HSPVA Inside Look: Visual Art Department
The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts is a unique school in the greater Montrose museum district that allows access to college level courses in the arts to high school students. The school features six departments - Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental, Theatre, Visual Art, and Vocal - which are filled with talented and hardworking young artists.
HSPVA is distinctive in the way in which it functions as an art school, as well as a school of academic excellence, and students are often asked about how their busy schedules and art area courses end up panning out. So allow me to explain my own art area, Visual Art…
Similar to many other high schools, HSPVA follows a blocked schedule, where students take half of their academic classes every other day. However, what is different for students here, is that only their academic classes follow the traditional blocked schedule, while the other half of their classes are used to develop their craft within their specific art area. For example, visual artists attend one expanded 3 hour period in art either before or after lunch every day.
In the Visual Art Department, each semester is packed with opportunities for students to experiment with a wide variety of mediums and forms of art. Students are able to develop their own preference, style and artistic voice through the numerous classes available to them, as well as discover any possible career path in art which may be pursued in the future. As a freshman, students are first exposed to the world of an arts high school and begin their journey with courses on the basics. Some of which include: Art Vocabulary, Collage, 3-D Sculpture, Drawing, and Digital Literacy (Photoshop).
Next, in their sophomore year, students take part in an even wider variety of courses, including Woodshop, Cartooning, Photography, Video, Printmaking, Illustration, Idea Development, Architecture, Ceramics and Painting. This is known to be the “elective year” because it’s the year that art teachers encourage students to experiment in an especially wide variety of mediums in order for them to decide what they would like to focus on as upperclassmen. Then, in the final two years at the school, students are able to have a lot more freedom, as they now will have a choice between different classes, in addition to free studio work time.
Although this is the way the Visual Art Department functions, the other art areas at the school also have their own schedules, unique characteristics and talented young artists.
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