High School Courses

Visual Arts

Dalton’s Visual Arts program is unique in its breadth and focus. We offer two dimensional, three dimensional, digital, and multi-media art courses. These courses develop visual perception, aesthetic judgment, and technical skills in a variety of media.

The visual arts curriculum enriches the students’ program with a genuine studio experience. Working with their teachers, students engage thoughtfully in the creative process. Faculty members guide students with Senior Initiatives in Visual Arts. Teachers assist students in preparing art portfolios for college admission.  Some students attend art and architecture schools while others study art to broaden their liberal arts college experience.

All students are encouraged to experience an art course. No one is graded on talent but on effort, interest, and consistency of commitment.

REQUIREMENTS AND INFORMATION
Students are required to take 2 full year credits of an art for graduation. This requirement includes electives from the Dance, Theatre, Music, or Visual Arts Departments.

All VISUAL ARTS COURSES ARE FULL YEAR AND MAY NOT BE DROPPED OR ADDED MID-YEAR.  All first year Visual Arts courses, except Watercolor, are open to high school students without prerequisites.

Overview of Visual Arts course offerings

2-Dimensional Art Courses:

  • Art History in Theory & Practice
  • Drawing
  • Painting 1
  • Painting 2&3
  • Painting, Collage and Assemblage 1
  • Painting, Collage and Assemblage 2
  • Painting, Collage and Assemblage 3
  • Photography 1
  • Photography 2
  • Photography 3
  • Photography 4
  • [NEW COURSE] Printmaking
  • Watercolor Painting 1
  • Watercolor Painting 2

3-Dimensional and Media Art Courses:

  • Architecture 1
  • Architecture 2
  • Architecture 3
  • Architecture 4
  • Book Arts 1: Papermaking and Handmade Books
  • Book Arts 2: Papermaking and Handmade Books
  • Ceramics 1
  • Ceramics 2
  • Ceramics 3
  • Film and Video Arts 1
  • Film and Video Arts 2
  • Film and Video Arts 3
  • Film and Video Arts 4
  • Mosaics
  • New Media 1
  • New Media 2
  • Textile Art and Design
  • Woodworking

  • Art History in Theory and Practice

    Art takes many forms, from a spontaneous performance by strangers to a masterful painting displayed on the walls of a museum. This course considers the history of art from the 19th century to the present in a thematic rather than chronological manner.Students examine concepts such as authenticity, identity formation, appropriation, myth, ritual, and our relationship to nature and technology.

    The course consists of reading and discussions, coupled with hands-on art assignments that apply historical ideas to contemporary artmaking. Students learn to think critically about concepts that have shaped the production of art and reflect on how these ideas have shifted over time.

    Readings from art historians, cultural studies, and contemporary art criticism inform class discussions. By making observations about historical and contemporary work, as well as the work of their peers, students connect the formal elements of art and processes to content and intention.  Students learn how to give and receive constructive feedback with peers and to reflect on their choices in the studio through group critique.

    Prerequisite: None
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Drawing

    This intensive drawing course trains the eye to see.  Through a deliberate process, the student acquires the ability to perceive three-dimensional form accurately and render it convincingly in two dimensions. This course helps students to understand the world around them by learning to grasp visual relationships and interpret what they see.  Drawing is a primary building block that will help students in any further artwork and in many other fields as well. This course is appropriate for all levels of development.

    Prerequisite: None
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Painting 1

    Using acrylic paint,students complete a highly structured series of assignments that teach the fundamentals of color theory.  Each student will identify the hue, intensity, and luminosity of an observed color and replicate these qualities by mixing paint.  Assignments become increasingly complex as the student masters each assignment and learns to paint detailed still-lifes and portraits. Understanding the subtleties of paint application is an important aspect of the course.  Initial assignments are painted with thick impasto paint, using only the palette knife (no brushes) to apply paint to the surface. Later assignments use brush methods such as under painting, layering and blending. After completing this course, the student will be able to mix colors and paint artworks that create the illusion of form, space, and light.
     
