• Visual Arts Department

    The Visual Arts Curriculum at Lexington High School is a course of studies that is reflective of the National Standards for the Arts and The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Students are challenged to develop their skills in critical and creative thinking, real world problem-solving, collaboration, reflection and self-assessment, and exploration of universal ideas. 

    Course offerings provide students with a sequential pattern of innovative and authentic learning experiences. Outcomes for each course will be based on the concepts of: 

    1. Production and Performance 
    2. Imaginative, Critical and Reflective Thinking 
    3. Understanding of Cultural and Historical Contexts 
    4. Authentic Assessment 

    Basic department expectations include consistent attendance at all classes, homework and completion of all assignments according to guidelines available from each instructor. 

    6100 – Foundations of Fine Art 

    2 credits – semester 

    An introductory course which is a prerequisite for all other visual arts courses. Students will understand how artists apply the art elements, design principles, and vocabulary in two dimensional and three dimensional works of art. Students will experiment with a range of media and will explore image-making and personal interpretation through both observation and imagination. Students will develop appropriate studio habits and will be responsible for sketchbook assignments, which complement classroom projects. 

    6300 – Foundations of Digital Art 

    2 credits – semester 

    An introductory course that mirrors the concepts taught in Foundations of Fine Art (composition, scale, form, value, color theory, negative/positive space, critique, etc.), but in a digital format. Students will understand the basic fundamentals of the digital camera, Photoshop, Illustrator, video editing software, and other applications. This course is project-based. Students who are interested in making artwork through digital media are encouraged to take this course. 

    6410 – Computer Animation 

    2 credits – semester 

    Prerequisite: Either Foundations of Fine Art or Foundations of Digital Art 

    Open to students in grades 10, 11 and 12. This course will introduce students to the creative world of digital animation using the computer as a tool. Through the use of cutting edge, industry standard software and other hands-on experiences, students will learn how to produce their own unique multimedia animation productions. Students will incorporate music and/or sound effects in their animations, and may include photographs, scanned images, video clips and text, as well as other sources of imagery. The fundamentals of animation, such as storyboarding, timing, exaggeration, animatics and staging will be emphasized. 

    6440 – Graphic Design 

    2 credits – semester

    Prerequisite: either Foundations of Fine Art or Foundations of Digital Art 

    Graphic Design provides an introduction to the fundamental principles of typography, color theory, and layout as well as the theories behind effective visual messaging. Through the use of design software including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, students will demonstrate an understanding of industry standards, while producing personal work that expresses their individual and creative voice. Throughout the semester students will add their completed work to an online digital portfolio, which can be used for future digital art classes at LHS and beyond. 

    6111 – Drawing I 

    2 credits – semester 

    Prerequisite: Either Foundations of Fine Art or Foundations of Digital Art 

    Through a series of projects, students will develop their knowledge and skills in drawing from observation and imagination by exploring fundamental drawing elements and principles: contour, negative space, value, proportion, distortion and color. Students will become familiar with different drawing media including graphite, pen and ink, oil pastels and colored pencils. Sketchbook and homework assignments will complement classroom projects. 

    6112 – Drawing II 

    2 credits – semester 

    Prerequisite: Drawing I 

    A continuation of Drawing I, this course will explore projects that require more of an abstract or personal interpretation of ideas and observations. Students will experiment with a variety of drawing materials and mixed media: graphite, charcoal, pen and ink, colored pencils, pastel and wet media like watercolors. Students will continue to develop their knowledge and skills with the drawing elements and principles including contour, value, proportion, composition, emphasis, unity and balance. Sketchbook and homework assignments will complement classroom projects. 

    6130 – Illustration 

    2 credits – semester 

    Prerequisite: Drawing I 

    Illustration can be found in children’s books, book covers, websites, magazines, album covers, clothing, skateboards, and comic books. Illustration is everywhere! In this class we will be learning many skills that are useful to create great illustrations. Graphic Design concepts and creative problem solving abilities will be presented in this class. We will explore different art materials and learn about accomplished historic and contemporary creators. Students will be shown how to create thumbnail sketches, pitch an idea, and make necessary adjustments in order to bring ideas into form. Drawing and storytelling skills will be strengthened in this class. 

