Department Picker

Visual Arts

The goal of the visual arts program is to have students develop the creativity, imagination and necessary technical skill to practice art as a vital means of self-expression. The faculty are professional artists, and our students take full advantage of New York City cultural resources to complement their work in the classroom.
  • Advanced Studio Art Major

    Studio Art as a major course is designed for those students who have completed a foundational course, and who wish to continue their study of art on a deeper and more comprehensive level. The objective of the class is for students to hone the skills acquired in previous courses and to provide them with an opportunity for a more in-depth experience in certain areas such as printmaking, painting, and sculpture. Students learn to analyze their work objectively and are encouraged to develop a personal style of expression while also developing sensitivity and perception in their response to other students’ efforts. Examples from art history are used to clarify creative goals.
    1 credit – year-long major – by permission of the department
  • Animation & Motion Graphics

    Students learn the universal principles of animation as well as technical aspects, including composition, character development and sound design. Units will include practice in 2D hand drawn and vector animation with Photoshop and Animator, stop motion techniques with Dragon Frame and motion graphics and compositing in After Effects.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor
  • AP Art History

    This course gives students a comprehensive view of the panorama of art styles and periods from cave painting to the art of today. The work of the course is based upon class discussion employing both slides and, when feasible, original work. A text is employed and reading assignments, research reports, quizzes, and tests are essential components of the course. Field trips to museums and galleries in New York City are required. Periods covered are prehistoric art to the eleventh century, the twelfth century to the eighteenth century, and the later eighteenth century to the present. The objectives of the course are to familiarize students with a variety of art masterpieces, both past and present; to teach them to analyze works of art and to speak and write about their conclusions with clarity; and to encourage them to develop a passion for art that will lead to continued study of art beyond high school. At the end of the year, students take the AP Art History examination.
    1 credit – year-long major – by permission of the department
  • AP Studio Art

    Advanced Placement Studio Art is considered the capstone of the studio art offerings. After completing a dedicated course of study in the department, the student may be recommended by his or her teacher to enroll in AP Studio Art, usually in senior year. This challenging course is designed for the serious art student and results in the development of a comprehensive portfolio demonstrating technical mastery as well as a creative imagination. The portfolio is sent to an evaluating committee of artists and art educators who award it a grade (independent of the grade assigned by the student’s teacher at Masters) that may earn them college credit.
    1 credit – year-long major – by permission of the department
  • Darkroom Photography

    This semester-long minor is designed to teach the beginning photography student the basics of black and white photography from a creative perspective. Camera use, film developing, and printmaking are the three main areas of concentration in the first quarter. During the second quarter, students are introduced to studio lighting concepts and work hands-on in the studio exploring portraiture and still-life photography. Nineteenth and twentieth-century photography is explored through a visual and written project that students share with their class. Alternative photographic processes such as Polaroid transfers, pinhole, and toning prints may also be explored in the second quarter. Class projects throughout the semester are designed to give students considerable creative latitude.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor
  • Darkroom Photography II

    This semester-long minor is designed to build upon the techniques learned in Darkroom I from both a technical and a creative perspective. Camera use, film developing, and printmaking are reviewed while the majority of the semester will focus on creating thematic bodies of work that are decided upon and developed by each photographer. Students will continue to use studio lighting concepts and hands-on work in the studio, exploring portraiture and still life photography. Alternative photographic processes, such as Polaroid transfers, pinhole and toning prints will be explored. Students will also go on 2 class trips to the Penumbra Foundation (http://www.penumbrafoundation.org/)  to learn about and practice alternative processes to add to their portfolios.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor. – prerequisite Darkroom Photography. Open to 9-12 grade
  • Digital Photography

    Used either as a communication tool or as an integrated component of mixed media installation, photography has become a staple of many contemporary artists’ means of expression, a part of the vocabulary of visuality, and a tool for the deconstruction of more traditional forms of art and culture. Technology has made the practice of photography more accessible to the visual artist as well as the consumer. This minor class explores digital photography on its own terms and as a medium rooted in a rich tradition of image making. Students learn basic photographic skills (exposure control, composition, color and post-production) using Lightroom and Photoshop CC. Color photography is a major focus of the class, and students can also learn how to produce optimal color and grayscale prints on the Epson large-scale printers.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor
  • Foundations in Video Production

    Students learn the technical basics of moving image production. Working individually and in small groups they practice skills such as composition, manual camera settings, environmental and special effects sound recording, audio and video editing with Final Cut Pro and basic studio lighting.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor
  • Game Design

    What makes a good game? Glossy graphics? A novel mechanic? A gimmick? Each of these could be an element of a good game. But truly great games also have a compelling story, a natural feel, the right level of difficulty, gameplay that fits the platform, and so much more. In this course you will work in pairs to explore what makes great games by making them, playing them, and remaking them. Along the way you will learn the basics of creating still and animated artwork for your games using the Adobe Creative Suite and other game studio programs.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor
  • Installation Art: Body, Space and Time

