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.