In the Visual Arts, students become aware of their potential to think, act, and learn in diverse and original ways.

Overview

By re-evaluating the familiar and striving to interpret old ideas and traditions in new ways, students develop a sense of decision-making, a new enthusiasm for the visual arts, and a deep personal involvement in the creative process. Students learn through the ongoing process of exploration of a wide range of materials combined with age-appropriate intellectual and creative challenges. Teamwork and positive social support are highly valued in all of our classrooms.

Curriculum

Lower School

Using a choice-based learning approach, the Lower School art program introduces children to the world of visual arts through exploration and discovery. Students in Kindergarten through Grade 4 come to art twice a rotation for forty-five minutes. Using a wide variety of materials, students work through the creative process to express their imagination and artistic thinking. During their K-4 experience in the art room, students have the opportunity to work with watercolors, tempera paints, colored pencils, pastels, printmaking materials, clay, wood, wire, collage, and fabric.

Problem solving and experimentation play a strong role in the development of foundational skills and concepts. Art history is introduced at age-appropriate levels through a visual thinking program that requires students to look at artwork, question it, and interpret it in their own style. Whenever possible, the Lower School art curriculum also integrates learning experiences from classroom studies and other special area subjects.

Middle School

The Middle School art program seeks to heighten students' awareness and appreciation of the arts as a unique and important form of self-expression. This is accomplished through creative exploration, communication, and sharing of verbal and visual ideas, and problem solving in a relaxed, nurturing, and stimulating environment. Whether working in traditional or innovative styles, students learn to use design concepts to create effective, strong, and successful art work. Course offerings include fine arts, ceramics, digital photography, and manual arts.

Upper School

Many Upper School students begin their studies by exploring an introductory level course in drawing, painting, ceramics or photography. Within these various studio classes, students also begin exploring digital imaging and computer graphics. Students wanting to gain greater expertise in a particular medium can continue their studies with the higher-level offerings for each of the above-mentioned courses. In addition, students seeking to study digital graphic design may enroll in the semester-long Digital Design course. Upper level students who have fulfilled the necessary requirements in a number of areas have a variety of options for continuing their studies. In photography, juniors and seniors may enroll in AP Studio Art: Design Portfolio in Photography, a yearlong course that culminates with an AP Studio Art Portfolio submission. For seniors who have met drawing and painting requirements, the department offers Advanced Placement Studio Art: 2-D or Drawing Portfolio. Ceramics/Sculpture students who have completed the requisite number of semesters working in that medium may enroll in AP Studio Art: 3D. Courses in photography culminate with the yearlong senior course Art as Communication: Advanced Honors Photography, in which students create work for a solo exhibition and a photography book.

Although studio experience plays a major role in the curriculum, courses in Art Survey and Advanced Placement Art History are also offered. In addition, students are encouraged to participate in apprenticeship programs, summer arts programs, museum studies, and a variety of off-campus projects.

Art Shows

Since a work of art is never fully realized until others experience it, student work is displayed regularly, and two major art shows take place in the fall and spring of the academic year. During this time, student displays provide the school community with a total view of the students' visual creative accomplishments. Throughout the year, smaller art shows highlight specific aspects of student work and the art program. In addition to these exhibitions, the entire school community comes together annually to celebrate the creative spirit at our daylong Arts Festival and International Fair.

Facilities

RCDS has extensive visual arts facilities on campus, including a digital photography lab and three studios equipped with kilns for firing ceramic pottery and sculpture.

Upcoming Events

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Visual Arts