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Visual Arts

About the Visual Arts Department at Carver Center

The Visual Arts Department is the largest Prime at Carver Center. Students apply by submitting a portfolio of artwork; partaking in an interview and completing a two hour audition drawing from direct observation. Application details may be found on the Magnet Office’s website.  An atmosphere of generosity, creativity, respect for each other and a strong work ethic is expected. 

In the Renaissance tradition, Carver Center’s students are taught a rigorous regimen of drawing throughout their four years.  Skill building is emphasized from the foundation level through the junior year in all classes.  Lessons in the junior and senior year are aimed at encouraging students to use their acquired skills to find and express their personal vision and connect to the core values that will carry them through college into the real world as practicing artists.

After a Foundation rotation their freshman year and a Painting requirement their sophomore year, all students can elect to take courses in Photography, Digital Fine Art, Filmmaking, Sculpture, or further Painting and Drawing.  All students are required to be enrolled in two Visual Arts classes each year ensuring a multi-disciplinary approach to artistic development.

Our philosophy on Art Education

The Visual Arts Department at Carver Center has a purely fine art philosophy to art education that has served our students very, very, well over the past 23 years. We define Fine Art as:  Art produced or intended primarily for beauty rather than utility. Art created for purely aesthetic expression, communication, or contemplation.  The word “fine” does not so much denote the quality of the artwork in question, but the purity of the discipline. Ultimately, the term fine in ‘fine art’ comes from the concept of final cause, or purpose, or end, in the philosophy of Aristotle. The final cause of fine art is the art object itself; it is not a means to another end except perhaps to please those who behold it. Here we mean that skill is being used to express the artist’s creative intent, or to engage the audience’s aesthetic sensibilities, or to draw the audience towards a “finer” consideration of a thing.

In the Visual Arts Department the teacher must cultivate the aesthetic spirit of our students to be an effective catalyst for creative thinking.  One of the objectives of the fine-artist is to create openings to the inner self through the pursuit of art.  The risk taking and self-reflection required of artists lend validity to their observations and permit innovative perceptions of life to effectively reach a universal audience.

Visual Arts students are taught to undertake a philosophy, assume personal responsibility, and apply technical and conceptual knowledge in order to clearly deliver a message creatively.  Helping students understand the cultural responsibility of being artists along with developing effective means of expressing personal issues through art are among the educational goals of Carver Center’s Visual Arts Department.


The Goals of the Visual Arts Department

To establish a strong Fine Arts curriculum that will serve as a foundation of concepts and skills for any direction our students may pursue in the visual arts.
To build strengths that will prepare the Carver Center visual arts student to enter college with distinction.
To provide our students with the information they need to discover what lies at the basis of great art.
To prepare students to articulate visual ideas creatively so that they can begin the search for a uniquely individual expression (core issues) that is based on a foundation of art history, cultural awareness and practice.
To encourage heuristic learning, e.g. to help our students discover for him/her selves the parameters of a given problem in a way that reinforces maximum use of their own initiative. 
To prepare students for sustained self-initiated work.
To help our students recognize and feel that there is within themselves the ability to surpass the ordinary and to create art of lasting value.


Carver Center Visual Arts Elements For Growth And Achievement

VISUAL VALUES (Including the Precepts of the Great Tradition of Western Art)
DIRECT OBSERVATION (Working from Life)
SKETCHBOOKS  (Maintenance and cultivation of sketchbooks as a habit of mind)
ASSIGNMENTS (Frequent and rigorous home assignments)
CRITIQUES (Frequent and honest group and one on one critiques that include strengths and weaknesses)
ART HISTORY (Museum visits and familiarization of the cannon of great artists and works of art, as well as knowledge of the contemporary artists that are shaping the current visual landscape)
SKILL DEVELOPMENT (Emphasis on skills through Junior year)
CONCEPT AND PERSONAL ISSUES DEVELOPMENT (Emphasis on exploration of personal aesthetic issues Junior and Senior years)
AESTHETIC ISSUES (Aesthetic issues in depth beyond “experimentation” stressed after an acceptable level of skill accomplishment)
WORK HABITS (Established early on in the Foundation year)
LEGACY (Continue the living legacy of student accomplishments)
MENTORING & GENEROSITY (Between peers and across grade levels)
REVERENCE and RESPECT (Develop a respect for all aspects of the Visual Arts including gallery walls, materials, past and present artists, accomplishments and attitudes)
INCREMENTAL DEVELOPMENT (Taking students from popular art, cartooning and copying to the pursuit of fine art. Translating life from direct observation. Consistent emphasis on drawing. Moving beyond rendering: product-oriented work to an open, and risk taking approach to unlocking personal expression. Encouraging intuition and planning in order to develop concepts as well and encouraging an awareness of the objective and subjective self.)




Carver Center Visual Arts Outline for Incremental Development

Level 1 Freshman year–Foundation /skill based / introduction to intense looking and seeing / fine art concepts / terminology and fundamental approaches to working with the medium / introduction to a critical dialogue through critiques / portfolio development. / sketchbook development 

Level 2 Sophomore year- skill based / in depth experience in beginning mastery of technical problems / more emphasis on the understanding of art terms / increased level of expectations on ambitious solutions to solving skill based assignments / preparation for Sophomore portfolio reviews / continued development of the sketchbook

Level 3 Junior year – 1st Semester: Primarily skill based honoring individual exploration of concepts that are consistent with the assignments. 2nd Semester: Equal emphasis on both skill and concepts. Students are expected to work at developing intelligent and challenging approaches to assignments / portfolio preparation and photo documentation / sketchbook development / preparation for Junior portfolio reviews.

Level 4 Senior year – Assignments that put the emphasis on individual interpretations, consistent with personal issues associated with teacher-oriented assignments. 

All areas within the Visual Arts Department will insure that weekly or bi-weekly assignments are given.

All Visual Arts faculty are encouraged to pursue their personal art work so that they can teach through example.