Visual Arts Courses

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The following courses satisfy the Arts Program graduation requirement. Each course is an intensive foundation course designed to give students a thorough introduction to basic techniques, principles of design thinking and visual communication, and the artistic expression of ideas. After completing a foundation level course, students are encouraged to pursue areas in greater depth in the program’s elective courses.

Notes:

  • These courses require no previous experience. Students with little experience will be supported in their learning in a step-by-step process. Students who have had some experience with the material will be challenged by more advanced options within each project area as the course progresses.

  • Students with definite interest in visual art are strongly encouraged to take their first course in Class III so that they may take an advanced course in Classes I or II in time to complete a college portfolio. Each of these Arts Program courses will give students opportunities to produce some of the work necessary to begin a college portfolio should they choose to do so.

  • In lieu of textbook charges, and to cover the cost of supplies, a visual arts fee will apply each semester, with amounts varying per course.

 

apdp
Drawing|Painting + Design
Satisfies Arts Program Requirement
Classes I, II & III
In this intensive, year-long foundations course, students will be introduced to the foundations of drawing and painting in the fall semester. In the spring semester, they will apply those techniques with design thinking in dimension and relief, printmaking, digital imaging and composition, and new media. This course, for students who like making and creating, allows beginners to succeed and experienced students to be challenged. All assignments are hands-on and studio-based, with basic exercises culminating in major projects. Students will learn visual language, apply techniques, and solve problems by means of a creative process, all supplemented by a broad introduction to art history, aesthetics and criticism, and the most contemporary modes of art-making. Each student will be urged to explore ideas, experiment with an open mind, and make expressions personal, dramatic and original. The course will include field trips to art museums and contact with professional artists.

appDI
Photography|Digital Imaging + Design
Satisfies Arts Program Requirement
Classes I, II & III
photo1_3
This course introduces students to the art of seeing and picture-making from its analog origins to today’s digital contemporary practices. In the first semester, students will work with a 35 mm film camera, concepts of exposure, and techniques of developing film and wet printing. Students will develop their eye and composition skills through hands-on projects that also provide exposure to the great canon of photographic masters; deepen their own expressive ability; and gain an understanding of how photography was developed from the late 19th century through the first half of the 20th century. In the second semester, students will shift into the digital realm, working with DSLRs and becoming fluent with industry standard programs such as Adobe Bridge, Photoshop and CameraRaw, all through application tutorials and project-based learning. All projects will introduce contemporary photographers and address the growth of this medium, with the advent of color and digital technology. Students will feel confident in their understanding of the medium both technically and artistically, and with their ability to access the visual language to express their ideas.

apsc
Sculpture|Ceramics + 3-D Design
Satisfies Arts Program Requirement
Classes I, II & III
This course centers on the three-dimensional design and construction of functional and artistic objects. Students solve a series of design problems in a hands-on way; acquire skill in the use of hand and power tools; and learn design principles that inform both industrial and fine arts. Projects may include the making of clocks, rustic furniture, toys, kinetic sculptures, architectural models, inventions and material-inspired expressions. Students will consider the difference between unity and variety, explore the relationship of art to utility, and learn basic concepts of form, space, rhythm, balance and function. Does form always follow function? What works? What is good design? What is beautiful? Why?

apTMD
Technology|Media + Design
Satisfies Arts Program Requirement
Classes I, II & III
This course introduces the basic principles and practices of design using contemporary, new and rising technologies. The course is project-based, emphasizing hands-on instruction, experimentation and exploration in new media, including digital imaging and graphic design, animation, industrial design with 3-D modeling and printing, and environmental/installation art. Particular emphasis will be placed on imaginative innovation and critical thinking, and the exploration of both existing and new interpretations of design in contemporary art. Students will be expected to reach beyond current definitions and boundaries of traditional art forms and applications in a collaborative spirit of discovery.

apFD
Filmmaking + Design
Satisfies Arts Program Requirement
Classes I, II & III
This course introduces students to the basic principles and practices of digital movie making, visual storytelling, and cinematography. The course is project-based, emphasizing hands-on instruction and exploration in the creation of short films. Students learn the basics of pre-production, effective camera technique, the editing process, and production management.

