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Visual Arts

The Middle School Art curriculum encourages personal expression and inventive thinking through imaginative exploration of art materials and methods. The program emphasizes a genuine art studio experience that stresses visual imagery and the elements of art: line, shape, color, pattern, texture, and space. Assignments encourage students to expand their artistic skills, broaden their visual perception, and develop facility with a range of media. The assignments are structured and sequential but they encourage a variety of creative responses. The studio environment fosters a sense of community, compassion, and respect for every student’s work process and creations.

By introducing artists whose work is intriguing, we teach art history in a dynamic, hands-on manner. The artwork is visually compelling in its aesthetic and sense of design, as well as diverse in culture, ethnicity, gender, style, time period, and media. We also teach assignments inspired by self-taught artists who are intent on making art despite psychological challenges. Our artistic practice inherently values different voices and is sensitive to others’ perspectives. In the art studio, students “have opportunities to consider other viewpoints” (Kohlberg). As our students become receptive to the vision of other artists, they find their own voice and take risks to articulate their personal aesthetic.

In light-filled art studios, teachers who are also artists share their love of making art. They offer every child the opportunity to feel a sense of accomplishment. The rich studio experience exemplifies The Dalton Plan because students build knowledge actively as they work on assignments in class and lab. The Art Department considers every child to be an artist and honors their artwork by displaying it throughout the school in a professional manner. Our aesthetic celebrates the subtle and beautiful irregularities of art made by the human hand. Students learn to work with focus and discipline, making thoughtful artistic choices about their creations.

Learn more about Visual Arts

Visual Art Skills
 
Visual Art Skills
4th Grade
5th Grade
6th Grade
Fine motor control
 
Eye-hand coordination
 
Ability to work with  a variety of materials and media
Work with tempera paint, watercolor, colored pencils, collage, pastels, printmaking and book-making materials. (I)
 
Cut and glue accurately. (I)
 
Use a variety of brush sizes and types. (I)
 
Work with three-dimensional materials such as clay, wood, sewing and mixed media. (I)
Work with tempera paint, watercolor, colored pencils, collage,pastels,
printmaking and book-making
materials. (R)
 
Cut and glue accurately. (R)
 
Use a variety of brush sizes and types. (R)
 
Work with three-dimensional materials such as clay, wood, sewing and mixed media. (R)
 
Measure with a ruler. (R)
Manipulate shapes using scissors and glue. (R)
 
Controlling paint: amount of paint and water on brush, size of brush,  (R)
 
Fashion a relief image in clay. (I)
 
Carve a relief image in rubber stamps and linocut prints. (R)
 
Record edges with a contour line. (R)
 
 
 
Understand and apply the elements (line,shape, color, texture) and principles of art (positive and negative space, composition, balance, unity, repetition, rhythm and variation):
Represent objects, people, animals, landscapes, cityscapes through drawing (I)
 
Compose creatively with shapes in two and three dimensions (I)
 
Understand the role of chance and imagination in the art making process. (I)
Represent objects, people, animals, landscapes, cityscapes through drawing (R)
 
Compose creatively with shapes in two and three dimensions (R)
 
Understand the role of chance and imagination in the art making process. (R)
Represent objects, people, animals, landscapes, cityscapes through drawing (R)
 
Compose creatively with shapes in two and three dimensions (R)
 
Understand the role of chance and imagination in the art making process. (R)
Spatial Organization
Consider arrangement, balance, and unity of forms within the frame of the composition. (I)
 
Understand scale, overlapping shapes, positive and negative space, background and foreground. (I)
 
Construct interesting forms with wood, wire, cloth and clay. (I)
Consider arrangement, balance, and unity of forms within the frame of the composition. (R)
 
Understand scale, overlapping shapes, positive and negative space, background and foreground. (R)
 
Construct interesting forms with wood, wire, cloth and clay. (R)
Consider arrangement and balance of forms within the frame of the composition (R)
 
Consider relationship of figure and ground, positive and negative space within the composition (I)
Observational Skills
Visual Perception
Use line to delineate forms. (I)
 
Measurement techniques with hands. (I)
Use line to delineate forms. (R)
 
Measurement techniques with hands. (R)
See and record edges,(R)

Blind contour drawing, (I)
 
Modified contour drawing (I)
 
Monitor spatial proportions and relationships (I)
Color Mixing and
Color Theory
Understanding and applying Color as an expressive medium. (I)
 
Color schemes: Using Warm and cool colors complementary colors. (I)
Understanding and applying Color as an expressive medium. (I)
 
Color schemes: Warm and cool colors. (R)
 
Primary, secondary and tertiary. (I)
 
Complementary colors, tints and shades. (I)
Primary, secondary, tertiary colors, complementary colors, tints and shades (R)
 
Use color to convey distance (I)
 
 
Visual Art Skills
7th Grade Drawing and Design
7th Grade Dimensional Design
8th Grade Painting
8th Grade
Ceramics
8th Grade Photography
Fine motor skills
Eye-hand Coordination Work with a Variety of Materials
Control pastels, tempera, watercolor, colored pencils, collage and printmaking.
 