    What makes an artist? What is art? Which materials are “allowed” when it comes to artmaking? Which spaces are “appropriate” for viewing art? This class will redefine your conception of studio art making and viewing. You will be trained in photography, audio/video recording and editing, basic carpentry, laser cutting and computer assisted design, plaster casting and much more. Use these tools to create installations, performances, or videos that explore your own identity, the form and function of everyday objects, and your feelings and thoughts about the world around you.
    .5 credit – semester long minor, open to 10-12th grade, no studio art experience required.
  • Intermediate Video Production

    Storytelling in the medium of film and video is a complex blend of visual and verbal elements. Crafting original, compelling stories in this medium is a challenging process. In this intermediate class, students analyze the work of contemporary directors, workshop original scripts, plan and direct more complicated shoots with an eye for story continuity, and hone their non-linear editing skills.
    .5 credits – year-long minor – prerequisite Foundations in Video Production
  • Masterpieces Senior Editorship

    This course is designed as an independent study for the senior editorial officers of Masterpieces, the school’s yearbook. In addition to attending the Yearbook Staff class, these students work independently during free periods under the direction of the faculty advisor for Masterpieces and develop such skills as creating the ladder, managing a staff, deciding on coverage, and furthering developing design and layout of the yearbook as a whole. They will work closely with the staff, giving feedback on every page and reviewing each for typos, style consistency, and coverage balance before submission.
    .5 credit – year-long minor – by permission of the department
  • Photo Major

    Photography as a major course is offered to students at different levels of technical experience who are serious in their pursuit of photography as an artistic medium. Emphasis is placed upon the development of a body of work addressing individual concerns and issues through the medium of photography, creative methods, and an introduction to the history of photography. Students learn to bring their images into the public discourse through exploring the book form, creating a simple website and blog and utilizing social media as a means of self-expression. The moving image is also introduced as a component of visual literacy and is woven into these forms of communication. Technical expertise is approached on an individual basis so that the intellectual concerns of all of the students might be met in discussions and class critiques, preparing students for the more rigorous studies of art and media at the college level.
    1 credit – year-long major – open to students in grades 10-12
  • Photography II

    This minor course is designed for students who wish to improve their photographic technique and to explore individual areas of interest. Concepts introduced in Darkroom Photography or Digital Photography are expanded upon; more attention is given to the subtleties of the exploration of light, and students work with color in the media lab. Students are introduced to conceptual photography and are expected to take part in a more in-depth examination of their own working methods.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor – prerequisite Darkroom or Digital Photo
  • Photography III

    This class is designed for those students who have completed Darkroom Photography or Digital Photography, and Photo II. Students will design a semester-long project, beginning with a written proposal, and ending with an artist statement that will accompany a portfolio of twenty finished, exhibition quality prints. This can become the student’s portfolio, and, as part of the class, students will learn how to transfer their finished portfolios to slides, blogs, or movable media storage, packaged for college admissions or gallery review. The course can be combined with another photo minor to form a major class.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor – prerequisite Photography II
  • SA: Foundations in Crafts

    This course can be an exploration of making things, both functional and decorative, that are at the fringe of the visual arts. A variety of materials and techniques are used with a focus of media, discovery, and skill building.  The course is divided into work in fibers, wood, metals, sculptural work with found objects, and works inspired by natural materials. Projects could include weaving, furniture design and construction, assemblage, and jewelry.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor
  • SA: Foundations in Design

    This minor course is a foundation class in the elements, skills, and components of basic product design and graphic design for the advertising and publishing fields. Students first develop an understanding of the elements and principles of design and moves into designing a product on paper. They go on to create a corporate logo for that product and advertising for print and web.  Letterhead, report/brochure design, and magazine/periodical design will also be addressed. Students begin all design work on paper/board, working from rough sketches to finished inked designs towards a digital, pre-press product. Software used includes Adobe Creative Cloud applications. Students work on projects individually, in teams, and in small groups.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor
  • Studio Art 10

    Studio Art as a major course is designed for those students who wish to focus their study of art on a deeper and more comprehensive level.  The objective of the class is for students to hone the skills acquired in previous experiences and to provide them with an opportunity for a more in-depth experience in certain areas such as printmaking, painting, and sculpture.  Students learn to analyze their work objectively and are encouraged to develop a personal style of expression while also developing sensitivity and perception in their response to their students’ efforts. 
    1 credit – year-long major
  • Studio Art 11

    Studio Art as a major course is designed for those students who wish to focus their study of art on a deeper and more comprehensive level.  The objective of the class is for students to hone the skills acquired in previous experiences and to provide them with an opportunity for a more in-depth experience in certain areas such as printmaking, painting, and sculpture.  Students learn to analyze their work objectively and are encouraged to develop a personal style of expression while also developing sensitivity and perception in their response to their students’ efforts. 
    1 credit – year-long major
  • Studio Art 12

