Visual Arts at SCPA

The Visual Arts Department at SCPA offers a twelve-year studio and academic program for training in the visual arts.  SCPA’s Visual Arts Department is concerned with directing students toward the intense thinking, feeling and self aimed nature of creativity and problem solving in the visual arts through studio and lecture courses. SCPA’s Visual Arts Department offers career pathways studio courses that are concerned with directing students toward the intense thinking, feeling and self aimed nature of creativity and problem solving in the visual arts.

student paintingWe begin by offering a two-year course entitled Color and Design offered to students before they select their high school studio concentration classes. Each task for Color and Design is directed towards new media and new interpretations of challenging visual puzzles.  This course serves as a career preparation for students by exploring fine arts and design areas such as fashion design, ceramic vessels, tile design, jewelry design, glass works and dimensional or sculptural fiber arts. Color and Design introduces students to careers where creative problem solving is employed to represent the unique possibilities of art production and critical thinking. Students will be guided in part by lectures, field trips, studio construction, homework, journal keeping and critiques, and career research. Each unit in this course requires that the instructor utilize OFAS standards, as well as drawing and journal making for planning, brainstorming and documentation process.

Careers Pathways in the Visual Arts emphasizes the “how” aspects of art.  Each new material and technique changes how our students work and it also changes how others interpret their finished images and products.  We are also a why department. Students continue to be exposed to the ideas that drive content and styles of art and design that encourage higher thinking skills. The visual arts are a profession that is highly philosophical and requires abstract thinking and problem solving.

The Visual Arts Department is not a department that separates academic standards and approaches to the career-based education.  We offer introductory and advanced academic courses where student investigate universal concepts that have impacted the making and viewing of images, objects and products throughout the history of art and continue to support the core foundations of art and design today. We offer academic courses that also focus on new media, contemporary ideas and social conditions and we focus on the need for today's artists and designers to be well informed, versatile and highly skilled in order to participate in the large variety of highly competitive art and design careers available.

Grading Policy

Visual Arts Student receive multiple grades for instruction. The instructor may offer letter grades or percentage grades for homework, studio participation, research and independent work.  Students participate in quizzes, research presentations, critiques, exhibitions, homework assignment, studio production and studio management. The following terms outlines the grading philosophy of the Visual Arts Department.

Alliance refers to the designer's or artist's ability to bring forward everything that she/he has been taught in the past about design, art techniques and theories from their studio art classes at SCPA. Alliance means that the student is taking responsibility for applying instruction that they have received over time to solve new design problems. The student is willing to push himself/herself to perform at their best without the instructor needing to be present when the student is preparing at home. The students has all notes and previous art work for reference and understands how to make a personal commitment to continual progress and excellence. 

Conceptual  Elements and principles of visual organization guide all works of art. The students must understand how these concepts work to create works of art.  Art concepts: Understanding of elements & principles and concepts must be clear to the student when creating, speaking and writing about art. Concepts must be clear to the viewer and refers to the ideas and philosophies that the work of art communicates. Does the designer/artist communicate a clear set of ideas such as time of time day, a personal intent or an abstract idea? Does the artist's ideas and studio processes push the work of art to a higher thought-provoking level? Does the designer clearly communicate concepts that are needed to make the work of art exhibition quality?

Technical refers to the craft of transferring original design ideas and drafts into a final, high quality work of art. The merit and craft of drawing techniques, brush strokes, cutting, folding, printing and all other components of technical skill.  In digital works of the art, technique is the seamless quality of the images, as well as the number and quality of complex layers used to produce the image. The final work of art is what the viewer sees because the sequences of making images or objects is invisible or secondary to the final work of art.

Expression refers to the emotions and feelings that the designer/artist has communicated through the work of art to the viewer.  Does the work of art leave the viewer interested in seeing more art from this artist? Does the work have an impact on how the viewer thinks about the nature of art?

Instruction & Procedures

Instruction includes procedures for art making as well as art ideas, concepts and art background.  All instruction must be followed and improved upon by the student through practice, self-criticism and hard work.

Critical Inquiry & Journaling

Art historical, art criticism, and aesthetic philosophical inquiry teaches students fundamental artistic themes, techniques and materials.  Critical inquiry teaches students to think, plan, analyze and assess their artwork and the art of others. A clear comprehensive understanding of art inquiry through research, participation in lectures, creating art, writing, journaling and speaking is required.

