Two semesters required

[Unless otherwise noted, all academic courses in this department meet both CSU and UC entrance requirements]

College Prep Classes

Visual Arts

#6036  INTRODUCTION TO VISUAL EXPRESSION    
10 credits - Grade(s) All  
Prerequisite: None
Fee: $100

No prior experience is needed – all skill levels are welcome! Activities and projects are specifically designed to introduce the student to the elements and principles of design. Techniques covered include: use of line and value, light and shadow, shape and space, use of perspective (1 point and 2 point), composition, and portraiture. Students will explore a variety of mediums (pencil, charcoal, oil pastel, watercolor, acrylic paint, collage). There will be field trips to local galleries and museums, as well as whole class discussions and preparation of a portfolio. Students will develop their own artistic style and voice over the year. This is a year-long course.

#6025 INTRODUCTION TO PHOTOGRAPHY    
10 credits - Grade(s) All 
Prerequisite: none 
Fee: $100

This course inspires students to learn the process of traditional black and white film photography as a means of visual expression.  During the first semester, students develop an eye for strong craftsmanship and compositional skills, basic principles of 35 mm camera use, time-honored darkroom techniques, and an appreciation of the history and development of photography as a fine art form.  During the second semester, students build upon their first semester knowledge to refine and expand their newly acquired skills and develop their artistic voice with projects that equally challenge their critical thinking and creativity.  They will be given the opportunity to showcase their work in a number of shows/contests and Notre Dame publications. Students will shoot primarily outside of class time, though we will go on local photo shoot field trips, visit MLK Library’s Special Collections, and visit local art galleries. This is a year-long course.

*A 35mm manual single lens reflex film camera is a plus for the student. Loaners may be available for student use.

#6045 INTRODUCTION TO CERAMICS       
10 credits - Grade(s) All
Prerequisite: None
Fee: $100

This course is an introduction to the nature of clay, including the three basic hand-building techniques: pinch, coil and slab; and wheel thrown methods.  Various glaze, surface enrichment techniques, and firing processes are studied.  The course provides students with an opportunity to create decorative, functional and sculptural ceramic ware. Lectures and ceramic forms from both ancient and contemporary cultures are studied to enrich the students’ knowledge of ceramics. There will be field trips to local galleries, museums and ceramic studios. This is a year-long course.

#6041 ADVANCED CERAMICS ~ CERAMICS II  
5 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12 
Prerequisite: Introduction to Ceramics   
Fee: $50

Through this class, students will continue to expand their ceramics knowledge through an exploration of scale, function, form, and surface design. This semester-long class will further explore utilizing ceramics as a vehicle for personal expression expanding the student’s conceptual development, techniques, and understanding of materials. Focused on ceramic sculpture, students will investigate advanced handbuilding strategies as well as pottery wheel techniques. Handbuilding techniques will include learning how to use leather-hard slabs of clay to build modular forms that will articulate the student’s visual narrative. Pottery wheel techniques will introduce the wheel as a sculptural tool to throw multiple forms that will then be reassembled into functional ware. A variety of surface decorations will be covered including: underglaze image transfer, inlay, water etching, sgraffito, and slip trailing. Throughout the semester, students will study contemporary ceramics artists as well as ceramics art history to inform and connect this research to their own artmaking practice.  Students will be expected to record their research in their ceramics journal, write reflective essays, participate in class discussions, collaborate with peers, and observe proper ceramics studio etiquette.

#6010 ADVANCED CERAMICS ~ WHEEL THROWING
5 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisites: Introduction to Ceramics
Fee: $50

From ancient techniques to contemporary practices, students will delve into the world of the potter’s wheel in this semester-long course. Through guided research, students will build upon their prior ceramics knowledge by using the pottery wheel as a tool to articulate their visual voice as well as expand their artist portfolio to include advanced level works that demonstrate mastery of technical skill and personal aesthetic.  Students will learn to throw complex wheel-thrown form such as a set of matching teacups, vases, lidded jars, and teapots. A variety of surface design techniques will be covered including: underglaze image transfer, inlay, water etching, wax resist, sgraffito, and slip trailing. Students will also have the opportunity to explore different clay bodies and continue to enrich the surface by layering mid-fire glazes. Throughout the semester, students will study contemporary ceramics artists as well as ceramics art history to inform and connect this research to their own artmaking practice. Students will be expected to record their research in their ceramics journal, write reflective essays, participate in class discussions, collaborate with peers, and observe proper ceramics studio etiquette.

