Visual Arts

Arts Vision

Friends School of Minnesota believes that the opportunity to respond to, create, and perform in the arts is essential to the development of the whole person. Education includes learning through music, drama, dance, and visual arts, as well as learning to enjoy those disciplines for their own sake. We also believe the arts are an integral part of our humanity and our cultural history; therefore, the arts are an integral part of our school’s culture and our students’ personal and social development.

Six Guiding Principles of Arts Education at FSM 

  1. Experiential. Active, hands-on, concrete experience is the most effective method of arts education. Students are immersed in the most direct experience possible.
  2. Holistic. Children learn best when they encounter whole ideas, events, and materials within a purposeful context. Understanding the integral role the arts have both in history and in human culture enhances appreciation.
  3. Authentic. Real, rich, complex ideas and materials are at the heart of the curriculum. Whenever possible, students’ interests are incorporated into classroom activities. This may lead to spontaneous changes in studies and influence curriculum. 
  4. Expressive. To develop expressiveness students must be involved in meaningful arts experiences. Many opportunities are provided throughout the arts curriculum for students to share their work with a variety of audiences.
  5. Collaborative. Cooperative learning in the arts is more effective than competitive and star-centered approaches. Students’ skills are enriched through collaboration with other students and across classroom grade levels and curriculum areas.
  6. Challenging. Students learn best when faced with genuine challenges, choices, and responsibilities in their learning, and when their efforts to achieve are supported.

 

Linkages

FSM seeks to integrate arts education with other curriculum areas, which greatly enhances students’ experiential learning. We also embrace the school-wide commitment to cooperative learning. A portion of the art specialist’s time (30% FTE) is dedicated to visual art integration, allowing for deep cross-curricular connections to be made.

Arts education at Friends School incorporates the values and spirit of our Quaker mission. Public performance, as in the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, is viewed as service which supports and strengthens unity within the school and the broader community. FSM’s multicultural goals are also supported through exposure to the arts of diverse cultures and the artistic achievement of individual artists.

We offer additional arts experiences to lower schoolers through many Open Lab activities, to middle schoolers through extracurricular activities (5-6 and 7-8 drama clubs, art club, and crafts club), and to all students through the after school music program. FSM’s summer program offers a range of individual classes in all of the arts for grades 2-8, plus an early childhood integrated arts program to grades pre-K-3; faculty in the summer program are practicing artists who also teach. Financial aid equivalent to a family’s tuition aid is offered for all fee-based programs during the year; financial aid of up to 50% of tuition is offered to all families in the summer.

Friends School understands the importance of building a strong arts curriculum. Our 2014 addition to the building included a new art room built for the unique needs of studio art across all grades. The art specialist position includes a 30% FTE dedicated to arts integration across the curriculum. The art specialist works with teachers to find areas where their curricula intersect so that students experience a more meaningful connection with materials and a deeper learning experience. Arts integration happens both during the regularly scheduled art time and outside of that time. In cases where the time is scheduled outside of the regular art period, the classroom teacher and the art specialist teach together and learn from one another, thus also serving as professional development for both teachers.

In order to successfully meet the music benchmarks established for FSM, general music education instruction time was increased starting in the 2012-2013 school year. An additional thirty minutes per week of musical instruction time was added to grades K-3. Lower school student now attend music class for thirty minutes, three times per week. Equipment, including a professionally restored Mason and Hamlin grand piano, a new Yamaha studio piano, concert risers and acoustical shells, and a classroom playback sound system, were purchased. The new equipment enhances student practice, study, and performance.


 

Visual Arts Strategies and Benchmarks                

The visual art program is grounded in the belief that art is an essential component of progressive education at Friends School. Progressive pedagogy requires hands-on, relevant, and experiential learning—all things that are inherent to the production of visual art. Students develop thinking skills through both studio practice and looking at and discussing works of art.

