Visual Arts

Class time in the Visual Arts is largely devoted to the studio process and experiencing a range of visual arts media. Instructors guide students through the art making experience and provide regular one on one feedback and critique of student work. Occasional lectures or demonstrations are other components of the art class procedure. An extensive collection of books, periodicals and films are available for student use, and at times are the basis of written assignments. Students at all levels participate in the annual student art show each spring.

Note: For all Studio Art, Photography and Media Arts classes there is a $150 studio fee for full year courses and a $75 studio fee for semester courses. Any semester course listed in Studio Art, Photography or Media Arts can be taken multiple times and will be coded as Level 2, etc.

Photo Gallery

Course Offerings

Middle School Courses

Overview

Art courses in the Middle School are designed to stimulate and encourage creativity, build confidence in technical abilities, and provide students with a solid foundation in the elements and principles of art. Skills are developed in each medium through age appropriate projects that build upon what students have learned the previous years, as they advance from fifth through eighth grades. Student artwork is continually displayed in the halls of the Middle School. All students receive sketchbooks to establish the habit of drawing, and sketchbook assignments are given throughout the course. An introduction to various important art and artists of the world is incorporated into appropriate lessons. At each grade level, a love of art and creating art is nurtured, and individual self-expression encouraged.

5th Grade Art

Fifth grade art focuses on developing the students’ natural creative abilities, and instilling the belief that art skills can be learned; with patience and practice everyone can learn to see and create good art. Art vocabulary is introduced and practiced with projects that teach about line, shape, color, form, and texture. Students work in a variety of mediums which may include drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, sculpture, and textiles.

6th Grade Art

Sixth grade art builds upon skills learned in fifth grade, and projects expand to encompass more complex concepts and skills. Students gain experience in two and three dimensional art forms in a variety of media. Imagination is encouraged as well as working from observation.

7th Grade Art

Students gain sensitivity in drawing from careful observation and learning how parts come together to form a whole. Experiences in three dimensional and two dimensional art continue to build, including creating spatial depth and using value to shade realistically.

8th Grade Art

Eighth grade students will continue to develop their technical skills in a series of exploratory exercises, which will result in smaller projects using a variety of media. The eighth grade focus is learning to think conceptually, and how to translate those thoughts into visual imagery. The yearlong option for 8th grade will go into greater depth as well as allow time for some experimental work.

Upper School Courses

Studio Art - Art I

ART I - Full year, one credit

Art I is an introduction to a wide range of visual arts media including sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, drawing, painting and even textiles. The course gradually builds skills and incorporates the elements and principles of art throughout the experience. Students will also gain exposure to relevant artists as well as develop ideas using the sketchbook.

Studio Art - Ceramics

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Art I

This course is a continued study of the medium of ceramics building upon the skills learned in Art I. Students will have the opportunity to work with clay using a variety of methods including slab construction as well as on the wheel. The course will also feature lessons and demonstrations in surface design and glazing for both functional and sculptural works.

Studio Art - Drawing

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Art I

This course is a continued study of the medium of drawing building upon the skills learned in Art I. Students will work primarily through observation as they develop an ability to look closely and investigate three-dimensional space and translate it into two-dimensional drawing. Students will work with a variety of drawing methods including charcoal, ink, pencil, and color media.

Studio Art - Printmaking

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Art I

This course is a continued study of the medium of printmaking building upon the skills learned in Art I. The course will expose students to complex forms of printmaking including multi-color relief, screen printing, and collagraph. The process of creating prints in these methods will also involve image planning with composition and the elements and principles of art in mind.

Studio Art - Painting

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Art I

This course is a continued study of the medium of painting building upon the skills learned in Art I. The class will involve a variety of painting processes including watercolor, gouache, and acrylic. The painting process will be supported by an understanding of relevant artists and art historical time periods.

Photography - Intro and Level II

The photography program is a reflection of the enormous impact of this medium on all aspects of the visual arts and indeed on our culture. The goal of the program is to alert the student to the creative and expressive possibilities of photography, while developing the practical skills that form the basis of serious study. As a student progresses in the program, personal and aesthetic considerations take on greater importance.

INTRODUCTION TO PHOTOGRAPHY
Semester, one-half credit
This traditional, film-based, black-and-white photography course is the foundation for all successive photography courses. Students will learn the basic principles and techniques of this medium and apply that knowledge in a series of increasingly challenging assignments. Technical and artistic concerns are both emphasized as co-equal components of successful work. The course also includes group discussions and critiques, writing assignments, and occasional films. Topics for discussion are not limited to the visual arts, and students are encouraged to think in broad-minded ways.

NOTE: Each student in the Intro. course must have a 35mm camera with a manually adjustable lens. The school has a limited number of these cameras available for loan.