Semester, Half-course and Full-course Electives

Classes I & II

The department offers advanced level courses in art and design for students who wish to study specific areas in depth. Students will develop higher-level skills, interpret more sophisticated ideas, and create work on a more ambitious scale. Although these courses are structured with themes and assignments, students will work in an increasingly independent way.

The department recommends (but does not require) that a student who elects a first semester course take a second semester course as well. The department strongly recommends semester over half courses, but will consider requests from students who can only pursue a course for half credit. Requests for any of these half courses must be made in the spring because later adjustments in the schedule may not be possible.

The prerequisite for semester and half course electives is a full-year arts program course or the equivalent. The visual arts department recommends that students take Drawing|Painting + Design, Sculpture|Ceramics + 3-D Design, Photography|Digital Imaging + Design, Technology|Media + Design or Filmmaking + Design before taking an elective. Preference may be given to students who have taken these courses. Permission to take an advanced course may be denied if a student’s preparation or experience is insufficient. Such permission must be obtained from the department chair before registering for these courses.

ardf
Advanced Drawing
(Semester 1)
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In this course, students will explore major genres of drawing in both black and white and in color. After an intensive review of line, volume, space and light, students will focus on how to see and draw in “relational” terms. Both collaborative and individual projects will guide students in drawing the human face and figure, the landscape, architecture, abstraction or the use of alternative materials (including sculptural drawing and printmaking). The class will take drawing excursions around campus and to other nearby areas, including Boston museums. The culmination of the course is a large-scale drawing project blending realistic observational drawing with drawing from imagination, fantasy and abstraction. (Prerequisite: Permission of the department.)

arPHDf
Advanced Photography: Digital Imaging
(Semester 1)
advphoto1_3
This course builds upon foundational skills to explore photography in the digital age. In a hands-on, project-based curriculum, students work exclusively with DSLRs and push their understanding of the medium and their own personal creativity. Projects will introduce some of today’s most revolutionary photographers, and will ask students to reimagine how photography can be manipulated as a mode for personal and artistic expression. Students will increase their fluency in programs such as Adobe Bridge, Photoshop and CameraRaw, learning advanced editing techniques through supplemental tutorials and projects. Throughout the semester, students will explore studio lighting, experiment with scanners, and learn advanced printing skills using medium and large format printers. A portfolio of finished and mounted prints will be expected, including large format display prints. Support for the creation of portfolios for college admission will be integral to early work. (Prerequisite: Permission of the department.)

arsf
Advanced Sculpture
(Semester 1)
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In this course, students will explore a range of ideas and possibilities through hands-on work. The course will begin with concepts around installation and site-specific works. Students learn to hand-build with clay, to design and construct large wooden forms, to carve soapstone, to weld with metal, or to cast forms with plaster. By investigating properties of shape, form and surface, and by using a variety of hand and power tools, students acquire technical skills and self-confidence in self-expression. Project themes may range from the abstract to the symbolic. Past projects have included surrealistic transformations of found objects like computers or windows, interpretive self-portraits in Joseph Cornell-style boxes, and the welding of life-sized figures. (Prerequisite: Permission of the department.)

ARTMF
Advanced Technology and Media
(Semester 1)
Building upon the technology foundations course that surveys many design genres, this class delves into a semester-long study of graphic design. Otherwise known as communication design, this art form focuses on how to effectively express ideas through visual art and textual content. Student will study art and images, typography, and layout for both the physical and virtual world (print versus digital content). Projects will emphasize originality and hands-on experimentation of advanced applications in technology. Two dimensional work will be primarily composed in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop but may also include animation with Flash and 3-D modeling and printing. (Prerequisite: Permission of the department.)

