Art Department Chair: Ambria Archibald
The art curriculum of Holton-Arms actively engages each student in the process of discovering their creative vision while acquiring technical skills and gaining historical and cultural perspectives. Art courses in the Middle School provide general introductions to studio art, photography, and ceramics, and reinforce skills and concepts learned at the primary level. Courses in the Upper School offer students opportunities to concentrate their study within one discipline. Students work closely with members of the art faculty who encourage inquiry, experimentation, and excellence. Studios are spacious, well-equipped, and open to students throughout the day. In addition to acquiring the various skills and techniques involved in a specific art discipline, the experience of creating art directly relates to the development of critical thinking, mental discipline, self-confidence, and the ability to solve problems. The art curriculum provides developmentally appropriate and challenging training for each student to express herself while nurturing the artistic process so that it becomes incorporated into her daily life.
Four (4) credits in the Fine and/or Performing arts are required for graduation.
Art 3, Grade level: 3
Introduction to the Elements of Art while exploring “Self”. Students will reflect on their perspective and how their experiences impact how they view the world.
Art 4, Grade level: 4
Exploration of the Elements of Art While recognizing and Identifying the Identity of Others. Students will explore how community, race and social groups impact our perspectives.
Art 5, Grade level: 5
Students will compare the Elements of Art to the Principles of Design while exploring the identity of the group.
Art 6, Grade level: 6
Students will develop designs using the Elements of Art and Principles of Design to reflect social, cultural and group identities.
Art 7, Grade level: 7 (required)
Art 7 is a studio art class that provides students with a multi-media approach to the visual arts. This is a transitional course that continues to build upon skills introduced in Lower School and begins to lay the foundation for further Middle and Upper School art study. Techniques in graphic design, drawing, painting, collage, and photography are explored. Although these may vary slightly from year to year, emphasis is placed on the development of observational and technical skills, exploration of personal identity, and the use of visual tools to communicate effectively. Integration with other Middle School disciplines is practiced frequently.
Art 8, Grade level: 8 (elective)
Art 8 is a studio art class that students may elect to take for one, two, or three trimesters. Each trimester new media are explored through a combination of short- and long-term projects. Over the course of the full year, students explore drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, and design, preparing students for more specialized art courses offered in the Upper School. Emphasis continues to be placed on the development of observational and technical skills, exploration of personal identity, and the use of art to communicate big ideas. This course encourages creativity and a variety of solutions to design problems. Students should indicate a preference for one, two, or three trimesters on their course registration form.
Art Tech Exploration, Grade level: 7-8 (elective)
Art Tech Exploration is a project-based class where students will tackle one real-life design challenge within the trimester using lessons in art/design, science, technology, engineering, and math. This one-trimester “STEAM” course (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) will build off of the Design Technology classes experienced in the Holton Lower School.
Introductory level, trimester-long courses that meet half as often as core academic subjects.
Advanced level, year-long courses that meet as often in a cycle as core academic subjects. Once a student has completed a full year of an advanced art course, they can drop down to two trimesters the following year.
All Upper School courses can be repeated for credit. With each successive enrollment, increasing emphasis is placed on individualizing the curriculum to accommodate the student’s personal direction in the visual arts. Students who have taken multiple art courses are encouraged to submit a slide/digital portfolio with their college applications.
ART101: Drawing and Painting
Grade level: 9-12, Credit: 1 per trimester
This introductory Upper School studio course concentrates on drawing and oil painting, as well as watercolor and collage. Students are encouraged to explore many forms of creative expression as they continue to develop basic skills and an understanding of aesthetic expression. This course may be repeated, and students should register for one, two, or three trimesters.
Grade level: 9-12, Credit: 1 per trimester
This course introduces students to clay as a medium of expression through hand-building techniques of pinching, coiling, and slab construction. Special attention is given to craftsmanship and the development of aesthetic expression. Both terracotta and stoneware are used, and various techniques of surface decoration are explored. Students will continue to build their visual literacy through class discussions and critiques. This course may be repeated, and students should note if they want to register for one, two, or three trimesters.
ART 141: Photography
Grade level: 9-12, Credit: 1 per trimester
This course explores the art of seeing and self-expression in black and white photography. It introduces the use of the 35 mm camera, film exposure and processing, and darkroom printing. Equal emphasis is given to technical understanding and compositional ideas. The course briefly explores the history of photography and the role of aesthetic principles in making strong images. The school owns 35 mm cameras which students may borrow. Students supply their own photographic paper and film, which are available for purchase in the School Store. All other basic supplies are provided. This course may be repeated, and students should note if they want to register for one, two, or three trimesters.