PHOTOGRAPHY LEVEL TWO
Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Intro to Photography
The logical continuation of the Intro course, but with higher conceptual and technical expectations. Still mostly film-based and with a similar format to the beginning course, Level Two does include some digital shooting assignments as well. Students will learn about professional lighting techniques in the studio, and will have some night photography assignments.

Photography - Alternative Processes

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Intro to Photography

This course explores non-traditional photographic processes, such as hand-coloring, collage, cyanotype, and mixed-media. Students will do both film and digital shooting, but the emphasis is less on high-volume image production and more on the creation of high-quality work in selected alternative projects.

Digital Photography

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisites: two semesters of Photography

Further study of the still image through digital photography. The course continues to emphasize effective composition and design, and explores color theory. On the technical side the course introduces basics like file formats; image editing and manipulation; and preparing images for printing. Students complete several thematic assignments and as a final project will submit a body of work that emanates from a self-directed area of concentration.

Photography Portfolio

Semester, one-half credit (can be taken multiple semesters); prerequisite: three semesters of photography

Photography Portfolio is a course where students work on rigorous, self-directed projects. As such, this course is for the highly motivated student with a demonstrated passion for photography (and related arts, such as digital video). The format will vary depending on enrollment, but will likely include students making regular presentations to the class; participation in critiques; some outside (group) assignments; and an ongoing interest in both historical and contemporary developments in the world of photography.

Multimedia - Media Arts

One semester, one-half credit; open to sophomores through seniors

Media Arts introduces students to the world of graphic design and visual rhetoric. Not only do students become acquainted with digital tools of image manipulation, but they are also encouraged to think critically about advertising and its uses. Open to all high school students, the class requires no prior experience with photography or layout, though a course in photography often proves valuable. Past projects have included ads, letterhead design, font projects, public service posters, seasonal photo-collages, CD art, a digital portrait series, and more.

In essence, Media Arts bridges the gap between fine and applied arts. The goal of the single semester course is to encourage both competent design and a healthy critical mindset. The principal design tool is Adobe Photoshop, the chief image manipulation software for print and the web. At the end of each project, student designers display their work (and write about it) in an exhibition format. Students also become acquainted with the Mac OS X operating system, and their work with programs like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator can help usher them into various roles on Harpeth Hall publications.

Multimedia - Digital Video

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Photography I, Media Arts, or permission of the instructor

This course provides an introduction to filmmaking through digital video technology. Students will become familiar with the basic tools, techniques and vocabulary of "film," with the ultimate goal of using the medium to convey ideas effectively and interestingly. Planning, organizing, scriptwriting, lighting, shooting, and editing are among the topics to be considered, although the short duration of the course precludes examining any of these huge areas in depth. Initial hands-on exercises and careful observation of selected film segments lay a foundation. The course culminates with the completion of several short film projects by each student.

Studio Art AP

AP STUDIO ART
Full year, one credit; prerequisites: Art III, portfolio review and department approval required
Course standards are similar to Art III. This course is for highly motivated students who, in addition to class assignments, can spend time doing independent studio work. Expectations are high for this demanding advanced course. Students are also required to produce assigned projects during the summer or take portfolio preparation courses at accredited programs in preparation for their senior year in AP Studio Art. Students enrolled in this course submit portfolios for AP consideration.

Upper School Courses

Studio Art - Art I

ART I - Full year, one credit

Art I is an introduction to a wide range of visual arts media including sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, drawing, painting and even textiles. The course gradually builds skills and incorporates the elements and principles of art throughout the experience. Students will also gain exposure to relevant artists as well as develop ideas using the sketchbook.

Studio Art - Ceramics

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Art I

This course is a continued study of the medium of ceramics building upon the skills learned in Art I. Students will have the opportunity to work with clay using a variety of methods including slab construction as well as on the wheel. The course will also feature lessons and demonstrations in surface design and glazing for both functional and sculptural works.

Studio Art - Drawing

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Art I

This course is a continued study of the medium of drawing building upon the skills learned in Art I. Students will work primarily through observation as they develop an ability to look closely and investigate three-dimensional space and translate it into two-dimensional drawing. Students will work with a variety of drawing methods including charcoal, ink, pencil, and color media.

Studio Art - Printmaking

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Art I

This course is a continued study of the medium of printmaking building upon the skills learned in Art I. The course will expose students to complex forms of printmaking including multi-color relief, screen printing, and collagraph. The process of creating prints in these methods will also involve image planning with composition and the elements and principles of art in mind.

Studio Art - Painting

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Art I

This course is a continued study of the medium of painting building upon the skills learned in Art I. The class will involve a variety of painting processes including watercolor, gouache, and acrylic. The painting process will be supported by an understanding of relevant artists and art historical time periods.