    Prerequisite: None
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit  
  • Painting 2 & 3

    Working from the fundamentals of color learned in Painting 1, students develop a personal style by studying the work of master painters through art history.  Students experience a hands-on approach to art history by experimenting with authentic materials and techniques such as egg tempera, gilding, and glazing. The course covers prehistoric cave paintings, Egyptian scrolls, Early Greek black figure technique, medieval gilding, Early Renaissance egg tempera, High Renaissance glazing techniques, and Impressionist pastel painting.  Students look at paintings through slide shows and museum visits, discovering artists whose style they want to emulate. We use a portrait model in an assignment that compares figure styles throughout art history. The chronological presentation of information helps students to order and make sense of art historical movements. This combined study of master artworks and a consistent painting practice helps the students develop a personal direction in their painting.

    Prerequisite: Painting 1, Painting, Collage and Assemblage or Watercolor Painting
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Painting, Collage, and Assemblage 1

    Students take an experimental approach to making art with a variety of unusual media and unique assignments. Subject matter includes still life, landscape, and portraiture, with an emphasis on color and composition, Using acrylic paint, found objects, wire, clothespins, and collage papers, students create ticket sculptures, altered books, clothespin sculptures, box constructions, paintings, collages, and other inventive works of art. Additional assignments develop compositional skills, personal imagery, and confidence in aesthetic choices.

    Prerequisites: None
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Painting, Collage, and Assemblage 2

    Students continue to make art with a variety of unusual media. Assignments include 3D still life, wire sculpture, collage, kimono design, a design for a gameboard, Japanese screen paintings, and drawings inspired by Self-Taught artists.
     
    Prerequisites: Painting, Collage, and Assemblage 1
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Painting, Collage, and Assemblage 3

    Students work on assignments of their own invention, experimenting with a variety of media and techniques to create 2D and 3D works of art.

    Prerequisites: Painting, Collage, and Assemblage 2
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Photography 1

    In this introductory black and white photography course, students use the camera as a tool for making art.  They learn how to use a 35mm SLR manual camera, process negatives, print photographs in the darkroom, and mat to produce a finished piece of artwork. Students work on a long term assignment called "Studies in Composition" in which they explore the formal aspects of art such as perspective, texture, pattern, shadow, and line. Other assignments include depth-of-field, blurred motion, self-portraits, double exposure, night photography, and scavenger hunt. Digital photography is introduced at the end of the year. Assignments are photographed outside of class time. A 35 mm film camera with manual controls is needed for this course. See Ms. Zexter if you need to borrow a camera.
     
    Prerequisite: None
    Full Year Course, 1 credit
  • Photography 2

    Students have the opportunity to further refine and increase their understanding of exposure, development, and the finished print. During the first semester, they explore portraiture, documentary photography and sequential imagery, with the option of printing 11" x 14". Students also experiment with digital photography, mixed media techniques, and medium format film. They use Holga cameras and do large-scale color printing from digital files. In addition to film cameras, students photograph with digital cameras and use Adobe Photoshop to manipulate their images before printing them. Class trips to museums and galleries supplement the curriculum. Students also give a visual presentation on a photographer of their choice.  Class critiques occur after the completion of each photographic assignment. Assignments are photographed outside of class time. A digital / 35mm camera with manual controls is needed for this course. See Ms. Zexter if you need to borrow a camera.

    Prerequisite: Photography 1
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit

  • Photography 3

    Students continue to work on individual assignments based on experience, exploring a variety of advanced analog and digital photographic and mixed media techniques.

    Prerequisite: Photography 2
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Photography 4

    Photo 4 is designed for the advanced photo student.  Students continue to work on individual assignments based on experience, exploring a variety of advanced analog and digital photographic, and mixed media techniques.  Ultimately students are required to create a portfolio of images selected from a long-term project with a common theme or idea.  There will also be further exposure to the work of great photographers from the past and present.

    Prerequisite: Photography 3
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Printmaking

    This course offers a broad introduction to printmaking methods such as linocuts, collagraphs, monoprints and nature printing. Printmaking is an artistic process in which you transfer images from a plate onto another surface, usually paper or fabric. The process creates multiples of the same image. In relief printing, students carve into a surface to make a linocut or add layers to the surface to create a collagraph. Students can also paint on the plate to create a monoprint or unique image. Students will make cyanotypes and create botanical journals. They may also combine prints to create handmade books or add prints to vintage boxes to create sculptures.

    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Watercolor Painting 1

    Watercolor is a vibrant and exciting medium well suited to self-expression. In this class, students develop their understanding of this transparent media.  After gaining control of the basic tools, students explore a variety of painting methods and concepts. In the second half of the course, students create paintings that illustrate individual ideas in landscape, figurative, spatial, and still life formats.