    6141 – Painting I 

    2 credits – semester

    Prerequisite: Drawing I 

    An understanding of basic color theory will extend to an exploration of the emotional and persuasive application 40 of color. Students will learn essential acrylic and watercolor painting techniques, including opacity, translucence, texture and surface manipulation, and will apply those principles in projects that involve both observation and imagination. Emphasis will be on composition, balance, focus, depth and form. Sketchbook assignments will complement studio work. 

    6142 – Painting II 

    2 credits – semester

    Prerequisite: Painting I 

    This course will build on the knowledge and skills developed in Painting I. Projects in figurative and abstract painting will lead the student to a deeper understanding of color, its application and effect. Through the exploration of traditional and contemporary viewpoints, each student will be encouraged to develop a personal vision. Sketchbook assignments will support class work. 

    6211 – Ceramics 

    2 credits – semester

    Prerequisite: Either Foundations of Fine Art or Foundations of Digital Art 

    Students will explore the potential of clay by being introduced to the basic techniques of hand-building and glazing. Assignments are centered around a theme with choices to reflect the various interests of each student. A basic introduction to the pottery wheel will be included. 

    6212 – Advanced Ceramics

     2 credits – semester 

    Prerequisite: Ceramics

    Students will continue their personal exploration of clay by learning more experienced techniques of hand-building, wheel working and glazing. Sculpture and vessel-making will focus on form, surface design and color relationships. Students will discuss and view contemporary and historical ceramic artwork. Students may repeat this course for credit with permission of the instructor. 

    6251 – Photography 

    2 credits – semester

    Prerequisite: Either Foundations of Fine Art or Foundations of Digital Art 

    Open to students in grades 11 or 12 or with permission of the instructor. This is a course in creating expressive and meaningful photographs! Students will become proficient using film cameras, while exploring basic and unique techniques for image printing in the darkroom. The course is focused on black and white traditional photography, an energizing balance of taking the photographs and then personally developing enlarged images in the studio. Students will need their own 35mm manual film camera as basic equipment for the course. There are some school cameras available to loan out. Students also need to plan on purchasing film and photographic paper as needed throughout the semester (approximately $95 total). Please see instructor if assistance is needed with these costs. 

    6252 – Advanced Photography 

    2 credits – semester

    Prerequisite: Photography I 

    Open to students in grades 11 or 12. A more advanced course in the study of black and white photography, this course is a continuation of the fundamental skills learned in Photography 1. Students will expand their knowledge of camera controls as well as exciting printing techniques in the darkroom, including solarization, hand coloring, toning, and night photography. Students are encouraged to express their creativity through the use of artistic camera controls. 

    6260 – Documentary Photography 

    2 credits – semester 

    Prerequisite: Advanced Photography 

    Open to students in grades 11 and 12. This course is a continuation of black and white photography techniques in which the students will construct a portfolio of work through direct observation of life. Students will pursue the social relevance of families; events; cultural similarities and differences; and observations of our community. Students will study the work of pioneer photographers and discover how to create their own decisive moments. 

    6370 – Digital Imaging 

    2 credits – semester 

    Prerequisite: Either Foundations of Fine Art or Foundations of Digital Art 

    This course introduces students to the basic principles and applications of digital photography as a medium, a skill-set, and an integral part of today’s digital literacy needs. Topics covered include capturing images using digital cameras, importing pictures and manipulating them in Photoshop for maximum artistic effect. Composition, camera functions, and integration of typography with pictures will also be covered. Students are required to participate in class discussions, work collaboratively and spend time working on out-of-school projects. Students must meet the criteria given for each assignment and participate in the critique of their own work, as well as the work of others. Projects may include: a magazine cover, a print ad, documentary photography, photographic collage, etc. Canon DSLR cameras are available for students to share and use in class. Students are encouraged to use their own DSLR cameras for convenience and to use outside of class. 

