The Middle School visual arts program provides a creative environment in which students explore visual communication in two- and three-dimensional forms. They gain hands-on experience with a broad range of materials and techniques while working on projects designed to develop craft as well as cognitive skills related to thematic grade-level investigations.
Students work in a variety of artistic disciplines including drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture; and they learn and use the elements and principles of design as they explore their creative potential. The children keep art journals to monitor their progress throughout the year, and assessments are based on effort rather than ability level. Our goal is for our visual arts students to develop and expand their artistic voice while gaining a better understanding of self and their relationship and responsibility to the world community.
Students visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art to explore the ancient Egyptian and Greek Halls. a yearlong collaborative project that incorporates visual art with history and creative writing. Students write scripts on ancient cultures in their humanities classes and transform their scripts into an opera in music class. in their visual arts class, they create rod puppets of their characters as well as backdrops and props, and they rehearse their performance. At the end of the school year, the students put on their original opera for their parents.
To enhance their focus on the Hudson River Valley, students study the Hudson River School of Art. They create their own watercolor landscapes inspired by photos from their field trips. Other projects include the creation of a hand-sewn quilt while studying American Folk Art, and designing a presentation for a site-specific sculpture at the Dobbs Ferry Waterfront Park.
Seventh grade students are given the opportunity to work with Upper School art instructors as well as the Middle School art teacher. They explore artistic disciplines including foundation drawing, ceramics, and digital photography. Tied in with their ongoing investigation of identity and diversity, students write an artist statement explaining the artistic choices they made in relation to their chosen essential question.
Armed with digital cameras, the students explore Philadelphia and other historic sites by taking a series of images with thoughtful content and composition in a triptych format. Back in the classroom they create a 30-second presentation using their photos and original music they produce in their music classes. In their humanities classes, they write artist statements to explain their work as it relates to their yearlong theme of American identity. The year culminates with the students curating and displaying their own visual artworks in the Eighth Grade Arts Expo.