    Prerequisite: Drawing
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit

  • Watercolor Painting 2

    Second year watercolor students develop individual assignments based on previous experience and skill. Experimentation and practice of advanced watercolor techniques are included.  Students develop strategies for independent thinking while cultivating a personal direction in their work. The assignments include a series painting. Second year students play an important role during class critiques.  This is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn more about their artistic vision while expanding their watercolor skills.

    Prerequisites: Watercolor Painting 1
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit

  • Architecture 1

    Architecture is the study of buildings and structures as they relate to form, function, and the environment.  This course introduces students to the fundamentals of architectural design, using the computer as a primary tool of investigation.  Students learn Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software that produces high quality models and subsequent renderings. Students discover their capabilities as designers through a series of architectural design and building exercises.  They also learn to present their work effectively, verbally and visually. The course culminates in a sustainable residential assignment using ArchiCAD 3D modeling software. Field trips, critiques and presentations are an integral part of the course.  

    Prerequisite:  none
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Architecture 2

    Architecture 2 course expands upon the basic knowledge and skills acquired in Architecture.  Students continue to develop their computer skills and virtual model making. They also learn advanced rendering and animations, as well as 3D output and physical model making.  Assignments focus on tectonics (structure and building), community and environmental design, master planning, as well as a variety of architectural principles. Field trips, critiques and presentations continue to be an integral part of the curriculum. Students study materials, structures and styles, with an emphasis on contemporary design and methodology.  The final assignment is a self-directed architecture project.

    Prerequisite: Architecture 1
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Architecture 3

    Architecture 3 expands upon the design knowledge and computer modeling skills acquired in Architecture 2, including advanced rendering, animation and virtual reality skills. Architecture 3A students hone their rendering, interior lighting and model building skills, as well as their virtual and physical model-making skills. Focusing on multi-level structures, students continue to study materials, structures and styles. Students will learn to create building sections and learn about sustainable design features. The final assignment is a thesis project defined by the student. Field trips, critiques, portfolio development and presentations remain an integral part of the Architecture class.

    Prerequisite: Architecture 2
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit

  • Architecture 4

    Architecture 4 expands upon the design knowledge and advanced rendering, interior rendering, building sections and sustainable design skills acquired in Architecture 3A.  Architecture 4A Students continue to hone their design skills, as well as their virtual and physical model-making skills. Focusing on multi-level civic structures, students continue to study precedents, materials, structures and styles. Students will learn contemporary design and methodology in relationship to building type of civic structures. The final assignment is a thesis project defined by the student. Field trips, critiques, portfolio development and presentations remain an integral part of the Architecture class.

    Prerequisite: Architecture 3
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit

  • Book Arts 1: Papermaking & Handmade Books

    Students create books with paste paper, Japanese marbled paper, stamped paper and other handmade papers. These books incorporate Western and Eastern binding structures from different time periods. After developing skills in bookbinding with paper and book cloth, students use leather and sheepskin as cover materials. Students may alter old books, giving them new life as sculptural objects. They can also scan photographs and artifacts to create family albums or baby books.

    Prerequisite: None
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Book Arts 2: Papermaking & Handmade Books

    Students work with nontraditional materials to develop the text, imagery, and sculptural aspects of the book. They continue to develop their bookbinding skills and learn new techniques.

    Prerequisite: Book Arts 1: Papermaking and Handmade Books
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Ceramics 1

    This course surveys the diverse and deceptively simple medium that is clay.  Students learn a broad range of forming techniques and receive intensive instruction in wheel throwing.  This curriculum lets students choose their own assignments and set their own goals. Assignments are often long term and ambitious in scope.  Students are encouraged to pursue this medium in a variety of sculptural and functional ways. Participants in this course also consider the issues and ideas that accompany the making of objects in historic and contemporary contexts.

    Prerequisite: None
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Ceramics 2

    Students work on individual assignments based on previous experience and explore increasingly ambitious forms.  Advanced techniques are introduced as students explore multi-part forms and focus on the formal and technical challenges of complex forming strategies.  Glaze formulation, working with porcelain, and increased involvement with kilns and firing are part of the curriculum.

