Artistic work is essential for the development and well‐being of our students. Every high school student takes two double periods of art every week continually throughout the four years of high school. Ongoing artistic work not only continues to hone skills, but it supports the academic subjects in many ways, providing balance, refreshment, and building healthy resilience. Our visual arts program includes painting, drawing, sculpting, weaving, and other crafts and fiber arts. These experiences are taken to a complex and accomplished level.
During the ninth and tenth grades, the students take a wide variety of required art classes. This allows them time to experience a particular artistic medium, say, Copper Arts, which they might not otherwise elect. Discovering new talents, likes, and dislikes is part of the adolescent’s quest. In the eleventh and twelfth grades, they continue to take required art classes, but also choose to deepen their experience by electing others as interests dictate.
Because academic classes within our school are, in themselves, taught artistically, there are frequent assignments calling for artistic interpretation. Opportunities for application abound across the curriculum. For example, in the eleventh grade Astronomy block, students are asked to create accurate working sundials. An array of designs, using every possible medium, results.By the high school years, the aesthetic sense has been well trained, and students readily accept such challenges.
In addition to providing a wide range of artistic experiences, particular classes are taken when they are relevant for the students’ own inner development. For example, Black & White Drawing is taken in ninth grade when students tend to experience extremes and polarities within their feeling life. Working in charcoal and ink, they immerse themselves into darkness and light through exercises and in master studies. They must learn to balance and control nuance between these polarities as they draw. Ninth graders also take Basketry, where they must bring order and harmony out a bunch of wet, chaotic elements. These challenging and transformative activities sometimes mirror inner turmoil. Grappling with and taming matter not only concludes artistically, it is also a way to take hold of oneself.