    Studio Art as a major course is designed for those students who wish to focus their study of art on a deeper and more comprehensive level.  The objective of the class is for students to hone the skills acquired in previous experiences and to provide them with an opportunity for a more in-depth experience in certain areas such as printmaking, painting, and sculpture.  Students learn to analyze their work objectively and are encouraged to develop a personal style of expression while also developing sensitivity and perception in their response to their students’ efforts. 
    1 credit – year-long major
  • Studio Art 9

    Studio Art as a major course is designed for those students who wish to focus their study of art on a deeper and more comprehensive level.  The objective of the class is for students to hone the skills acquired in previous experiences and to provide them with an opportunity for a more in-depth experience in certain areas such as printmaking, painting, and sculpture.  Students learn to analyze their work objectively and are encouraged to develop a personal style of expression while also developing sensitivity and perception in their response to their students’ efforts. 
    1 credit – year-long major
  • Studio Art: Adv Ceramics

    Students use their prior learning from the ceramics class or through an outside studio to continue to use both hand building and thrown techniques while adding alternative elements to their ceramic investigation. Some of these alternatives will include usage of a variety of clay bodies (stoneware, porcelain, sculpture grogged bodies), use of oxides to dye/color clay, creating molds and slip mold casting, wax resist glazing, glaze mixing, image transfer onto clay and combustible firings.  
    .5 credits – semester-long minor – prerequisite Ceramics
  • Studio Art: Ceramics

    Students experience hand building as well as altered wheel thrown ceramics. Emphasis is placed on craftsmanship, mold making and glaze technique. Students explore the ideas and ideals from traditional pottery to the works of such artists as abstract expressionist Peter Volcus and such contemporary potters as Adrian Saxe as well as many others. Contemporary issues surrounding the world of ceramics including its historic and continued use in technological applications are discussed. Students explore and discuss visual examples of historic and contemporary ceramics through slides and original work when possible through gallery and museum trips.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor
  • Studio Art: Ceramics II

    Students will experience hand building as well as altered wheel thrown ceramics. Emphasis will be placed on craftsmanship, skill building, mold making and glaze technique. Students will explore the ideas and ideals from traditional pottery to the works of such artists as Abstract Expressionist Peter Volcus and such contemporary potters as Adrian Saxe as well as many others. Contemporary issues surrounding the world of ceramics including its historic and continued use in technological applications will be discussed. Students will discuss and research visual examples of historic and contemporary ceramics through slides and original work when possible through gallery and museum trips. Emphasis will be placed on going deeper with craftsmanship (designing and creating objects that are intrinsically beautiful as well as functional). Students will explore their own goals through group and individual work.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor – prerequisite Ceramics
  • Studio Art: Foundations

    The development of technical drawing skills, aesthetic awareness, and visual acuity are the primary goals of this course, and the skills and values presented form a foundation for all of the courses offered by the department. Specific exercises focus on the essential elements of visual art: line, shape, value, composition, and expressive quality, all of which are covered in depth. Various perspective systems and techniques are utilized. Students create individual value, intensity, tint, and hue charts to study color in preparation for painting. During the paint unit, formal issues, with an intensive focus on composition, are looked at in depth. Examples of masterpieces are investigated in order to reveal the wealth of aesthetic content and hidden geometric structures. The three-dimensional component involves a wide variety of mediums and projects ranging from toy design to expressive figure work.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor
  • Studio Art: Foundations in Architecture

    This minor course is designed to give students an introductory-level, hands-on experience in the study of architecture. Beginning with the history of architecture students gain both exposure and experience through a wide range of assignments and site visits. Topics/ projects include but are not limited to material and digital rendering, architectural drawing, use of CAD software, site-specific design and model building.
    .5 credits – semester-long minor – by permission of the department
  • Video Major

    This course is designed for those students who want to pursue video production at a high level. As a year-long major, students are afforded more time to shoot, edit, and produce more ambitious films and projects. Students devote more time exploring the intricacies of the professional film editing application, Final Cut Pro, and work collaboratively to produce and critique each other’s work. Trips off campus to film on location are frequent.
    1 credit – year-long major – open to students in grades 10-12
  • Yearbook Staff

    In this class students learn the basics of graphic design, photography, and journalism by producing the School’s yearbook, Masterpieces. During the first quarter, students learn the basics of design and layout through crafting original page templates; photo composition and DSLR camera basics through photographing school events; and journalistic best practices through interviewing members of the community. In the second and third quarters, students continue covering school events and begin to layout pages using their templates as starting points. Students spend the final quarter preparing elements of the yearbook for the following year. In lieu of formal homework assignments, students are required to work outside of class to cover events or finish their pages.
    .5 credits – year-long minor

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