Visual art provides an alternative means of communication that allows students to view the world in new ways and understand multiple perspectives. Students are invited to create new thoughts and experiences and develop strong artistic voices as part of their learning through the visual arts. Making art helps students process ideas and feelings, and helps infuse their lives with joy, passion, innovation, and meaning. Experimentation and play are integral parts of visual art education at Friends School. In addition to formal demonstrations of art techniques, students are encouraged to observe and experiment on their own to discover new ways of using materials and tools as they work towards finished projects.

While formal art history is not a part of the regular curriculum, exposure to artists and styles of art throughout time and across cultures provide a window into how artists see and interpret the world, and inspire students’ own art production. Discussion and investigation of art help develop thinking skills and habits of mind that serve students well across the curriculum, and in their roles as productive members of society.

The visual art curriculum at FSM is organized around guiding questions. Lower school students explore questions such as

  • What do artists do?
  • How do artists use tools?
  • Why do artists make art?
  • Where do artists find inspiration?
  • What do artists and scientists have in common?
  • How do artists communicate narrative?
  • How do artists interpret their environments?
  • How do artists represent their world?
  • Where can I find sources of inspiration?
  • What can we learn by looking at art?
  • How can art help me see new things?
  • How can art help me understand multiple perspectives?
  • How can art help us understand ourselves?
  • How can we tell stories through art?
  • How do artists communicate mood and emotion through art?

Middle school students explore

  • How can I communicate ideas and feelings through visual means?
  • What is the connection between art and everyday life?
  • In what ways can art help me solve problems?
  • In what ways can art help me create meaning?
  • How can art help me see connections?
  • How do artists use symbols to represent ideas and feelings?
  • How can I use art making and the studio process to help me reflect on experiences, ideas, and emotions?
  • How can an aesthetic lens and studio practice help me see new perspectives?
  • How can art help me understand myself and others?
  • How can art help create a sense of place?
  • What purpose does art serve within communities?
  • How can art help create social change?

While there are no formal benchmarks for visual art, the curriculum is designed so that by the end of eighth grade students will 

  • gain experience with a wide variety of materials and techniques in both two and three dimensional media,
  • use the artistic process to create meaningful works of art,
  • explore why artists make art and what kinds of things inspire people to make art,
  • understand how artwork is a product of culture, technology and time,
  • learn to analyze works of art for meaning,
  • experience and understand connections between art and life,
  • explore art as a medium for self-expression and communication, and
  • understand how to use the aesthetic realm and studio practice to process ideas and feelings, and to see new perspectives on the world. 

 

Visual Arts Outline 

Kindergarten

Themes

Observation, experimentation, exploration, and discovery of self and environment 

Guiding Questions

  • What new things can you discover about materials?
  • What do artists do?
  • What do artists and scientists have in common?
  • How do artists use tools?
  • How do artists interpret their environments?
  • How can art help us understand ourselves?
  • How can we tell stories through art?

Content

  • Materials exploration: paint, black line pen, liquid watercolor, wire, clay, oil and chalk pastel, tempera, printmaking
  • Beginning color mixing, brush effects, observation of nature
  • Beginning clay construction: creating texture, score, slip, pinch
  • Representation of nature, faces and animals, shapes in nature
  • Self portraits, becoming an animal
  • Special places, important memories big and small 

Integration

Science, Story Workshop, environmental education

Benchmarks and Goals

  • Gain experience with materials and tools
  • Explore art as a medium for self expression

 

First and Second Grade, year one

Themes

Observation, experimentation, exploration, and discovery of self and environment

Guiding Questions

  • What new things can you discover about materials?
  • What do artists do?
  • What do artists and scientists have in common?
  • How do artists use tools?
  • How do artists interpret their environments?
  • How can we tell stories through art?
  • What can we learn by looking at art?