ART 150: Graphic Design I
Grade Level: 9-12, Credit: 1 per trimester
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of Graphic Design. Students complete both hand-drawn projects, as well as foundational computer exercises to understand how to use the standard graphic design software, Adobe InDesign. This project-based class further develops students' understanding of design thinking.
ART 300: Advanced Drawing and Painting: Full Year
Grade level: 10-12, Prerequisite: ART 101 or Departmental permission, Credit: 3
ART 300: Advanced Drawing and Painting: Two Trimesters
Grade level: 11-12, Prerequisites: ART 101, ART300: Full Year, Credit: 1 per trimester
Advanced Drawing and Painting continues the study of art as a visual language explored in Drawing and Painting, ART 101. Students wishing to take Advanced Drawing and Painting for the first time will be required to take it for the whole year. In subsequent years, students whose course load precludes them from taking the major for all three trimesters may register for two trimesters. Advanced Drawing and Painting explores the more complex issues of color, composition, and space through exercises in drawing, oil painting, and watercolor. While the use of traditional materials and techniques is taught, the focus of the course is to teach students to see the relationship between technical skills and aesthetic expression. The course will also help students prepare a portfolio for the college admissions process.
ART 330: Advanced Ceramics: Full Year
Grade level: 10-12, Prerequisite: ART 131 or Departmental permission, Credit: 3
ART 330: Advanced Ceramics: Two Trimesters
Grade level: 11-12, Prerequisites: ART 131, Advanced Ceramics: Full Year, Credit: 1 per trimester
Advanced Ceramics continues and intensifies the study of ceramics begun in Ceramics, ART 131. Students wishing to take Advanced Ceramics for the first time will be required to take it for the whole year. In subsequent years, students whose course load precludes them from taking the major for all three trimesters may register for two trimesters. Hand-building is the main focus of the Advanced Ceramics curriculum. Both functional and sculptural projects are assigned in the exploration and development of personal expression. Other important aspects of Advanced Ceramics include working with a larger variety of different clays, and both oxidation and reduction (when applicable) firing processes. The course will also help students prepare a portfolio for the college admissions process.
ART 340: Advanced Photography: Full Year
Grade level: 10-12, Prerequisite: ART 141 or Departmental permission, Credit: 3
ART 340: Advanced Photography: Two Trimesters
Grade level: 11-12, Prerequisites: ART 141, Advanced Photography: Full Year, Credit: 1 per trimester
Advanced Photography continues and intensifies the study of photography begun in Photography, ART 141. Students wishing to take Advanced Photography for the first time will be required to take it for the whole year. In subsequent years, students whose course load precludes them from taking the major for all three trimesters may register for two trimesters. Advanced Photography explores various styles of shooting: landscape, documentary, and portraiture, with an emphasis on developing a point of view. Students learn to use different films and basic studio lighting. This course includes a unit on digital color photography in which students shoot with digital cameras provided by the school, manipulate the print in Photoshop, and learn the mechanics of color printing. Students are responsible for providing film and paper, which are available for purchase in the School Store. All other basic supplies are provided, including 35 mm cameras as well as digital SLR cameras. All advanced art classes will share trimester-long themes to facilitate dialogue and understanding across disciplines. Themes will be revealed in the Fall of each year. The course will also help students prepare a portfolio for the college admissions process.
ART 151 Graphic Design II: Two Trimesters
Grade Level: 10-12, Prerequisite: ART 150: Graphic Design I, Credit: 2
This course provides students who have taken the ART 150: Graphic Design I class the opportunity to work at a more advanced level, exploring the Adobe Suite further as well as focusing on publication layout, poster design, motion graphics, and website design. Students who hope to participate in the leadership level of the Scroll or Scribe publications are highly encouraged to take this course (and its prerequisite). This course will be scheduled as a two-trimester minor (meeting half as frequently as academic courses).
Applications in Graphic Design: Scroll, Scribe
Grade level: 11-12, Prerequisites: 2 Trimesters of Visual Arts, Art Department Permission, Publication Advisor permission
This independent course is specifically designed for Scroll and Scribe leadership and the most dedicated club members. It is not a scheduled class. Assessment will be based on students' ability to meet predetermined benchmarks, including, but not limited to, periodic critiques with a panel of art teachers and the publications advisor.