Fine Arts Graduation Requirement: 3 Credits total from the fine arts (Visual Arts, Music, and/or Drama)

Art is an essential element in the growth and development of every student. The art department, employing a variety of methods, provides the environment and learning experiences for each student to create and produce solutions to visual problems and to develop skills and strengths in self-expression. By presenting and critiquing their own work, students gain insight into the elements of the visual language and an appreciation of art in the world around them.

Courses Offered

Course offerings are contingent on MPA policies regarding student enrollment numbers for each class.

Grades: Grades 9-12
Credit: .5
Prerequisites: Beginning Ceramics

Hand to hand, head and heart (and with some tools already in their pockets), Advanced Ceramics students push to the next level of artistic growth. Complex use of hand-building skills, introduction to wheel throwing, and sculptural techniques make up the technical development of this course. Each assignment begins with the "idea" of a familiar form (cup, bowl, cylinder, vase, pitcher, mask) where artists are challenged to develop original approaches, problem-solve and strengthen their creativity through both planned, drawn ideas, as well as intuitive responses to the clay itself. Sometimes fantastical, sometimes sublime, each student develops a portfolio of work that is challenging, and learns about other artists to broaden their perspective. Alternative firing methods, glaze exploration, gallery visits and exhibitions are part of the coursework.

Grade: 10-12
Credit: .5
Prerequisite: Beginning Ceramics, Advanced Ceramics I

In a world where change is constant, information infinite and creativity essential, the ceramics studio becomes a place of intellectual and aesthetic inquiry, craft mastery, and collective practice of working in community. Advanced Ceramics II student artists LOVE working with clay, and readily push themselves to their next level of artistic growth. Focusing on forms known well—bowls, lidded jars, and teapots—as well as forms derived from the boundaries of assignment criteria and technique parameters, artists develop proficient wheel throwing skills through the mantra of practice and patience, complex hand-building skills, and multiple glazing possibilities. A portfolio of work that ranges in both scale and self-defining aesthetic is the outcome. Artists can expect to dive into the history of ceramics both at home and abroad, make gallery visits, and exhibit their work.

Grades: 9-12
Credits: .5
Prerequisites: Drawing

To draw is to see and record visually. Opportunities to visually record both objects and ideas are provided in this advanced level class. Skills and techniques learned in Drawing are applied in more complex ways, challenging students to develop technical skills while also developing their own style. Students are guided through preliminary exercises that lead to finished drawings, solving visual problems using a design process. Targeted skills include working with a grid, translating value into color, and developing a sense of proportion. Materials consist of graphite, charcoal, colored pencil, ink, and more.  Highlights include portraiture and figurative work. The semester of work culminates in an exhibition that celebrates the creativity and accomplishments of each student.

Grades: 10-12
Credits: .5
Prerequisites: Painting

Art connects us. This course uses painting to emphasize connections between art and music, connections between art and community, connections with each other, connections between past work and future possibilities, and more. Students apply and develop their painting skills while learning art history, collaboration, and community service. Highlights include painting a piano for a local non-profit, and also learning the ancient art of batik. Materials consist of acrylic, watercolor, tempera, and beeswax. Students are guided through preliminary exercises that lead to finished paintings, solving visual problems using a design process. The semester of work culminates in an exhibition that celebrates the creativity and accomplishments of each student.

Grades: Grades 9-12
Credit: .25
Prerequisites: None.

Clay—dug from the earth, formed with the hand, and made permanent by fire—is a material of great historical and contemporary significance in art, as well as our daily lives. Beginning Ceramics students get dirty, dig in, and work hard to develop strong basic hand building skills (pinch, coil and slab) working with clay. Physically building three-dimensional forms, students problem-solve, learn creative process and best practices in studio work. Assignments provide a framework for individual expression, while sketchbook drawings prepare students well to solve visual problems in their hands-on work. The pottery form becomes the structure where three-dimensional design and the marriage between surface and form transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Grades: Grades 9-12
Credit: .5
Prerequisites: None

Digital Art is an investigative course that explores the use of digital mediums for visual communication and artistic expression. The use of graphic softwares and tablets for imaging design, painting, and more will allow students to create their image ideas using a variety of software applications as an art medium. This course will evolve as the hardware and software become available to the department and students grow in their ability to creatively apply the technology.

Objectives

  • Students learn how to integrate art techniques and graphic software to create imaged based art.
  • Allows students to explore new mediums available to artists in the growing field of digital art within a school/class setting.
  • Teach students basic design concepts as they apply to graphic design, technology and related design as they bring their ideas to reality.
  • Help students apply visual rules and better visual decision making for their own work and/or where their work integrates with other course assignments.