#6030 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHY ~ DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
5 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12   
Prerequisite: Introduction to Photography
Fee: $50

This is an exciting semester-long course that looks to continue to explore students’ creativity and curiosity, while learning digitally advanced photographic techniques applying Photoshop CC. With these new techniques and skills, students can further develop concepts, narratives, and perspectives unavailable to them in traditional black and white photography. Final projects will be reproduced in large and small format high-quality inkjet prints.  Students will develop a body of work, some of which will be entered into local shows/contests or could be applied to portfolio building. We will learn and practice proper art studio etiquette, which is necessary in order to help us reach our potential and build a strong creative community. At times students will be required to write reflective essays, participate in group critiques, collaborate with peers, and complete final projects as a way to showcase your growth.

*Students will need to provide their own digital camera, with a minimum resolution requirement of 5 Megapixels.  A DSLR digital camera is not required, but a camera with manual separate shutter and aperture is a plus.

#6050 MIXED MEDIA 
5 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12   
Prerequisite: None
Fee: $50   Does not meet CSU/UC requirement   

This semester course explores the theory and practice of combining painting and drawing with other artistic elements to provide students with a deep understanding of traditional and contemporary art forms. Students will also experiment with unconventional materials and techniques to create abstract sculptural works to enhance their level of critical thought and creativity. Projects may incorporate unusual surfaces, multiple medias, fragments of other artwork, or text.  This course introduces the student to critical discourse regarding the student’s artwork, art history and aesthetics.  Students may be expected to spend time outside of class gathering images to be used in their artwork.  Field trips to local galleries and museums will provide inspiration for students’ own works as well as in-class discussions.

#6060 VISUAL STORYTELLING/GRAPHIC STORYTELLING
5 credits - Grade(s) All
Prerequisite: Introduction to Visual Arts (basic visual art experience)
Fee: $50

This one semester course is designed for students interested in exploring the genre of creative visual storytelling, which is the marriage between the written word and drawn visual images with the goal of conveying a specific story with an audience in mind. This semester will provide students an opportunity to develop a short story script, learn to translate it into a sequence of panels using traditional drawing techniques, and then complete it by inking/coloring their work using state-of-the-art digital art programs and equipment. Students will learn to apply art elements, design techniques and composition for maximum emotional impact. Students will find inspiration while also gaining a deeper appreciation for visual storytelling through exposure to the works of leading graphic novelist working in the field today.

#6210 ADVANCED PEN & PAINT
5 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12 
Prerequisite: Introduction to Visual Expression 
Fee: $50

This semester course encourages the serious visual art student to refine and expand techniques in painting and drawing, and focuses on portfolio development. Topics include complex still life and observational studies, acrylic painting, screenprinting, exploration of 2D media and techniques to further develop the student artist’s skill, style and artistic voice. Each project will encourage critical thinking, problem solving, and aesthetic discussion. In addition, projects will focus on building strong compositional skills as well as development of original concepts. Field trips to local galleries and guest speakers will provide inspiration for the student’s own artmaking as well as in-class discussions.

#6215 SPECIAL PROJECTS / DIRECTED RESEARCH   
5 credits - Grade(s) 12   
Prerequisite: Advisor approval, department chairperson approval and discussion with the vice principal of academic affairs, entering senior year
Does not meet CSU/UC requirement

This course of independent study is for the self-motivated art student who has completed the art department’s course offerings in her chosen media. The focus may be either pictorial or spatial in nature [photography, painting, drawing, ceramics, mixed media, etc.]. Student must design a semester’s course of study for themselves, outline a written project, and procure a project advisor. The advisor must approve the course of study and the final project in advance. This course allows time for the serious student to pursue art in depth and for academic credit.

  • Students may complete an art special project only if they have successfully completed all of the available courses.
  • Students who wish to complete an art special project must first identify an advisor, provide a written description of the project, and submit the advisor-signed proposal to the department chairperson and the vice principal of academic affairs for approval.
  • If the advisor is no longer available to oversee a project when school begins the following year, the student must identify another advisor.
  • No projects should begin without prior approval.
  • All projects must be approved by May 1st of 11th grade.

