drawing skills such as contour, tonal gradients and color are developed in the application of perspective. Still life paintings, ceramics and collage will also be studied. Three-dimensional work may include modeling, construction or carving techniques. Styles and traditions of art making relevant to projects and other subject units are examined and discussed. Interdisciplinary projects are developed in conjunction with the English and Humanities departments and occasionally other subject areas.
In Middle Four, the curriculum emphasizes the design process, color theory and drawing. Perspective skills learned in Middle Three are applied to new media, and printmaking as an extended process of different stages is practiced. Ways of perceiving works of art and contextual investigation are developed in discussion and the studio workbook. Sculptural work includes construction and modeling in ceramics. Students learn different ways of using forms from nature to develop compositional skills. Art movements such as Surrealism and Cubism are explored to develop students' perception of different types of art making and the potential of symbols to communicate narratives and personal ideas. Later, students research an artist of their choice and create an independent project that is inspired by or responds to the artist’s work.