Content

  • Found object construction
  • Strong and sturdy (e.g., slot construction)
  • Watercolor experimentation
  • Brush effects
  • Paper folding
  • Fabric art (e.g., batik, needlepoint)
  • Can you mix it? colors of nature
  • Observations of natural objects
  • Contour drawing
  • Beginning clay construction: relief, score, slip, extensions of pinch pots
  • Representation of nature, faces, and animals
  • Organic/geometric shapes
  • Storytellers: (e.g., masks, puppets, clay)
  • Examples such as Maria Sybllia Merian, Ancient Egyptian relief, Asian batik, Dubuffet, Peruvian masks, Pueblo storytellers

Integration

Science, insect studies, folktales, animal research

Benchmarks and Goals

  • Gain Experience with a wide variety of materials and techniques
  • Explore where artists get inspiration
  • Begin to see connections between art and life

 

First and Second Grade, year two

Themes

Observation, exploration, experimentation and discovery, narrative communities and environment

Guiding Questions

  • What new things can you discover about materials?
  • What do artists do; how do they use tools?
  • What do artists and engineers have in common?
  • How do artists interpret and represent their environment?
  • How can we tell stories through art?
  • Where can I find sources of inspiration?
  • What can we learn by looking at art? 

Content

  • Printmaking  
  • Wire  
  • Found objects  
  • Collage  
  • Black line pen  
  • Watercolor 
  • Motion and balance (e.g., bending bodies, wire sculpture, circus) 
  • Pattern and texture (e.g., paws, fins, feathers, and skin)
  • Space and form (e.g., neighborhood architecture, parts of buildings)
  • Storytelling (e.g., panorama books, story quilts, clay storytellers) 
  • Research, imagination, personal stories, experiences     
  • Examples such as Calder, Faith Ringgold, world architecture, Pueblo storytellers

Integration

Science: balance, engineering, motion; neighborhood mapping, animal research

Benchmarks and Goals

  • Gain experience with a wide variety of materials and techniques
  • Explore where artists get inspiration
  • Begin to see connections between art and life

 

Third and Fourth Grade, year one

Themes

Composition, mood and emotion, abstraction, point of view

Guiding Questions

  • How do artists convey mood and emotion in art?
  • How do artists use tools?
  • How do artists represent their world?
  • How do artists help us see new things?
  • Where do artists find sources of inspiration?
  • What can we learn by looking at art?

Content

  • Unity
  • Movement
  • Interpretations of nature
  • Center of interest
  • Continuing clay construction: coil
  • 3-D Form
  • Human proportion
  • Abstraction
  • Space, proportion
  • Research, environment, experiences, observation
  • World views
  • Examples such as O’Keeffe, Audubon, Keith Haring, a variety of world ceramics 

Integration

Social studies (maps), science (anatomy, Minnesota birds), animal research

Benchmarks and Goals

  • Expand experience and skills with a wide variety of materials and techniques
  • Analyze works of art for meaning
  • Explore art as a medium for self-expression

 

Third and Fourth Grade, year two

Themes

Space, mood and emotion, abstraction through design

Guiding Questions

  • How do artists convey mood and feeling?
  • How do artists represent their world?
  • Where do artists find sources of inspiration?
  • What can we learn by looking at art? 

Content

  • Color, atmospheric perspective 
  • Facial features
  • Pattern, repetition, form (e.g., weaving, design animals, architecture)
  • Imagination inspired by reality
  • Examples such as Mayan textiles and architecture, world architecture, Miro, Impressionists, Amate bark painting

Integration

Social studies (Ancient cultures), Science (electromagnetism), research projects

Benchmarks and Goals

  • Expand experience and skills with a wide variety of materials and techniques
  • Analyze works of art for meaning
  • Explore art as a medium for self-expression

 

Fifth and Sixth Grade, year one

Themes

Communication, perspective, place

Guiding Questions

  • How can I communicate ideas through visual means?
  • How can art help me see things in new ways?
  • How do artists represent their world?
  • What is the connection between art and everyday life?
  • How can art help create a sense of place?
  • How can art help me understand others and myself?
  • What can we learn by looking at art?

