Both of Darlington’s division campuses – Pre-K to 8 and Upper School – feature large art studios and one or more faculty members devoted to promoting creativity through the visual arts. All visual arts students in pre-K through grade 12 have multiple opportunities to showcase their work in various art exhibits throughout the year, including at the all-school Fall for the Arts Festival each October.
Pre-K to 8
Students in pre-K through fifth grade take Art as an Enrichment class two times during each eight-day rotation. The art teacher presents an age-appropriate curriculum that builds confidence, develops skills and creates an appreciation for art. Students are taught within a sequential program that is adapted to support each individual’s developmental skills.
Working in a variety of different mediums, they explore and create different forms of art while focusing on the application of the elements and principles of design. Students use two- and three-dimensional forms to express their creativity. Through repeated experiences in drawing, painting, collage, fiber arts and ceramics, specific concepts relating to visual art are identified and explored. Techniques, use of different tools and vocabulary of these processes are enhanced in the art experiences.
At each grade level, students learn about art history through exposure to works of art and artistic styles in different cultures and times. Art activities are integrated into or correlated with the students’ classroom curriculum whenever possible.
In grades 6-8, students may take an Art Workshop class during the Art Block. Those who take it are challenged to develop a deeper awareness for the visual arts while sharpening their own individual talents. Art Workshop gives students in the middle grades the foundation they need for Art I in the Upper School.
Advanced Art is offered during the Enrichment class time. Students with exceptional interest and talent may take this class that meets every other day.
Each grade level focuses on the academics of art, which include the basic concepts of composition and art history. Fifth grade focuses on line quality, color theory and the development of creative thinking. Sixth grade focuses on figure drawing, composition and color theory. Seventh grade focuses on one-point perspective and figure drawing. Eighth grade focuses on two-point perspective and ceramics. To learn these concepts, students are exposed to projects that span a variety of different mediums, such as sculpture, ceramics, drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking, college, mixed media and photography.
Whether it is in one of the five levels of studio art classes or in the many paintings, linoleum and silkscreen prints, or pen and ink drawings seen around campus, visual art is a dynamic presence at Darlington’s Upper School.
The large studio space, with its vaulted ceiling and an abundance of natural light, is only one of this program’s assets. Students possess a wide range of abilities and artistic experiences, so the veteran art teacher tailors instruction to those different levels. With the ultimate goal of making connections that enrich other disciplines, students find their artistic voice through the completion of a wide variety of projects ranging from drawing exercises to printmaking to works in clay.
As the year progresses, students move away from tightly controlled projects to more personal projects that reflect their interests and needs while learning to apply the principles of art (line, shape, value, texture and color). In the upper levels of these studio classes, while still improving basic skills, students take the initiative to develop independent projects that reflect their interests.
The AP program is for serious seniors who have demonstrated excellence, self-motivation and dedication in studio art. Portfolio guidelines, established by The College Board AP Program, require the submission of a minimum of 27 works demonstrating Breadth (12 works), Concentration (10-12 works) and Quality (5 works). Students in this class experience college-level learning and the inherent demands of that learning level.
Whether you are a serious artist with the intention of pursuing a degree or career in the arts or someone who is simply interested in expanding his or her visual world, there is lasting benefit to be found in Darlington’s visual art classes.