    Prerequisite: Ceramics 1
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Ceramics 3

    Students continue to work on individual assignments based on previous experience and to explore increasingly ambitious forms. Advanced techniques are introduced.

    Prerequisite: Ceramics 2
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Film and Video Arts 1

    This course introduces students to the basics of digital filmmaking through assignments covering a broad range of historic and contemporary time-based media practices. Students work with digital video cameras, like the Panasonic HMC40 and the Canon 7D DSLR (with a variety of lenses), learn video editing and effects in Adobe Premiere Pro, how to use a digital audio recorder, and how to set up video lights. Assignments include: stop frame animation, music video, found footage, and interview/documentary. While much of the class is “hands-on” production, we also screen films and videos throughout the year.

    Prerequisite: None
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Film and Video Arts 2

    Students continue their exploration of video and film production through script writing and genre studies.

    Prerequisite: Film and Video Arts 1
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Film and Video Arts 3

    Students work on individual assignments based on previous experience and interests.

    Prerequisite: Film and Video Arts 2
    Full Year Course, 0.5 credits
     
  • Film and Video Arts 4

    Students work on individual assignments based on previous experience and interests.

    Prerequisite: Film and Video Arts 3
    Full Year Course, 0.5 credits
     
  • New Media 1

    Students work with digital tools in an art and graphic design context. These tools include: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, pressure sensitive tablets and stylus pens, computer driven vinyl cutters, iPads and digital paint applications,  Adobe Flash (for animation), and Google SketchUp. "Hands-on" methods are woven throughout the digital curriculum: stickers for laptops, heat transfer designs for T-shirts, screen printing, and product labels for food packaging. Assignments are grounded in the work of relevant fine artists and graphic designers.

    Prerequisite: None
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • New Media 2

    This course expands upon skills and concepts from New Media.  Students are supported in developing their artistic voice through challenging assignments in lettering, pattern design, digital photography, branding, and motion graphics.
     
    Prerequisite: New Media 1
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit

  • Mosaics

    A mosaic is an assemblage made with small pieces of colored glass. In this class, students use authentic mosaic tools and materials to explore color, texture, opus, and andamento and develop a personal style. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional assignments include a mosaic shoe, a smalti eye, a small table fountain, and a trompe l'oeil piece.  Students learn to cut tesserae with wheeled tiled nippers as well as traditional hammer and hardi techniques. Materials include Italian and Mexican smalti, vitreous glass, stained glass, ceramic tile, stone, pique assiette and found objects. The class learns about the history of mosaics, visiting a variety of important mosaic sites such as subway stations, museums, architectural installations, and artists' studios in New York City.

    Prerequisite: None
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Textile Art and Design

    This course combines fine art, graphic design, craft, and fashion through a range of hand, machine, and digital techniques in fabric design and sewing. Processes may include screen-printing on textiles (creating yardage, custom t-shirts, upcycled clothing), laser cutting and etching fabric, digital and block printing, and embroidery. We explore contemporary textile art and craft, the Bauhaus movement, Dutch African wax prints, and fashion.

    Prerequisite: None
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Woodworking

    Students design their own assignments and draw accurate plans for them.  To realize their designs, participants use a variety of hand and power tools to shape and join wood.  The properties and appropriate qualities of various kinds of wood are discussed. The first assignment is to design and build a lamp.  The second assignment is to build a small table or box in which the joinery is the focus of the design. Function, craftsmanship, and finish are explored.

    Prerequisite: None
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Beyond Photoshop The Art of Code; The Code of Art

    In the 21st century, artists regularly use computer technology as part of their practice, and that use goes beyond using software tools like Photoshop to make images. Arts practice may involve writing programs that generate artworks, that control devices, or that help artists explore design spaces. In this course, we will explore models of arts computing using the Processing programming language. We will consider programs for both 2D and 3D images, for both still and animated images, and for independent and interactive programs. Along the way, we will also develop skills in computational thinking and consider relationships between the arts and technology. Regular work will include arts programs that will be judged in terms of both aesthetic and program design criteria as well as readings about arts programming. Across the semester, students will assemble a portfolio of projects and analyses. No prior programming experience is required.
     
    Prerequisite: Students should have taken a course in mathematics that includes the study of trigonometry.

    This course is offered through our partnership with Global Online Academy (GOA).