List of Courses for SCPA 2010-11

  • Art Exposure I: This is a non-concentration majors courses for students grades 4-6.
  • Art Fundamentals I: Introduction to Composition, central elements and principles of art. Styles of art are presented and students explore the differences between media and techniques to communicate ideas. Grades 4 & 5
  • Art Fundamentals II: Students work with the reasons why artists create art images and objects. Continuation of compositional elements and principles. Students study purposes and choices of media for a variety of art subject matter. Grade 5 & 6.
  • Art Fundamentals III Advanced: Gifted and talented level course where students work on perfectly their technical knowledge of basic color theory, composition, observation and invention of creative imagery. Grades 5-6.
  • Prologue to Design: Talented level course where students Prologue to Design Students initiate independent, self-generated problem solving studying the influences of other artists and designers in product design, environmental design, fine arts, crafts and three-dimensional objects. Grades 7-9.
  • Color & Design Fiber Arts: 2 Year Long Arts & Communications Foundations. Pre- Advanced Placement Studio Art. Advancement by creating larger scale imagery, juxtapositions of puzzle solving in art and design for art and industry through abstract thinking. Tangible use of media to prove ideas through the use do contemporary and traditional fiber arts approaches. Grades 9-11.
  • Color & Design Drawings and Painting: 2 Year Long Arts & Communications Foundations. Pre- Advanced Placement Studio Art. Advanced drawing theory and techniques with some college portfolio drawing examinations completed to advance a student’s skill level. Students use digital media, 2D design, environmental design, as well as fine arts to complete the two-year course. Focus on student determining media choices, and industry standards in growing awareness of contemporary ideas and techniques for fine arts, design and digital opportunities and professions. Grades 9-11
  • Concepts for Color & Design: 2 Year Long Arts & Communications Foundations. Pre- Advanced Placement Studio Art. Lecture and digital studio course that gives students the opportunity to research, develop and refine theories and contemporary systems in fine arts, design and visual culture in a lecture venue as a blend between studio discipline and scholarly fine-tuning. Students study Adobe Creative Suite application. First year of instruction includes iWorks, Aperture, Adobe PhotoShop and Adobe Dreamweaver. The second year student study Adobe Illustrator and Adobe In-Design.Grades 9-11.
  • AP Art History: College Board A.P. Art History:  is a college level humanities course that surveys the development of global cultures and ideas as they evolved throughout the centuries. Arts & Communications students study arts and global cultures from pre-history to our current time. Art History is the study of global cultures and their art. Art History includes history and politics
  • AP Studio Art: Drawing: College Board Studio course designed to provide knowledge of painting techniques. Role of color theory, aesthetics, contemporary culture and historic painting plays in to the lives of professionals today. Diverse technical drawing and painting skills are taught as components of contemporary illustration. Grades 11 & 12 with permission of Department Chairperson.
  • AP Studio Art: 3D Design: College Board design course preparation for students who have an interest in careers in Visual Culture. Arts & Communications students explore formal and sensory content for furniture design, fashion, public art, environmental design, glass and dimensional or sculptural fiber arts. AP Studio Art: 3D Design addresses core principles of design and creativity through research as well as the artist’s/designer's legal and ethical responsibilities according to the Arts & Communication Standards. Grades 11 & 12 with permission of Department Chairperson.
  • Painting, Context, Criticism and Culture: Advanced students attend lectures on aesthetics, criticism and current trends in art and design. Student design programming that can be marketed for art and design while working with area museums, galleries, colleges and firms on projects that mirror real life situations. Students learn to design exhibitions, read and critique professional articles, products, exhibitions, public sites and museums. Students expand their marketing education into projects that they must market for their graduation requirements. Grades 11 & 12 with permission of Department Chairperson.
  • Junior Capstone: Juniors participate in community activity such as attending public arts performances on and off site of SCPA, private instruction from artists, or arts instructional classes that help strengthen their junior capstone project. Faculty advisors help each junior create a preprofessional thematic exhibition that is presented at the Corbett Mayerson Competition in April.
  • Senior Capstone: Senior art students continue to explore a final thesis project that includes academic and arts course work, through individual and group problem solving, expanded research, professional communication with teachers, and professional in their area of concentration. Seniors are responsible for producing media, such as invitations, hard, or digital announcements for their Capstone presentations.