arps
Advanced Painting
(Semester 2)
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In this course, students will explore painting technique across a variety of media, primarily using water-soluble oils, but also acrylic or watercolor. Students will be challenged to “think in color” and to “see the light” in relation to form and space; they will paint both from “life” and from their imaginations. Subjects may range from abstract works, still life, the human face and figure, and the landscape, to stories and fantasies of surrealistic and invented worlds. Each student will work to develop his or her own personal vision through an experience of different styles and techniques. Field trips may be part of this course, intended to expose students to the contemporary art scene. (Prerequisite: Permission of the department.)

arPMS
Advanced Printmaking
(Semester 2)
In this course, students will explore the basics of four major forms of printmaking: monoprint, intaglio, woodcut and silkscreen. The course begins with understanding image making, using a matrix or indirect source, and then investigating drawing, line, shape and tone through black and white imagery. Students will learn to create small editions of prints, multiple-color images, and large poster-size prints. Both traditional and contemporary techniques will be emphasized, using hand printing methods as well as incorporating digital media. The course will also speak to the historical development of printmaking and its role and influence on today’s society. Field trips and guest speakers may be a part of the course, to introduce students to movements in contemporary printmaking, from journalism to poster art. (Prerequisite: permission of the department.)

arpAs
Advanced Photography: Alternative Processes
(Semester 2)
This course builds upon foundational techniques in digital and analog photography, working both in the digital/technical design realm and returning to the darkroom to explore alternative processes in photography. In a hands-on, project-based curriculum, students experiment with new kinds of cameras such as medium format Holgas, fish-eyes, panoramas and pin-holes. Students will refine their darkroom skills; explore different printing techniques, such as multiple exposures and solarizations, mono-printing and cyanotypes; and learn how to produce refined final prints on fiber paper. Students will study photographic masters from the past and present who have challenged the traditional uses of the medium, pushing both the technical and expressive boundaries of creativity. A portfolio of finished and mounted prints will be expected, including large format display prints. Support for the creation of portfolios for college admission will be integral to early work. (Prerequisite: Permission of the department.)

arCs
Advanced Ceramics
(Semester 2)
ceramics2_3
This course covers the foundational techniques of working with clay: sculptural hand-building, slab and coil construction, wheel-throwing and glazing. The course emphasizes individual expression in clay, whether artistic or functional. Projects range from traditional teapots and bowls, to surrealistic transformations of objects, to large abstract sculptural expressions. Past projects have included totems of male and female figures, and ceremonial objects and heads. (Prerequisite: Permission of the department.)

ART3DS
Advanced Technology and 3-D Design
(Semester 2)
This course builds off foundational skills in technology to explore in greater depth the broad fields of design in today’s world. Coursework will be project-based with an emphasis on experimentation, expression and collaboration. Students will gain an increasing command of visual 3-D design through virtual and physical projects including 3D-modeling and printing, sculpture, industrial design or installation/environmental work. Students will delve into advanced applications of latest technology and utilize techniques creatively. (Prerequisite: Permission of the department.)

ARFH
Advanced Filmmaking
(Half Course)
Building on the foundation of knowledge, skills and techniques learned in the Filmmaking + Design course, this course seeks to strengthen students’ mastery of story writing, production management, directing, camera use, and editing. Students will study and create short films using digital video. (Prerequisite: Permission of the department.)

ARDFH
Advanced Documentary Film
(Half Course)
This course is an exploration of the research techniques, methods and skills associated with creating documentaries. In the course students will produce a documentary from exploration, to implementation, to execution and presentation. With room for creativity and invention, students will explore the “raw material of reality” and endeavor to construct an account that is visually engaging and conceptually appealing to a broad audience. After selecting topics and finding mentors in their area of interest, students will shoot and edit their documentaries, then present their work publicly. (Prerequisite: permission of the department.)

aOdpf
Advanced Portfolio: Drawing|Painting
(Semester 1)
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This is a seminar-based course for Class I students, designed to meet the individual needs of students with visual ideas they wish to explore in-depth in drawing, painting and/or printmaking, through an extended series of works around a particular theme or concept. Most students will use this class to complete work for their college portfolios. Interested students could also complete the requirements for the Advanced Placement Studio Art: Drawing portfolio with continued study in the spring semester through the Advanced Portfolio: Independent Studio Seminar class. Working together in a classroom format, students will benefit from dialogue with each other, critiques and field trips. (Prerequisite: At least one, and preferably more than one, advanced semester elective, or permission of the department.)

