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 foundations level course, students are encouraged to pursue areas in greater depth in the program’s advanced 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 advanced elective courses 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.

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 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.

Photography|Digital Imaging + Design
Satisfies Arts Program Requirement
Classes I, II & III
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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 learn the concepts of exposure with a digital camera before shifting to a 35mm film camera where the techniques of film development and wet darkroom printing will be taught. 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.

Sculpture|Ceramics + 3-D Design
Satisfies Arts Program Requirement
Classes I, II & III
This course introduces students to the foundations of three-dimensional design and the construction of functional and artistic objects. Students solve a series of design problems with hands-on projects, acquire skill in the use of hand and power tools, and learn design principles that inform both industrial and fine arts. Projects will be designed to explore a variety of techniques in diverse sculptural media such as wood, metal, clay, plaster and plastics. Students will address design challenges through creative processes, while learning about underlying concepts of art through discussions of art history, aesthetics and criticism. Digital processes including 3-D printing will also be explored. Students will be encouraged to investigate ideas, experiment with an open mind, and produce original and personal expressions.

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.

Film|Moving-Image + 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 and Half Course Electives

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 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 Film|Moving-Image + 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.

Advanced Drawing
(Semester 1)
Classes I & II
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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: Drawing|Painting + Design or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Photography: Digital Imaging
(Semester 1)
Classes I & II
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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, still life photography, advanced compositing and retouching, and printing with 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: Photography|Digital-Imaging + Design or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Sculpture
(Semester 1)
Classes I & II
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Advanced Sculpture builds upon foundational skills to explore a range of ideas and possibilities through a variety of three-dimensional projects. Students will be introduced to more advanced sculptural techniques involving additive and subtractive processes in materials such as wood, metal, plaster and stone. Students will be able to communicate concepts and intentions through the manipulation of subject matter, organizational components, media and processes. Projects will include both figurative and abstract creations and will explore design applications through contemporary modes of production. Working together in a classroom structure, students will benefit from dialogue with each other, critiques and field trips. (Prerequisite: Sculpture|Ceramics + Design or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Technology: Graphic Design
(Semester 1)
Classes I & II
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. Students 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: Technology|Media + Design or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Filmmaking
(Semester 1)
Classes I & II
Building on the foundation of knowledge, skills, and techniques learned in the Film|Moving-Image + 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: Film|Moving-Image + Design or permission of the department chair.)

History of Western Art
(Semester 1)
Classes I, II & III
This course traces the trajectory of European and Western Art from roots in ancient cultures to the 19th Century and include examples of contemporary art for comparison. Art can reveal to its audience the morals and priorities of a culture or simply allow us a glimpse into their fantasies. Onlookers may feel understood, inspired or excluded. We will contextualize works of art and artists in social and political context to better understand the tensions or harmonies therein, incorporating in-depth coverage of select artworks, periods, and artistic movements. The focus of our study is to critically engage with works of art with considerations of material, historical context, artist, and audience. Students will hone skills of visual analysis through close observation of artworks. In support, readings in art theory and art historical analysis from primary sources will be shared and students will be asked to synthesize ideas in essay writing. Insight into processes of various disciplines of artmaking will be gained through short hands-on studio assignments, as well as local field trips to Boston-area museums and galleries; and the course will also include an introduction to curatorial and editorial practice in Milton’s Nesto Gallery. Recommended in conjunction with Contemporary and Global Art Studies.

Advanced Painting
(Semester 2)
Classes I & II
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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: Drawing|Painting + Design or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Photography: Alternative Processes
(Semester 2)
Classes I & II
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, camera obscuras, pinhole cameras, and others. Darkroom skills will be refined and different printing techniques, such as multiple exposures, solarizations, photo transfers, and cyanotypes will be explored. Digital processes and alternative image manipulation in Photoshop will also be an integral part of this exploratory course. 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: Photography|Digital-Imaging + Design or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Ceramics
(Semester 2)
Classes I & II
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This course builds upon the foundational techniques of working with clay: sculptural hand-building, slab and coil construction, wheel throwing, mold-making, and glazing. Individual expression in clay, whether artistic or functional, will be emphasized. Students will be able to communicate concepts and intentions through the manipulation of subject matter, organizational components, and surface treatments. Projects will include traditional functional objects such as teapots and bowls, repetitive casting, and large abstract sculptural expressions. Students will gain a deeper understanding of both the historical and contemporary significance of ceramics through class discussions, critiques, and field trips. (Prerequisite: Sculpture|Ceramics + Design or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Technology: Industrial Design
(Semester 2)
Classes I & II
This course builds off foundational art and design skills in Technology, Media and Design and explores Industrial Design in greater depth. 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, and/ or installation and environmental work. Students will refine their visual sensibility, push their creativity, and deepen their design knowledge while using advanced applications of the latest technology. (Prerequisite: Technology|Media + Design or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Documentary Film
(Semester 2)
Classes I & II
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: Film|Moving-Image + Design or permission of the department chair.)

