In our middle school visual arts classes, students explore global and historical themes. The sixth grade program reflects the global nature of the year-long study of the world through graphic design, travel posters, carving, print-making, and explorations of influential artists from around the globe. Seventh grade concentrates on black-and-white design elements, with projects ranging from Pop art to photography, optical design, and portraiture. The culminating project in seventh grade is a realistic self-portrait rendered in pencil. Eighth graders spend their year in art with explorations of three-dimensional techniques. Clay, metal, wire, plaster, wood, cardboard, and stone are all incorporated into the curriculum, which ends with the experience of carving a soapstone sculpture using hammer and chisel. Ninth graders engage in a comprehensive overview of art history, starting with prehistoric times and ending with contemporary expression. They make Gothic gargoyles from clay, draw and paint in the style of the Renaissance, and examine the architecture of Greek, Roman, Romanesque, and Gothic periods.
The sixth grade program reflects the global nature of the year-long study of the world. Projects include graphic design, travel posters, carving, print-making and explorations of influential artists from around the globe. The emphasis is on mastering specific techniques and learning to apply them. The course explores op-art, graphic design and three-dimensional construction. Students produce graphic design projects in color using eraser- and linoleum-carved prints, create a travel poster and a design in the style of M.C. Escher. They also study and emulate the artist Kandinsky, and create three-dimensional constructions using clay, Pariscraft and wood.
A significant strand in the seventh grade program focuses on portraiture and self-identity. Students design and write their own Cree naming shields, carefully describing themselves in symbols and words. Other projects concentrate on design elements in black and white, ranging from Pop art to photography, optical design, and portraiture. Lessons about Pop art lead to the creation of optical designs. Experimenting with different drawing techniques, students find their own style. The culminating project in seventh grade is a realistic 16 x 24 inch self-portrait rendered in pencil and following the techniques of the artist Chuck Cross.
The year is spent exploring the third dimension. A field trip provides a firsthand experience with large contemporary sculpture. Students are provided with an overview of the history of three-dimensional form and an understanding of what goes into the completion of any sculpture piece. Clay, metal, wire, plaster, wood, cardboard, and stone are the primary materials used. Working with guest artist Gar Waterman, students complete the year carving soapstone with hammers and chisels to create an original sculpture. Emphasis is on encouraging students to employ their innermost creative self for each assignment.
The ninth grade art course presents a comprehensive overview of art history starting with prehistoric times and moving through the ages to contemporary expression. The students’ projects relate to the period being studied. For example, ninth graders reproduce Impressionist paintings emulating their chosen artist's techniques, color palette, and style. They explore a variety of media, both two and three dimensional, using materials that best express each particular art era. They make gargoyles from clay, draw and paint in the style of the Renaissance, and examine the architecture of Greek, Roman, Romanesque, and Gothic periods.
The sixth grade Festival of the World caps a yearlong study of global cultures, religions and geography. Each student studies a different country, creating a range of informational and artistic projects, including a model of a famous landmark.