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The art curriculum is built on two main elements: developing the student’s observation skills and encouraging creativity.  Not all students will grow up to be artists but everyone can benefit from learning how to see.  Each student has her own sketchbook and takes weekly sketching classes in which they are expected to draw what they see as accurately as they can (generally a still life with proper lighting).  Most of the girls are astonished with their own progress in one school year.  This has the added benefit of helping them develop the ability to sit quietly for an hour working on one drawing!

The second element of art class revolves around creative projects in which the students explore materials and all the possibilities for their use.  Generally, the teacher tries to stay out of their way and only guides them in learning how to brainstorm their way to a good idea.  A recurring principle is that there is no right or wrong answers in these projects.  We hope to instill the notion that there is nothing as thrilling as coming up with an idea that you’re excited about!

We also use the opportunities of our surrounding community by going to the Krannert Art Museum and Spurlock as much as possible and bringing in artists from the community to share their expertise.  As often as possible, we work within the entire school curriculum to enhance other subjects being studied, e.g. doing a pottery unit in which our students made pots based on ancient Greek vessels.  Within this context, the girls develop an appreciation for what artists do, and an enjoyment for the act of making art.

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