Cut and glue
accurately.
Spatial acuity and control:
Model a preconceived form in clay.
Measure and compare  relative proportions (I)
Work with pastels, tempera paint, colored pencils, collage, printmaking, acrylics. (I)
Spatial acuity and control of clay in variety of conditions.
(R)
 
Control major and minor body movements on potters wheel. (R)
Work carefully with photographic chemistry. (I)
 
Work with collage, sewing,drawing. (R)
Application of the Elements and Principles of Art
Draw geometric shapes (I), objects, people and cityscapes. (R)
 
Compose creatively with shapes.
 
Create a sequence of visual ideas in a book. (I)
 
Communicate ideas through images.
 
Draw geometric shapes, natural forms, animals and cityscapes. (I)
 
Compose creatively with shapes. (R)
Construct variety of three dimensional shapes (R)
 
Compose three dimensional objects (R)
Judge photographic contrast and tonality (I)
 
Create artwork and transfer visual ideas with computer software (Adobe Photoshop- (I)
Spatial Organization
Understand scale, overlapping shapes, positive and negative space. (R)
 
Understanding one and two point perspective. (R)
Understand and create simple structural systems and how they can interact with gravity. (I)
Understand
scale, overlapping shapes. (R)
 
Use of aerial and linear perspective. (R)
Make three dimensional forms by adding and taking away material (R)
 
Observational skills
Use line to delineate form.
 
Use viewfinder to isolate interesting composition. (I)
 
Measure with a ruler.
 
Use grid to enlarge drawings. (I)
 
Understand the proportions of the face and figure. (I)
Measure, and compare relative proportions. (I)
 
Measure accurately and use simple geometry. (R)
 
Find perpendicular angles, measure angles with a protractor, use pi to find
circumference. (I)
Use line to delineate form.
 
Use viewfinder to isolate an interesting composition. (I)
 
Measure with a ruler. (R)
Follow complex steps to create pots on potters wheel - (R)
Follow complex technical steps to create photogra-
phic prints in the darkroom
with chemistry.(I)
 
Follow in depth instructions  in Adobe Photoshop to create designs. (I)
Color Mixing and Theory
Understand color as an expressive medium.  (R)
 
Create
texture and atmosphere with paint. (I)
 
Color schemes: complementary colors, warm and cool colors, tints and shades, primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. (R)
 
Understand color as an expressive medium. (R)
 
Color symbolism:
Creation of texture and atmosphere with paint. (I)
 
Color Schemes:
monochromatic color, warm and cool colors, tints and shades, primary, secondary and tertiary colors. (R)
 
 
Understand, Create, and Manipulate Three Dimensional Space in a Two Dimensional Medium
 
Use one and two point perspective in a drawing (R)
Use value and
chiaroscuro as a means of creating volume and depth
Use one point perspective to create depth. (I)
Transferring two dimensional drawing into three dimensional forms (R)
Isolating composing a photograph based on observation (I)
Use of the Language of art to Describe and interpret Works of Art
 
 
Class critiques:
analysis of other students’ artwork. (R)
 
Self-analysis and self-reflection in terms of the elements of art. (R)
 
Analysis and interpretation of other students’ artwork. (R)
 
Self-analysis of photographic work. (R)
Art History and Cultural Context
 
 
Attain familiarity with wide range of works of art by major artists who inspire various assignments. (R)
Learn skills used by ancient cultures for building functional and sculptural ceramics (R)
Attain familiarity with various master photographers who inspire various assign-
ments  (I)
 
 
  • Art 4

    Fourth grade students learn about a variety of artists and receive an introduction to drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, sewing, and mixed media. Specific assignments introduce the basic vocabulary of art: line, shape, color, volume, space, and composition. Working from observation and imagination, students create abstract and representational art. They are encouraged to make thoughtful choices about the balance, variety and unity of their compositions.

    Art assignments include a tactile paper collage inspired by Kurt Schwitters, a quilt based on the work of the African American women of Gee’s Bend, as well as pieced textiles from various Asian cultures, an observational drawing of a pumpkin that introduces ways to achieve an illusion of volume, a painting of a natural form in the monumental style of Georgia O’Keeffe, a drawing of repeated objects inspired by self-taught artist Heinrich Reisenbauer, and a watercolor painting in the style of Paul Klee.