Photography - Intro and Level II

The photography program is a reflection of the enormous impact of this medium on all aspects of the visual arts and indeed on our culture. The goal of the program is to alert the student to the creative and expressive possibilities of photography, while developing the practical skills that form the basis of serious study. As a student progresses in the program, personal and aesthetic considerations take on greater importance.

INTRODUCTION TO PHOTOGRAPHY
Semester, one-half credit
This traditional, film-based, black-and-white photography course is the foundation for all successive photography courses. Students will learn the basic principles and techniques of this medium and apply that knowledge in a series of increasingly challenging assignments. Technical and artistic concerns are both emphasized as co-equal components of successful work. The course also includes group discussions and critiques, writing assignments, and occasional films. Topics for discussion are not limited to the visual arts, and students are encouraged to think in broad-minded ways.

NOTE: Each student in the Intro. course must have a 35mm camera with a manually adjustable lens. The school has a limited number of these cameras available for loan.

PHOTOGRAPHY LEVEL TWO
Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Intro to Photography
The logical continuation of the Intro course, but with higher conceptual and technical expectations. Still mostly film-based and with a similar format to the beginning course, Level Two does include some digital shooting assignments as well. Students will learn about professional lighting techniques in the studio, and will have some night photography assignments.

Photography - Alternative Processes

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Intro to Photography

This course explores non-traditional photographic processes, such as hand-coloring, collage, cyanotype, and mixed-media. Students will do both film and digital shooting, but the emphasis is less on high-volume image production and more on the creation of high-quality work in selected alternative projects.

Digital Photography

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisites: two semesters of Photography

Further study of the still image through digital photography. The course continues to emphasize effective composition and design, and explores color theory. On the technical side the course introduces basics like file formats; image editing and manipulation; and preparing images for printing. Students complete several thematic assignments and as a final project will submit a body of work that emanates from a self-directed area of concentration.

Photography Portfolio

Semester, one-half credit (can be taken multiple semesters); prerequisite: three semesters of photography

Photography Portfolio is a course where students work on rigorous, self-directed projects. As such, this course is for the highly motivated student with a demonstrated passion for photography (and related arts, such as digital video). The format will vary depending on enrollment, but will likely include students making regular presentations to the class; participation in critiques; some outside (group) assignments; and an ongoing interest in both historical and contemporary developments in the world of photography.

Multimedia - Media Arts

One semester, one-half credit; open to sophomores through seniors

Media Arts introduces students to the world of graphic design and visual rhetoric. Not only do students become acquainted with digital tools of image manipulation, but they are also encouraged to think critically about advertising and its uses. Open to all high school students, the class requires no prior experience with photography or layout, though a course in photography often proves valuable. Past projects have included ads, letterhead design, font projects, public service posters, seasonal photo-collages, CD art, a digital portrait series, and more.

In essence, Media Arts bridges the gap between fine and applied arts. The goal of the single semester course is to encourage both competent design and a healthy critical mindset. The principal design tool is Adobe Photoshop, the chief image manipulation software for print and the web. At the end of each project, student designers display their work (and write about it) in an exhibition format. Students also become acquainted with the Mac OS X operating system, and their work with programs like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator can help usher them into various roles on Harpeth Hall publications.

Multimedia - Digital Video

Semester, one-half credit; prerequisite: Photography I, Media Arts, or permission of the instructor

This course provides an introduction to filmmaking through digital video technology. Students will become familiar with the basic tools, techniques and vocabulary of "film," with the ultimate goal of using the medium to convey ideas effectively and interestingly. Planning, organizing, scriptwriting, lighting, shooting, and editing are among the topics to be considered, although the short duration of the course precludes examining any of these huge areas in depth. Initial hands-on exercises and careful observation of selected film segments lay a foundation. The course culminates with the completion of several short film projects by each student.

Studio Art AP

AP STUDIO ART
Full year, one credit; prerequisites: Art III, portfolio review and department approval required
Course standards are similar to Art III. This course is for highly motivated students who, in addition to class assignments, can spend time doing independent studio work. Expectations are high for this demanding advanced course. Students are also required to produce assigned projects during the summer or take portfolio preparation courses at accredited programs in preparation for their senior year in AP Studio Art. Students enrolled in this course submit portfolios for AP consideration.

 

 

Meet the Visual Arts Team

Carmen Noel

Carmen Noel

Department Chair-Visual Arts; Cross Country Assist
Denise Croker

Denise Croker

Upper School English and Media Arts Teacher
Joseph Croker

Joseph Croker

Upper School English and Media Arts Teacher
Joan Curry

Joan Curry

Visual Arts Teacher
Susie Elder

Susie Elder

Visual Arts Teacher
Peter Goodwin

Peter Goodwin

Upper School Visual Arts Teacher
Ariel Williams

Ariel Williams

Upper School Visual Arts Teacher
Robert Womack

Robert Womack

Upper School Art History, Latin, Varsity Bowling