The wonder, the beauty, the learning in art comes from the process of creation. We value that time of discovery. Experience with processes and materials come first and then skills, ideas, or historical links develop. We hope to encourage each student to learn about and through art. As students grow they are challenged to use their skills to solve problems, deeply investigate materials, and use art to make connections across disciplines.
The Art Department takes advantage of Philadelphia's vibrant art scene, arranging trips for art classes on a regular basis – even in a moment's notice. See photos below from a 3rd grade art class trip to see habitus and do some sketching on the Delaware waterfront.
- In preschool and kindergarten, through guided discovery, children are taught to value different media and art tools, as well as techniques for their use. They are then ready to thoughtfully investigate the materials and tools on their own. They are ready for explorations of line, shape, color, and texture. They experience sculpting, building, painting, drawing, collage, and printing. Repeated encounters with these media emphasize the creative process. As students become more familiar with the materials they are encouraged to work at a slower pace and with more intention and awareness. Ideas begin to form and exciting products of their own design emerge. Art invites children to communicate emotions, questions and insights. They use art as a tool for critical thinking. The skill they learn in the studio enhance their work and play in the classroom.
- First and second grade students gain experience in a wide variety of mediums, gradually work on longer projects, explore ideas, and are encouraged to take pleasure in the process. Primary Unit art projects often coordinate with a theme, incorporating content and process at an appropriate level. They begin to chose processes and materials that are appropriate to independently express their vision. They gain understanding of line, shape, color, texture, and space. They begin to explore compositional ideas of pattern, movement, scale, balance, unity, and emphasis.
- Third grade students use their experience in a wide variety of mediums to tackle more complex individual and group projects. Often projects are stated in terms of a challenge or problem to solve.
- The fourth and fifth grade curriculum consists of longer-term projects that emphasize basic design elements, craftsmanship, and originality. In third grade the potter’s wheel is introduced. By fifth grade, students have acquired a working knowledge of tools and materials, utilize more complex techniques, and express their concepts with more clarity of thought and execution. Classroom themes influence and inform the projects pursued in the art room. As students delve into their study of ancient civilizations, a project in paper manipulation and the construction of faux Greek columns reinforces the classroom work. At times, projects are inspired by local exhibitions throughout the city.
- The Middle School art curriculum synthesizes previous experiences with an emphasis on individual expression and increasingly sophisticated concepts and materials. Brainstorming and problem solving skills are stressed as projects become more complex often lasting an entire semester. The Middle School theme often informs the art curriculum. For example, during a study of rites of passage in Africa, students create masks that emphasize qualities of their emerging adult selves. Electives and mini-courses offer students an opportunity to explore mediums, crafts, and ideas on a more intensive level or in an area not usually part of the general art curriculum.