aOSCf
Advanced Portfolio: Sculpture|Ceramics
(Semester 1)
This is a seminar-based course for Class I students, designed to meet the individual needs of students with visual ideas they wish to explore in-depth in sculpture and/or ceramics, through an extended series of works around a particular theme or concept. Most students will use this class to complete work for their college portfolios. Interested students could also complete the requirements for the Advanced Placement Studio Art: 3-D Design portfolio with continued study in the spring semester through the Advanced Portfolio: Independent Studio Seminar class. Working together in a classroom format, students will benefit from dialogue with each other, critiques and field trips. (Prerequisite: At least one, and preferably more than one, advanced semester elective, or permission of the department.)

aOPDIf
Advanced Portfolio: Photography|Digital Imaging
(Semester 1)
This is a seminar-based course for Class I students, designed to meet the individual needs of students with visual ideas they wish to explore in-depth in photography and/or digital imaging, through an extended series of works around a particular theme or concept. Most students will use this class to complete work for their college portfolios. Interested students could also complete the requirements for the Advanced Placement Studio Art: 2-D Design portfolio with continued study in the spring semester through the Advanced Portfolio: Independent Studio Seminar class. Working together in a classroom format, students will benefit from dialogue with each other, critiques and field trips. (Prerequisite: At least one, and preferably more than one, advanced semester elective, or permission of the department.)

aOFf
Advanced Portfolio: Filmmaking
(Semester 1)
This is a seminar-based course for Class I students, designed to meet the individual needs of students with visual ideas they wish to explore in-depth in film, through an extended series of works around a particular theme or concept. Most students will use this class to complete work for their college portfolios. Interested students could also complete the requirements for the Advanced Placement Studio Art: 2-D Design portfolio with continued study in the spring semester through the Advanced Portfolio: Independent Studio Seminar class. Working together in a classroom format, students will benefit from dialogue with each other, critiques and field trips. (Prerequisite: At least one, and preferably more than one, advanced semester elective, or permission of the department.)

aOISS
Advanced Portfolio: Independent Studio Seminar
(Semester 2)
This seminar is a capstone course offering Class I students the opportunity to explore subjects beyond the traditional studio art curriculum, either as a series of independent works or as class projects. Assignments will span contemporary art modes and will include a variety of media and ideas. Genres may include digital imaging, traditional or alternative processes of photography/digital-imaging, film/moving-image, printmaking, installation art, ceramics, sculpture, painting or drawing. Students may also explore cross-disciplinary connections, particularly regarding the use of technology in creating art, or with the sciences or humanities. Interested students could also complete the requirements for the Advanced Placement Studio Art portfolio in Drawing, 2-D or 3-D Design. Projects may be inspired by work with professional artists, including Nesto Gallery exhibitors. The course culminates in a major independent project that may precede or extend into a senior project. (Prerequisite: A full-year Arts Program course in Visual Art, at least one, and preferably more than one, advanced semester elective, an Advanced Portfolio elective, and permission of the department.)

aHART
History of Art
(Full Course)
In this course, students will study the cultural history that emerges from art images created by ancient and modern cultures. These images address the heart and soul of those cultures. The tour ranges from pre-historic stone carved fertility goddesses to modern art installations, an international movement in which classical structural has been rejected. Our study tracks the ebb and flow of these developments. This class will help students build their visual acuity in order to get at the heart of the artist’s intention through an analysis of the specific form and content of the work. We will look at the intersection of a culture’s prevailing set of ideas and how the art of the time supported or attacked those values. For example, as the European Industrial Revolution was well underway, painters like Manet and Degas refuted painting forms that had been the standard since the Renaissance. Secondary documents, reflections and analysis by art historians will be used to add texture and depth to the students’ understanding of the art. Interpretation, analysis and essay writing are emphasized. This course includes field trips.