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Visual Arts

The mission of the visual arts program is to provide students with a personalized learning environment that fosters creativity, innovative thinking, communication, problem solving, and commitment to self and others.  We engage students in the creative process with a focus on supporting students develop their artistic voices.  From Kindergarten through their high school years, students create original works of art in a variety of media.  Skill based instruction in contour drawing, value, light shading, color theory, perspective, two-dimensional and three-dimensional design is provided sequentially throughout the grades.  North Shore High School students have the opportunity to take advanced studies in the fine arts such as drawing and painting, sculpture, and photography.  Student art work is displayed at the Visions Gallery at North Shore High School.  North shore students’ have received local, state and national recognition. 


High School Visual Arts Course Offerings


Credit:  1

Prerequisites: None

Notes: Fulfills the one credit art/music requirement


Studio Art is an introductory level class devoted to the development of skills and knowledge of the elements of art and principles of design. Students hone their observation skills and work with composition, line quality and value. They are introduced to color theory, color mixing and painting techniques. There are units of study in printmaking, ceramics and sculpture. Students will work with materials such as: pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, linoleum, clay and various sculpture media. The curriculum ensures that all students look at the world around them in new ways and become creative problem solvers in order to create original works of art. Studio Art is a prerequisite for all Visual Art electives.



Credit:  1

Prerequisites: Studio Art


Drawing & Painting is devoted to the exploration of drawing and painting techniques and concepts as well as the expression and visual communication of personal artistic vision. Students will have the opportunity to work with media such as charcoal, pastel, ink, watercolor, colored pencil and acrylic paint.



Credit:  1

Prerequisites: Drawing and Painting


This course builds upon the techniques and concepts explored in Drawing & Painting. Students will work on creating a portfolio of pieces that explore a variety of media and ways of working.  Students will have the opportunity to further their understanding of drawing and painting concepts, hone their techniques, explore new media and alternative surfaces, and investigate new ideas through their art.  Students will work to challenge themselves as artists in order to create work that visually communicates their unique perspective and personal vision.



Credit:  1

Prerequisites:  Advanced Drawing and Painting


Take your drawing and painting to the next level!   This advanced course is designed for serious and highly motivated students who would like to prepare a portfolio for submission to AP Drawing, in which a strong understanding of drawing issues such as composition, illusion of depth, and mark- making, is emphasized.   Students will build upon pieces already created in their previous drawing and painting classes in order to complete the 24 pieces required by the AP Drawing exam.  Students will spend a large part of the year developing a series of work related to a student-selected theme or idea.  In addition to time in class each day, students are expected to work independently outside of class in order to meet the high standards, work requirements, and frequent deadlines of the course.  This challenging experience will help students push themselves as visual problem-solvers and communicators, create art that is important to them, and help them to create an incredible and accomplished portfolio. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in local shows and art competitions.


The AP assessment may earn a student college credit dependent upon their score and the policy.



Credit:  1

Prerequisites: Studio Art


Sculpture focuses on the creation of 3-dimensional forms through a creative problem-solving approach. During this full- year course, students will work with a variety of materials including ceramic clay, plaster, wire and other mixed media, as well as a full day in the High School Sandbox.  Students will become comfortable with hand building techniques in ceramics as well as the potter’s wheel.  Long-term projects involve casting the human form, modeling ceramic busts, recycled assemblages and much more.



Credit:  1

Prerequisites: Sculpture


Advanced Sculpture provides an opportunity for students interested in building on the skills learned in Sculpture. Students will use the elements of art and principles of design to solve 3-dimensional problems both in the round and in relief, and explore highly experimental techniques in a wide range of sculpture media.



Credit:  1

Prerequisites: Studio Art


In this year-long study of photography, students learn both film and digital processes. They begin with a thorough investigation of black and white film by shooting with 35mm cameras and printing in our darkroom. This introduction to film creates a solid foundation for students to then apply their knowledge to digital shooting and editing. Students become comfortable with the technical components of photography; they also learn to appreciate the visual and aesthetic qualities of the medium. This combination of technical know-how and creative appreciation enables students to speak confidently with their own unique voice through the magical medium of photography. This development of a personal photographic vision is encouraged through a variety of projects.



Credit:  1

Prerequisites: Photography


This year-long course is designed for students eager to further their knowledge of film and digital photography. Among other advanced topics, students will work with infrared and medium format film, create Cyanotypes and learn to photograph at night. They will also work with digital SLR cameras and learn advanced Photoshop editing techniques. As students are further challenged with advanced photographic processes, they will gain more confidence in speaking with their own creative voice, to express their unique observations and ideas through the exciting medium of photography. In deepening their knowledge of both film and digital photography, students will be well prepared for what comes next – be that AP 2D Design, IPA, college art studies, job applications or personal pursuits in photography.



Credit:  1

Prerequisites: Advanced Photography


This course is designed for the serious and highly motivated photography student. Students use photography to prepare an AP portfolio suitable for submission to AP 2D Design, in which 2D compositional design is emphasized. Students are expected to work independently, including time outside of class, to meet detailed AP requirements and frequent work deadlines. They must design a personal response to a variety of visual art challenges while preparing pieces for the Selected Works and Sustained Investigation required by the College Board.


The AP assessment may earn a student college credit dependent upon their score and the policy.



Credit:  1

Prerequisites: 3 visual art credits AND approval of the visual art faculty. Acceptance is based on a formal application process that takes place in the spring of Junior year.


This advanced art experience provides students the opportunity to pursue a year-long focus in visual art. Students are expected to complete a self-directed, individual crafted thesis. They work in a studio environment with their peers and meet in small mentor groups to discuss their progress and receive feedback that ultimately results in a body of work for final thesis exhibition. Additionally, IPA students exhibit in local public venues throughout the year. Public speaking and written artist statements about their art and the creative process are a requirement for all participants.




Credit:  1 per year

Prerequisites:  Studio Art plus one   additional   art   class (Drawing and Painting, Sculpture or Photography)


The course enables students to enjoy lifelong engagement with the arts, as they will create with a variety of art media, including but not limited to photography, painting, and sculpture. Students also explore art history, how to analyze art, and how to curate art exhibits. As part of their final assessment, students exhibit their art in a gallery setting, develop visual art journals to document their creative process, and engage in verbal and written critiques that analyze and compare art from various cultures and time periods. This course will enable students to: make artwork that is influenced by personal and cultural contexts; be informed and critical observers and makers of visual culture and media; develop skills to communicate ideas.


IB Visual Arts requires a variety of internal and external assessments throughout the two years. 

The IB assessment may earn a student college credit dependent upon their score and the policy of the college or university.

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