Visual Arts

The visual arts department at MRA offers an array of opportunities for students to learn the history, materials, techniques, and appreciation of the arts.

On a daily basis, Kindergarten students are exposed to artistic design elements. Our Kindergarten is led by thematic teaching. Multiple art projects are incorporated into each teaching unit to enhance our students’ fine motor skills, creativity, and the understanding of the current week’s lesson. Students are encouraged to explore their creativity, using various media, such as torn paper, pencil drawing, colored pencils, crayons, markers, colored pastels, acrylic paint, and water colors.

Elementary students attend art class once a week for fifty minutes. The students experience a sequential study of the visual arts from the first grade to the fifth grade. The program is designed to expose the students to an array of projects using various media and techniques. The program is built upon the use of the elements and principles of design, the study of artists and their techniques and styles, as well as an overview of art history.

Middle and High school students have the option of semester courses in Drawing I/II, Painting I/II, Ceramics I/II, Printmaking, and Digital Photography I/II and Graphic Design I/II. Students are encouraged to begin a focus of study in the upper-level courses for the option of submitting an AP portfolio. Classes include instruction of techniques, oral critiques, teaching constructive criticism and how to communicate about artwork. Local field trips encourage further appreciation for art in the community, as well as studies of traveling exhibits.

Visual Art Offerings

Elementary Art: 1st - 5th Grades
The students in grades one thru five will experience drawing and painting in various media, including sculpting, weaving, printmaking, glass fusing, and ceramics. The students will have access to a printing press, a glass kiln, a ceramic kiln, and various tools of the trade. Although academic based, self-expression, creativity, and problem solving are encouraged.

MS/HS: 6th—12th Grades
Drawing and Painting:
Using pencils, charcoal, conte’, pastels, watercolors, and acrylics, students will learn drawing and painting techniques by studying master artists and the Elements and Principles of Design. Students will practice constructive criticism during oral and written critiques. Field studies and visiting local galleries and museums will also enhance the students’ understanding and appreciation of the arts. Students will continue to develop painting and drawing skills in level II, with the option to prepare a portfolio for AP Studio submission.

Digital Photography:
Students study the history of photography, the mechanics of point-and-shoots and DSLR cameras, as well as multiple techniques for catching a shot. Students learn basic editing tools to enhance photos, as well as best practices for saving and displaying images. Level II gives students the opportunity to practice more sophisticated editing programs, with the option to prepare a portfolio for AP Design submission.

Printmaking:
This class is an introduction to the printmaking process, including history, development and techniques. Two traditional categories of printmaking, the relief print and intaglio, are introduced and practiced. Using techniques in each category, students will practice reductive and additive processes. Traditional and experimental approaches are encouraged.

Ceramics:
This class will focus on the study and use of ceramic processes and techniques, including hand forming, molding, instruction to wheel throwing, glaze utilization and kiln operation. Ceramic history and contemporary trends in design development of this medium are utilized and observed. Included, but not limited to this class, are pottery, sculpture, and mixed media. Traditional and experimental approaches are encouraged.

Graphic Communication:
This class is a comprehensive study of graphic and layout design. Students learn how to produce professional quality designs that incorporate text, artwork, photos and color. Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are some of the programs used to create these designs. Graphic Communication is considered a fine art class. Although designers do not use the same tools as traditional classes, they review and utilize knowledge of color and composition. Student projects include: logo design, stationary, celebrity and sports posters, tickets, magazine covers, DVD and video cases. Students have the opportunity to base their design choices on their specific interests. Graphic Communication students also create actual printed work for MRA. These include club and event t-shirts, invitations, and posters for school and sporting events. The goal of this class is to teach students a skill they can enjoy and continue to use in college and beyond.