Grades: Grades 9-12
Credit: .25
Prerequisites: None

The ability to draw empowers students to communicate ideas visually. This ability serves them well not only as artists, but also as designers, inventors, researchers, and creators of all sorts. This course is designed to provide students opportunity to become confident and capable with the art of drawing. A wide variety of techniques are addressed, including perspective, contour line, and gesture. Targeted skills include building a strong composition, sharpening observational skills, and using value to create dimension. Materials consist of graphite, charcoal, ink, colored pencil, and more. Students are guided through preliminary exercises that lead to finished drawings, solving visual problems using a design process. The semester of work culminates in an exhibition that celebrates the creativity and accomplishments of each student.

Grades: 11-12
Credits: .25
Prerequisites: Applied Painting or Applied Drawing
(Formerly called Studio 2D)

After years of technical skill-building and guided exploration through various styles and mediums, students in Mixed Media Studio are now ready to approach their work with more independence. Series development is emphasized, and students are challenged to create work that holds personal meaning. The process is guided, while students gain control over choices of subject, medium, and style. The assignments give students opportunity to build on past successes, while continuing to develop skills and grow as an artist. The course is open to all emerging artists, and will particularly serve those considering art at the collegiate level. The semester of work culminates in an exhibition that celebrates the creativity and accomplishments of each student.

Grades: 9-12
Credits: .5
Prerequisites: Drawing

Painting is a versatile medium, with limitless approaches inspired by every culture and genre imaginable. This course introduces students to a variety of painting approaches, both realistic and abstract, both ancient and modern. Students are guided through preliminary exercises that lead to finished paintings, solving visual problems using a design process. Targeted skills include building a strong composition, referencing a variety of sources, sharpening observational skills, color mixing, brush handling, and more. Materials consist of tempera, watercolor, acrylic, and Sumi-e ink, while surfaces include canvas, masonite, and rice paper. A highlight of the course is an introduction to Sumi-e painting in the East-Asian tradition. The semester of work culminates in an exhibition that celebrates the creativity and accomplishments of each student.

Grades: 9-12
Credits: .25
Prerequisites: None.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Come and make some! Photography is a way to capture images that express who you are in relation to the world around you. Students choosing this course will become familiar with the history of photography and its use as an art form. They will learn both technical and aesthetic aspects of image making using the camera as a tool. Manual mode selection, available/ambient light exposures, composition, Photoshop editing skills, quality printing, and beginning a photographic portfolio will be emphasized through shooting assignments that explore a variety of themes and challenges. Student work is exhibited and shared. Come explore this wonderful life-long skill and creative practice.

Grades: 10-12
Credits: .5
Prerequisites: Photography I and approval of instructor, and completion of Level I with a B average or above.

Shoot, I really want to take this class. Having learned the basics, this follow-up course begins with exploring subjects more deeply. Students work to image groups that challenge them to create photographic statements that communicate thoughts and feelings about social or personal issues. Learning technical aspects of studio lighting and more creative Photoshop techniques helps students progress with their image making skills while the use of the written word in artist statements and documentary commentary helps enhance the understanding of artistic intent. Working to a series and developing a photo portfolio is emphasized throughout the year, and the course culminates in a rigorous and intentional self-assignment designed and evaluated by the student. Student work is shared, exhibited, and often entered in juried exhibitions. Come and be part of this unique learning opportunity for photographers.

Grades: 9-12
Credit: .5
Prerequisites: none

Printmaking is an ancient art form that has roots in prehistoric times when humans first put their hands in pigment and pressed them onto cave walls.

Across many cultures and thousands of years, communication occurred through the printed image. Today printmaking embodies a wonderful aesthetic created by the specific processes this course may cover, such as- monotype, relief, stencil, collagraph and silkscreen techniques.

Targeted skills include building strong compositions that apply design theory concepts, visual problem solving, series development and creating a portfolio that allows a student’s personal expression to shine.

Co-operative studio practice and collaboration are essential elements to the success of this class. The semester of work culminates in an exhibition that celebrates the creativity and accomplishments of each student.

 

Grade: 11-12
Credit: .5
Prerequisite: Beginning Ceramics, Advanced Ceramics I, Advanced Ceramics II

“Studio potter” is a term used to describe an artist working in clay, either alone or in small groups, creating individually unique pottery from conception to creation to completion; this pottery graces both gallery walls and kitchen tables alike. As part of the capstone course of ceramics in the Visual Art Department, our student studio potters develop a series of forms for each assignment and work toward a personal artistic voice that is present throughout their portfolio and presented in exhibition. Through theme and variation, assignments are concept based and expose students to a range of complex and refined technical skills in wheel throwing, hand building, and glazing. Ceramic history of Minnesota and abroad is woven into the course as students discover their sense of place within the larger ceramic community.