Content

  • Graphic design (sketchbooks)
  • Contour (many views)
  • Design to represent reality (x-ray animal)
  • Form follows function (e.g., bookmaking, imaginative slab boxes)
  • Representation of weather/seasons (e.g., sumi-e ink painting, two color block prints, watercolor landscapes)
  • Self portraits and totems
  • Examples such as Aboriginal design, various book forms and artist books, containers from many cultures, Hokusai, contemporary printmaking, sumi-e, Monet

Integration

Science (moon, tree), environmental education (river studies), humanities (immigration) 

Benchmarks and Goals

  • Expand experience and skills with a wide variety of materials and techniques
  • Use the artistic process to create meaningful works of art
  • Understand how art is a product of culture, technology, and time
  • Demonstrate connection between art and life
  • Explore art as a medium for self expression

 

Fifth and Sixth Grade, year two

Themes

Communication, expression, perspective

Guiding Questions

  • How can art help me see connections?
  • How do artists create mood and feeling?
  • How do artists communicate through visual means?
  • How can art help me understand others and myself?
  • How can art help me see new perspectives? 
  • How can I express mood and feeling through art? 
  • How do artists help me see things in new ways?
  • What can we learn by looking at art?

Content

  • Similar element collage
  • Color theory, color interactions (e.g., complimentary colors, pop painting, surreal school)
  • Linear perspective (e.g., surreal school)
  • Extreme expressions
  • Grid portraits
  • Photography (e.g., Chalk talk)
  • Examples such as various collage artists, Andy Warhol, Dali, Magritte, Tanguy, Chuck Close, Wing Huie

Integration

Environmental education (reflection after overnight)

Benchmarks and Goals

  • Expand experience and skills with a wide variety of materials and techniques
  • Utilize the artistic process to create meaningful works of art
  • Understand how art is a product of culture, technology, and time
  • Demonstrate connection between art and life
  • Explore art as a medium for self expression

 

Seventh and Eighth Grade, year one

Themes

Composition, connection, personal expression

Guiding Questions

  • How can I communicate ideas through visual means? 
  • How can art help me see connections? 
  • What is the connection between art and everyday life? 
  • How can art help me see things in new ways? 
  • How can I express mood and feeling through art? 
  • How can I use art making to process ideas, experiences, and emotions? 
  • What can we learn by looking at art? 

Content

  • Symbol; What does a font say? (portfolio designs)
  • Modified masterpiece
  • Metamorphosis
  • Whistles
  • Negative space
  • Expressive painting
  • Gesture, representing figures and action (e.g., plaster figures)
  • Choice, reflection after overnights and field trips
  • Examples such as Magritte, M.C. Escher, multicultural clay whistles, Jim Dine, Van Gogh, Modigliani, a variety of iconic works of art

Integration

Environmental education (reflection after overnight)

Benchmarks and Goals

  • Expand experience and skills with a wide variety of materials and techniques
  • Use the artistic process to create meaningful works of art
  • Understand how art is a product of culture, technology, and time
  • Demonstrate connection between art and life
  • Explore art as a medium for self expression

 

Seventh and Eighth Grade, year two

Themes

Place, transformation, identity

Guiding Questions

  • How can art help create a sense of place?
  • How can an aesthetic lens help me see new perspectives?
  • Where do artists get inspiration?
  • How does the artistic process help me think and solve problems?
  • What is the connection between art and everyday life?
  • How can art help me understand others and myself?
  • How can I use art making to process experiences, ideas, and emotions?
  • What can we learn by looking at art?

Content

  • Photography composition (Crosby Farm)
  • Art Marks
  • Transformation of ordinary objects (e.g., popcorn transformation, cut away)
  • Form follows function (e.g., teapots)
  • Identity masks
  • Choice, reflection after overnights and field trips
  • Examples such as Ansel Adams, Elliot Porter, Earnst Haas, Henri Cartier Bresson, Mardi Gras and Venetian Carnival masks, multicultural teapots, Goldsworthy

Content

Environmental education (Crosby Farm)

Benchmarks and Goals

  • Expand experience and skills with a wide variety of materials and techniques
  • Use the artistic process to create meaningful works of art
  • Understand how art is a product of culture, technology, and time
  • Demonstrate connection between art and life
  • Explore art as a medium for self expression