    Requires Preapproval
  • Digital Photography

    In an era where everyone has become a photographer obsessed with documenting most aspects of life, we swim in a sea of images posted on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, or another digital medium. To that end, why is learning how to to use a digital camera important and what does taking a powerful and persuasive photo with a 35mm digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera require? Digital photography explores this question in a variety of ways, beginning with the technical aspects of using and taking advantage of a powerful camera then moving to a host of creative questions and opportunities. Technical topics such as aperture, shutter, white balance, and resolution get ample coverage in the first half of the course, yet each is pursued with the goal of enabling students to leverage the possibilities that come with manual image capture. Once confident about technical basics, students apply their skills when pursuing creative questions such as how to understand and use light, how to consider composition, and how to take compelling portraits. Throughout the course, students tackle projects that enable sharing their local and diverse settings, ideally creating global perspectives through doing so.

    Additionally, students interact with each other often through critique sessions and collaborative exploration of the work of many noteworthy professional photographers whose images serve to inspire and suggest the diverse ways that photography tells visual stories. Prerequisite: Students must have daily access to a DSLR camera.
     
    This course is offered through our partnership with Global Online Academy (GOA).

    Requires Preapproval
  • Filmmaking

    This course is for students interested in developing their skills as filmmakers and creative problem-solvers. It is also a forum for screening the work of their peers and providing constructive feedback for revisions and future projects, while helping develop critical thinking skills. The course works from a set of specific exercises based on self-directed research and culminates in a series of short experimental films that challenge students on both a technical and creative level. Throughout, we will increasingly focus on helping students express their personal outlooks and develop unique styles as filmmakers. We will review and reference short films online and discuss how students might find inspiration and apply what they find to their own works. Prerequisite: Students must have access to an HD video camera, tripod or other stabilizing equipment, and editing software such as iMovie, Premiere Pro, etc.

    This course is offered through our partnership with Global Online Academy (GOA).

    Requires Preapproval

Faculty

  • Photo of Mira Gelley
    Mira Gelley
    Middle and High School Arts Chair, High School Visual Arts Teacher
    (212) 423-5495 x3022
    University of California, Irvine - B.F.A.
    Art Institute of Chicago - M.F.A.
  • Photo of Ellen Stavitsky
    Ellen Stavitsky
    Middle and High School Visual Arts Teacher
    (212) 423-5274
    Brandeis University - B.A. Magna Cum Laude
    Harvard Graduate School of Education - Ed.M.
    Pratt Institute - M.F.A.
  • Photo of Richard Bottwin
    Richard Bottwin
    Middle and High School Visual Arts Teacher
    (212) 423-5495 x3160
    Lehman College, City University of New York - B.F.A.
  • Photo of Carol Bowen
    Carol Bowen
    Middle and High School Visual Arts Teacher
    (212) 423-5495 x8207
    Mount Holyoke College - B.A.
    Rhode Island College - M.A.
    Tulane University - M.F.A.
  • Photo of Lotus Do
    Lotus Do
    Middle and High School Visual Arts Teacher
    (212) 423-5495 x8205
    Cooper Union - B.F.A.
    Massachusetts College of Art - M.S.A.E.
  • Photo of Linda Hanauer
    Linda Hanauer
    Middle and High School Visual Arts Teacher and Middle School Art Department Chair
    (212) 423-5275
    Cornell University - B.S.
    Teachers College, Columbia University - M.A.
  • Alexander Levi
    Architecture Teacher
    Yale School of Architecture - Master of Architecture
    Wesleyan University - Bachelor of Arts
  • Photo of Tammy Logan
    Tammy Logan
    Engineering and Art Teacher
    (212) 423-5200
    School of Art and Design Purchase College - B.F.A.
    Yale University - M.F.A.
  • Ashley Mendelsohn
    Architecture Teacher
  • Photo of David Rubin
    David Rubin
    Visual Arts Teacher
    (212) 423-5495 x3029
    University of Wisconsin, Madison - B.S.
    Cranbrook Academy of Art - M.F.A.
  • Photo of Melissa Zexter
    Melissa Zexter
    Middle and High School Visual Arts Teacher
    (212) 423-5495 x3103
    Rhode Island School of Design - B.F.A.
    New York University/International Center for Photography - M.A .
212.423.5200 | info@dalton.org
(K-3) 53 East 91st Street, New York, NY 10128
(4-12) 108 East 89th Street, New York, NY 10128