    Every art teacher includes an assignment related to his/her area of expertise. These include an introduction to the potter’s wheel, the creation of a found object circus inspired by Alexander Calder, constructions based on the work of self-taught artist, James Castle, woodworking, papermaking, Japanese marbling, handmade books, and sewing. As they respond to these assignments, students develop fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, perception of edges, shapes and proportions, and facility with a variety of materials.

    View the Visual Arts page for more information.
  • Art 5

    The fifth grade art curriculum is an introduction to texture and relief. Through box constructions inspired by Joseph Cornell, assemblages in the style of Louise Nevelson, texture rubbing books, masks, collagraph and linocut printmaking, and perspective drawing, students develop skills in representational and abstract art. Teachers also integrate assignments in woodworking, papermaking and handmade books, ceramics, and helmets that reflect their own expertise.  Students occasionally use Photoshop as an additional tool for making art.

    View the Visual Arts page for more information.
  • Art 6

    Students work on a sequence of assignments that include black and white collages of positive and negative shapes, color collages inspired by Matisse, motif and pattern paintings, rubber stamp patterns that play with color and alignment of the motif, handmade books, a perspective drawing that creates the illusion of depth, Greek Festival clay relief tiles, observational contour drawing, and linocut prints.

    View the Visual Arts page for more information.
  • Art 7

    The seventh grade art curriculum includes one semester of two-dimensional Drawing and Design and one semester of Three Dimensional Design.

    Drawing and Design introduces the elements of design through assignments such as an abstraction of a still life, enlargement of a composition using a grid, linocut cityscapes and collages, imaginative shoe designs and portraits inspired by Archimboldo. Students use line shape, color, value, and pattern to design balanced and unified compositions.

    Dimensional Design teaches the basic elements of three-dimensional design. Students create a stable structure using corrugated cardboard. They learn to measure accurately, cut, and join materials with precision. The construction can be representational or abstract. By modeling a figure in clay, students learn about proportion and observation. Studying vanishing point perspective, they make a drawing that creates the convincing illusion of three-dimensional space.

    View the Visual Arts page for more information.
  • Art 8

    The eighth grade curriculum consists of one semester of Painting and one semester of Ceramics/New Media or one semester of Photography. These courses teach greater facility in a range of media, techniques and basic design concepts. The sequential assignments prepare students for a variety of high school art courses.

    Painting
     
    In Painting, students use gradations of color to create the illusion of volume on a flat surface. They work with a variety of media, using direct observation as well as imagination. They paint a cylinder in gradual values and transform it into an interesting composition. Next, they draw a pear under a single light source, using chalk pastel to suggest the volume. Other assignments include a torn paper collage of a pear, a mosaic of a pear, a painting of an object under a single light source, Sumi ink painting, a landscape painting, and a still life inspired by Giorgio Morandi.

    Ceramics/New Media

    Students learn how clay responds to their sense of touch and timing while building familiarity with a variety of construction techniques. The class emphasizes intensive instruction in wheel throwing. Through repetition, students learn to center, open, and raise simple cylinders. They also learn handbuilding techniques such as pinch pots, coils, and extruded forms. Students learn a stop action clay animation technique on their laptops. While utility and function are often considerations of clay, sculptural explorations are also encouraged. Most assignments allow students to define the form and content of their studio investigations.

    Photography

    Photography introduces students to basic camera handling, film developing, and darkroom printing techniques. Students also work with Adobe Photoshop, using the software to create several design-based assignments. Combining mixed media with photography, students experiment with hands-on techniques such as painting, collage and sewing to alter their pictures.

    View the Visual Arts page for more information.

Faculty

  • 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.
  • Richard Bottwin

    Middle and High School Visual Arts Teacher
    (212) 423-5495 x3160
    Lehman College, City University of New York - B.F.A.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mira Gelley

    Middle and High School Visual Arts Teacher
    (212) 423-5495 x3022
    University of California, Irvine - B.F.A.
    Art Institute of Chicago - M.F.A.
  • Linda Sirow

    Middle School Visual Arts Teacher
    (212) 423-5274
    Boston Museum School, Tufts University - B.F.A.
    Pratt Institute - M.P.S.
  • Ellen Stavitsky

    Middle and High School Visual Arts Teacher and High School Art Department Chair
    (212) 423-5274
    Brandeis University - B.A. Magna Cum Laude
    Harvard Graduate School of Education - Ed.M.
    Pratt Institute - M.F.A.
  • 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 .