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Middle School Studio Arts

Studio Arts Overview

The Middle School art program introduces students to a wide range of media and techniques while encouraging individual expression and artistic growth.

Over the course of three years, students participate in a variety of disciplines including drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, mixed media, sculpture, digital art, digital photography and stop-motion animation. Students follow the benchmarks for scope and sequence curriculum in general art. By seventh grade, class sizes are smaller and semester-long classes provide them with the opportunity to master specific art skills and techniques each semester.

In Painting and Drawing and Mixed Media classes students practice:

  • Fundamental drawing techniques such as shading, cross hatching, blending and contour drawing.
  • Drawing and painting from life experience
  • Exploring a variety of color mixing and painting techniques in acrylic and watercolor
  • Interpreting nature as the foundation for design

 In Ceramics, students learn a variety of basic clay working techniques, including pinch pot, coil and slab construction, as well as wheel throwing.
 In Digital Art, students are introduced to the fundamental tools and techniques of Photoshop and learn to apply them to creative design projects. 
 In Stop-motion Animation, students learn to use digital cameras and iMovie editing system to create stop-motion animations.

Arts Integration

Middle School students participate in an art integrated curriculum with other core content subject areas.

This is an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form to another subject area and achieve evolving objectives in both.

Fifth Grade

In the fall, students plan and execute the Moroccan ceramic tile design project in which they are introduced to the geometric pattern and symmetrical design in Moroccan tiles. Math concepts are reinforced in art as math teachers participate in art classes and co-teach the lesson on math in art class. Students develop skills in ceramic tile design and clay techniques including hand-building, sculpting and glazing. The unit culminates with a trip to The Metropolitan Museum of Art to visit the Art of the Islamic World exhibit where students experience first-hand the works of this period.

The next project, literary & personal narrative, dovetails with Black History Month in February. Students are introduced to the artwork and personal childhood stories of Faith Ringgold, which serve as inspiration for their own work. Students identify a passage from a book they’ve read in class or as part of their independent reading or a personal story. Working with various media, students translate their ideas to creating a work of art. Carrying over the theme of quilting that is part of Ringgold’s artwork, students use fabric to create a border for their final project.

Sixth Grade

The fall unit on abstract American art is inspired by the work of Frank Stella and Elizabeth Murray. Through the use of geometric and abstract forms, students learn about scale, 3-dimensionality, color, pattern and design. Throughout the process, more complex math skills and concepts are reinforced in the art room by math teachers as students create their own Stella/Murray-inspired 3-D work of art. An additional tie-in to Stella’s work is with music as the artist would often speak about how different styles and genres of music would inspire his work. In music class, students work in groups to create sequences in movement inspired by the individual 3D artwork they created. In a subsequent unit on Greek art and history, students work to find creative ways to make their argument as to why their assigned Greek State is the preferred destination of choice. Art and history join together to provide students with a well-rounded interdisciplinary learning experience. Sixth graders also collaborate with Current Issues Research Seminar (CIRS) for the annual CIRS Day in the spring.

Seventh Grade

Based on a standard in seventh grade science, students learn the concept of matter and compounds through the work of American glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly. His works of blown glass are explored as students study the chemical compound of glass and notice the physical change which occurs in the process. Students have the opportunity to create their own interpretation of Chihuly’s art as they experiment with plastic shapes and forms creating their own hand-blown, deconstructed art work

Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form to another subject area and achieve evolving objectives in both.

Arts Integration Projects