    6230 – Sculpture 

    2 credits – semester 

    Prerequisite: Either Foundations of Fine Art or Foundations of Digital Art 

    Sculpture is an introductory course dealing with form and space. Conceptually, it will build on the Foundations courses, concentrating on 3-D design principles. Students will use a variety of materials, such as metal, clay, cardboard and papier-mâché. Student’s self-expression will be encouraged through exploration of traditional and nontraditional approaches to sculpture. Students will explore the conceptual and technical fundamentals of form study: scale, volume, mass, and space. This hands-on studio course focuses on sculptural object making, using a variety of media to plan, prototype, and produce projects. In addition to this practical knowledge, students gain an understanding of conceptual and expressive practices. 

    6280 – Introduction to Portfolio (Spring semester) 

    2 credits – semester 

    Prerequisite: Either Foundations of Fine Art or Foundations of Digital Art and one other art class 

    Open to juniors interested in majoring or minoring in Art (in college), as well as those who want to submit a portfolio as a supplement to liberal arts college applications. Students will learn what different schools require in portfolio submissions, review their “portfolio worthy” work to date, and engage in class projects designed to 42 supplement their portfolios. The instructor will also offer recommendations for pre-college summer art programs for those interested in applying to Art Colleges. 

    6290 – Senior Portfolio for Art Majors (Fall semester) 

    2 credits – semester 

    Prerequisite: Either Foundations of Fine Art or Foundations of Digital Art and Introduction to Portfolio or upon the recommendation of an art instructor and approval of the Department Head. 

    Open to first semester seniors who are applying to Art Colleges, or students who want to develop an art portfolio. Most Art Schools require portfolios of 15-20 samples of your best work; some also have specific “entry assignments.” In this class the instructor will work closely with each student (and other department faculty) to ensure that they individually compile portfolios of strong work with emphasis on their particular field of interest. Students in Senior Portfolio will be required to exhibit a selection of their work in the LHS Senior Art Show. 

    6311 – Digital Video Production I 

    2 credits – semester 

    Prerequisite: Either Foundations of Fine Art or Foundations of Digital Art 

    This is a hands-on course where students learn to use digital video equipment and create video segments or mini-documentaries edited on computers. Throughout the course, students will examine the impact of news and entertainment television as well as online videos and podcasting. A critical analysis of television will be used to discuss bias and point of view used in production techniques. Students will learn how to create storyboards, write scripts, edit on iMovie, use camera techniques effectively and will understand the steps involved television production. Homework for this course should take an average of 2-3 hours per week. It will include video viewing and related readings. There will be two written tests on terminology. 

    6312 – Digital Video Production II 

    2 credits – semester

    Prerequisite: Digital Video Production I and/or permission of the instructor 

    Students will continue to develop and sharpen skills from Digital Video Production I. Students will learn and apply the basic structure of small studio lighting, write scripts, conduct interviews, research topics, use a camera effectively, refine their editing skills, produce and direct a show for television. Students will create two types of programming: Studio Production and video segments. In the Studio Production portion of the class, students will create a Magazine show to highlight the video segments. The magazine show will be televised on LexMedia, Lexington’s public access station. 

    6490 – Independent Study 

    2 credits – semester 

    Open to students in grades 11 and 12. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Foundations of Fine Art or Foundations of Digital Art and 3 additional Fine Art credits. Permission of the Instructor and Department Head. 

    Fine Arts Independent Study is a capstone course of self-designed study in which a student develops a body of work or expands upon a portfolio developed in an advanced class. The student must have clear ideas about what they will accomplish, outline goals and timelines, and establish critique time with the cooperating instructor. Independent study is not to be interpreted as “private lessons,” i.e., applying for an independent study with little or no background or experience in that art form. Independent studies are intended for the advanced student that has demonstrated a high level of motivation, maturity, and responsibility in the studio. Students should expect to work in the art studio four class blocks each week. Students must complete an independent study request sheet (provided by the sponsoring teacher) that requires teacher, guidance counselor, and department head approval.