Darrow’s visual arts program supports the School’s hands-on approach to learning and the commitment to developing a variety of talents in each student. Teachers encourage students to learn the techniques and skills necessary to take risks in their work and advance their craft and their confidence. Courses in basic studio arts, drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, and woodworking encourage students to explore their interests in both two-and three-dimensional media. Classes are taught in the Joline Arts Center, a facility dedicated to visual arts study. Darrow's visual arts program continues to be our strength and hallmark. Our course electives feature an array of offerings that rival and eclipse those of larger schools, both in breadth and depth. Each year, arts colleges select and accept students from our Portfolio course.
See images from recent Senior Art Shows:
Studio Art • Fall & Spring
Studio Art is an introductory art course offered in both the fall and spring semesters and is a prerequisite to all other art electives. Students have the opportunity to explore Drawing, Painting, Photography, Ceramics, and Graphic Design. With each new medium, students will explore and incorporate the elements and principles of art and design into their artworks. This course emphasizes process as a means to liberate students from preconceived notions of inability or lack of skills necessary to create. Students will learn how to craft an artist’s statement, develop research and presentation skills, and study both historical and contemporary art practices. This class may be waived for students with previous art experience. Students will be requested to meet with the Art Department faculty and present a portfolio of their artwork. Studio Art is a prerequisite for all other Visual Arts courses. The requirement can be waived only with a demonstration of prior experience and a conversation with the Art Department Chair.
Ceramics: Surface Design • Fall & Spring
This is an introductory course in working with clay as an artistic medium. Students will learn various hand-building techniques and basic wheel-throwing skills used to make both functional ware and ceramic sculpture. Students will also research and analyze both historical and contemporary methods of surface design and apply these techniques to build up layers of design information on their own work. Students are encouraged to explore personal interests and aesthetic through the assignments. Projects assigned will require productive use of in-class time and additional time in the studio outside of class hours.
NOTE: This class is a prerequisite to all Advanced Ceramic classes.
Prerequisite: Studio Art or Equivalent Art Experience
Dark Room Photography • Fall
This course is designed to introduce the foundations of black and white photography and darkroom techniques. Historical development and technical aspects of the photographic process will be studied. Assignments are designed to help budding photographers begin to look more carefully at the world around them and explore a vision of their place in it. Assignments will require productive use of in-class time and additional time in the studio outside of class. Historical exploration will require some research, analysis, and presentation.
Prerequisite: Studio Art
Drawing • Fall & Spring
This course is designed to help students develop their perceptual and rendering skills through sketching and drawing. Assignments will build upon each other as students grow in their perception of edges, spaces, relationships, and lights and shadows. A final project will explore contemporary drawing and develop a new definition of drawing. Students are required to keep a sketchbook for weekly, take-home assignments. Students are expected to participate fully, challenge themselves, apply their best effort, and have fun.
NOTE: This class is a prerequisite to all Painting classes.
Prerequisite: Studio Art
Woodworking • Fall
Woodworking is an introductory course in working with wood as an artistic medium. Students have the opportunity to create something of their own design using basic woodworking techniques. The class provides an introduction to the use of power tools while a more in-depth emphasis is on working with hand tools to execute several basic techniques of construction and joinery. Skills gained include drawing, planning, shaping, joining and finishing. Students are expected to apply a high level of craft to their projects.
NOTE: This class is a prerequisite to Advanced Woodworking
Prerequisite: Studio Art
Advanced Mixed Media (Portfolio) • Fall
This class is designed to guide students through the process of preparing an art portfolio for entrance to BFA programs and liberal arts colleges that accept portfolios. Students will choose colleges, create some impressive original drawings, have their work photographed, and consult with various art admissions personnel to create the most effective presentation of their work. They will view various presentations by different art programs and apply to their choice of schools by the end of the semester.
Prerequisite: Studio Art plus 2 additional art classes or prior experience and permission of instructor
Women Make Moving Images • Spring
This course will introduce students of any gender identification to the time-based work of women who have established firm ground in moving images, which will provide context to the culture of unrest between genders within the practice of filmmaking. Many genres and nationalities will be studied. The production sections let students focus on short personal works in narrative or experimental and fine arts structures using a variety of cameras and techniques.
Prerequisite: Studio Art.
Advanced Ceramics: The Potter’s Wheel • Spring
This class will focus on learning how to use the potters’ wheel. Students will learn how to center clay, explore various forms, trim cups and bowls, and add handles to make mugs, and glaze plates and vases. Students will also have the opportunity to explore various firing techniques and finishes. While learning these new skills students will also focus on pairing techniques while discovering their personal aesthetic with the material. Research of both historical and contemporary ceramics will enrich and inform students working visual vocabulary. Weekly sketchbook assignments are given that further examine concepts presented in class. Prerequisite: Studio Art & Ceramics 1.
Advanced Woodworking • Spring
In this intermediate-to-advanced level course, students will design and execute an original work in wood using more challenging joinery techniques. Students are required to apply personal interests and aesthetic while establishing their own parameters and benchmarks for their project since it is unique to their design. Their project will require self-teaching with the guidance of the teacher since each student will be creating a project different from their peers.
Prerequisite: Studio Art and Woodworking (or similar prior experience and permission of instructor)
Painting • Spring
In Painting, students will be introduced to both watercolors and acrylics. The first half of the semester will be devoted to understanding and exploring watercolor as each assignment builds off the next, investigating the potential of this medium. The second half of the semester will be spent painting with acrylics on canvas. There will be a balance of in-class assignments along with students selecting their own images to depict and render. Research of both historical applications as well as contemporary approaches will be part of this course as students discover their personal aesthetic with the material. Concepts presented in class will be further explored through weekly sketchbook assignments.
Prerequisite: Studio Art and Drawing
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