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 ARTS    
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 35mm 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 35mm 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.

* Students will be given a 35mm manual SLR camera to use throughout the duration of this course.

#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 are expected to provide their own digital camera for this course. Recommended camera quality: point and shoot digital & smartphone with 12 megapixels or higher, DSLR, or mirrorless digital camera.

#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: none
Fee: $50

This 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 and audience in mind. This semester course will provide students an opportunity to develop a story script, character design, and panel layout using traditional drawing techniques. Finally, students will digitally color their work using Photoshop CC.  Students will learn basic storytelling structures, apply art elements, design techniques and composition for maximum emotional impact. Students will be exposed to the works of leading contemporary graphic novelist for further appreciation and inspiration in their own creative process.

#6210 ADVANCED PEN & PAINT
5 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12 
Prerequisite: Introduction to Visual Arts 
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, 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 will provide inspiration for the student’s own creative process 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.]. The student is required to outline a written project proposal, design a semester's course of study for themselves 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

The music of America is as diverse, deep, rollicking, and original as the United States itself. During this course, students will learn the fundamentals of music theory, structure, and reading through the overview of American music history, from pre-colonial to the present day. Students will activate their personal understanding of music and how it functions in their lives, and make connections with the legacy and influential moments of American music.

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

This course serves as an introduction to music composition through the examination of written music, music technology, and how music has functioned in a specific focus era of United States history. Students may enroll in this course on a performance, history, or technology track, but every student will be expected to learn aspects of all three areas. Students will achieve competency in sight reading and will use their understanding of music theory to create their own compositions. Students will create collaboratively as well as individually and will present their work in an end-of-year showcase.Symphonic Band is a collaboration with Bellarmine College Prep, and will require some outside-of-class rehearsals (evenings).

#6315 SYMPHONIC BAND 
10 credits - Grade(s) All    
Prerequisite: Woodwind/brass instrument experience and instructor permission

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.   Symphonic Band is a collaboration with Bellarmine College Prep, and will require some outside-of-class rehearsals (evenings).

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

This advanced choir, proudly named Fleur du Soleil, is an 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.

#6435 STRING ENSEMBLE 
10 credits - Grade(s) All    
Prerequisite: Audition and instructor permission    

This auditioned string ensemble explores and performs string orchestra repertoire from a vast range of eras, styles, genres, and cultures; Baroque to Contemporary, Classical to Cinema. This ensemble focuses on leadership, ensemble/collaboration, and building community through music. String Ensemble serves students with a background in violin, viola, cello, string bass, and piano with a place to continue growing their skills and develop greater musical maturity. All students will improve their 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.

Performing Arts - Dance

#2550 DANCE: GENESIS - SURVEY OF DANCE TECHNIQUES AND AESTHETICS
5 credits - Grade(s) all 
Prerequisite: None

This class is for visual and performing arts credit but can also be taken for physical education credit.  

This course is designed to provide an introductory view of dance as an art form. Our main focus will be to introduce and establish various dance techniques, investigate the history of dance, condition the body to maximize strength, and analyze the various aesthetics of dance. Dance will be integrated through video, literature and live performance. We will culminate our overall knowledge by performing two different styles of dance in a dance performance.

#2555 DANCE: REVELATION - COMPOSITION AND PERFORMANCE
5 credits - Grade(s) all   
Prerequisite: Survey of Dance Techniques and Aesthetics or instructor approval.

This class is for visual and performing arts credit but can also be taken for physical education credit.  

This course will focus on the technique, structure and creation of expressive choreography for performance. Each student will gain knowledge of body function and ability, while exploring its possibilities and limitations. With the foundation of the history of dance, the goal of this course is to provide a knowledge base, practical skill and performance experience in dance. This course will culminate with the students choreographing and performing their own work in a dance performance.