Contemporary and Global Art Studies
(Semester 2)
Classes I, II & III
This class will provide an introduction to global and contemporary art in terms of cultural, social, and political values from ancient civilizations to the present. The focus is on exposure to works of art from different times and diverse cultures. Art can reveal to its audience the morals and priorities of a culture or simply allow us a glimpse into their fantasies. Art may be state sponsored propaganda or personal dissent, and has the power to change the course of history. Viewers may feel understood, inspired, or excluded. We will seek to better understand the inclusion and exclusion of artists in the traditional canon of Western Art. We will read recent scholarship and scientific analysis that call into question the foundations of the traditional art historical timeline and hierarchy. We will contextualize works of art and artists in social and political context to better understand the tensions or harmonies. We will critically engage in looking at and reading works of art with considerations of material, historical context, artist, and audience. Students will discuss select works from different periods and cultures using comparative analysis and appropriate terminology. Through close observation of artworks, we will hone skills of visual analysis. Readings in art theory and art historical context from primary sources will be assigned and students will synthesize ideas and observations in essay writing. Students will gain insight into processes of various disciplines of artmaking through short hands-on studio assignments, a field trip to New York City museums and galleries, and practice of curatorial and editorial skills in Milton’s Nesto Gallery. Recommended in conjunction with History of Western Art.

Architecture
(Half Course)
Classes I, II & III
This course offers a project-based introduction to the concepts and processes of architectural design through the lens of the local community around us. Students will explore both two-dimensional and three-dimensional design through drawing formats of sketching, orthographic plan views, conceptual renderings of form, building structural studies, model making, Google Sketch-Up, and photography. Architectural styles and conceptual studies of form will also be reviewed and integrated within each project. (Prerequisite: permission of the department chair.)

Printmaking
(Half Course)
Classes I, II & III
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 chair.)

Textile Design
(Half Course)
Classes I, II & III
In this course, students will explore the endless possibilities of fabric art with projects that push the boundaries of their technical skills and expand their creative thought. Students will learn the principles of textile design and the elements associated, including color, texture, and form. While using this adaptable medium students will encounter the themes of community that have brought many groups of fabric artists together throughout history. There will be a wide scope of assignments in this class, from apparel design, embroidery, sculpture, quilt making, and more, all with an emphasis on individual growth and portfolio development. Both traditional and contemporary techniques will be taught. Field trips and guest speakers may be utilized to introduce students to contemporary artists in the area. (Prerequisite: permission of the department chair.)

UX Design
(Half Course)
Classes I, II & III
This project-based introduction to the user interface design process is oriented toward practical methods for approaching a design problem for web-based and app design. The focus of the course is to develop conceptual designs based on the needs of users. Students will receive grounding in the following topics: Digital Design Principles, User Research Methods, Design Sketching, and Design Validation Aims. Students will cultivate and develop an appreciation for concepts and sensibilities of user experience design, and develop skills in the use and application of specific methods in user experience design. Lessons on design will include color theory, typology, and layout principles. Sketch and InVision will be used for wireframing and prototyping. Students will incorporate and improve individual and collaborative skills in design problem solving. (Prerequisite: permission of the department chair.)

Film Production
(Half Course)
Class I, II & III
During this year-long, half-credit course students will work closely together and with a faculty director to produce a film. Students will be intently involved in each aspect of production, from scripting in pre-production in the fall, to casting, designing and shooting in production in the winter, to final edits in post production and screening in the spring. Individual interests can be explored throughout the process, allowing students to hone their filmmaking skills. Students in this course must commit to spending the winter season in production after school as a co-curricular afternoon option, when other students will join the production during the winter as the cast and as additional crew. A school-wide viewing will take place late in the spring. (Prerequisite: prior experience in film production and editing, and permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Portfolio: Drawing|Painting
(Semester 1)
Class I
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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, related advanced semester elective, or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Portfolio: Sculpture|Ceramics
(Semester 1)
Class I
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, related advanced semester elective, or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Portfolio: Photography|Digital Imaging
(Semester 1)
Class I
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, related advanced semester elective, or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Portfolio: Technology|Media
(Semester 1)
Class I
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 the creation of art with technology, 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 or 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, related advanced semester elective, or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Portfolio: Filmmaking
(Semester 1)
Class I
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, related advanced semester elective, or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Portfolio: Independent Studio Seminar
(Semester 2)
Class I
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 chair.)

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