Performing Arts - Theater

NOTE: Students wishing to meet the VAPA graduation requirement through dance or drama must take both semester courses.

#6413 DRAMA 1A: EVOLUTION OF PERFORMANCE
5 credits - Grade(s) All
Prerequisite: None

This course is an interactive exploration of the history of dramatic art. Students will explore the different genres of theater to discover the elements that make theater so adaptable and so enduring through reading, writing, designing, and acting. This overview of various theater traditions will help students gain respect for the art and craft of theater and performance. Critical analysis and discussion-based classes help students deconstruct their perception of what theater is and reconstruct that perception with an understanding of how they can be active participants in a theater experience.

#6415 DRAMA 1B: FROM PAGE TO STAGE
5 credits - Grade(s) All
Prerequisite: Drama 1A: Evolution of Performance

By learning new skills in script analysis, students will explore all the aspects of the process of making a script come to life. As a design team, students will search for clues that help them design sets, costumes, lights, sounds, and props. As actors, students will learn how to evaluate character objectives and tactics and make strong acting choices. As technicians, students will build set elements, costumes, and properties for their production. As critics, students will draw conclusions about the effectiveness of productions on the basis of intent, structure, and quality of work. This course provides an inside look at theater production, from the first rehearsal to opening night.

#6426 ADVANCED ACTING
5 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: Drama 1A and Drama 1B or three department productions
CSU/UC approval pending

This course provides an exciting plunge into the world of acting. As students focus on language, mood, and use of space in performance and make acting choices based on script analysis, character research, reflection, and revision, they will perform in specific styles including the mime, commedia, absurdism, Shakespeare, realism, and naturalism. Students will meet and work with professional actors, and will end the class with an improved ability to bring a piece of text to life. 

#6428 ADVANCED THEATRICAL DESIGN
5 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: Drama 1B , Intro to Graphic Design, Intro to Visual Art, or three department productions
CSU/UC approval pendingThis one semester class is designed for students who are interested in learning the process of theatrical design. Students will utilize the design process, which is the process by which a blank text is given a set, costumes, and lights. Students will practice taking ideas through iterations, collaborating with fellow designers, and will ultimately create a design portfolio. 
 

Performing Arts - Music
 

#6430 INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN MUSICAL CULTURE 
5 credits - Grade(s) all
Prerequisite: None

This beginning course exposes students to a variety of American cultural musical styles and explores the relationship between culture and music. Students review and learn the basics of music theory and build their abilities in musical adaptation and improvisation. As they develop an understanding of musical quality, students engage in evaluative projects that examine the use of music in today’s media and marketing world.

#6432 INTRODUCTION TO MUSICAL COMPOSITION
5 credits - Grade(s) all
Prerequisite: Music 1A or 1+ years of musical instrument

Students may enroll in this course on a vocal, instrumental, or digital music track. All will achieve competency in sight reading and will use their understanding of theory to create their own compositions. Students will create collaboratively as well as individually and will present their creations in the end-of-year showcase

#6315 SYMPHONIC BAND 
10 credits - Grade(s) All    
Prerequisite: Some music experience    

Symphonic Band is a performance-based ensemble for individuals who have previous experience playing woodwind or brass instruments.  The ensemble will rehearse and perform a variety of music while working to refine each member’s individual performance skills.  This course requires each student provide their own instrument.   The Symphonic Band class meets Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7:40 - 9:05am on the Bellarmine Campus.  Transportation to Notre Dame after rehearsals will be provided.

#6435 ADVANCED CHOIR 
10 credits - Grade(s) All    
Prerequisite: Audition    

This auditioned treble ensemble explores and performs choral repertoire from a vast range of eras, styles, genres, cultures and languages; Renaissance to Contemporary, Classical to A Cappella. Focusing on leadership, vocal empowerment, and building community through music, Advanced Choir functions as the on and off-campus musical ambassador of Notre Dame. All students will improve their vocal technique, musicianship, music literacy, and performance skills through a fun and rigorous rehearsal process. Performances include formal concerts, festivals, school events and more. Outside of the school day events will be required as a part of this ensemble. There will be opportunities to travel too! Auditions will be conducted in the spring semester of the previous school year unless arranged otherwise by the director.