Visual Art Education at Beecher Road School is at the core of the educational experience for students in grades K-6. Art is a universal language that crosses all disciplines, culture and history. Art teachers as facilitators, provide the catalyst for student learning, problem solving, and expression of the child’s unique creativity, interests, and emotions. It should also provide experiences which enable the child to use his/her talents to construct new information. The inventive spirit is an important attribute in the visual field where ideas form the work. Students learn to become critical observers of their environment and understand that art is an integral part of their everyday lives … the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, the movies they see, the buildings they enter.
Students educated in art are able to invent, reflect and set quality standards for their artistic growth and development. They are able to articulate the meaning of their artwork and that of artists they have studied. The collaborative, cooperative and visually stimulating atmosphere of the art classroom provides the opportunity to develop teamwork, self-esteem and a positive, inclusive atmosphere.
Art has always been an indicator of a civilization’s level of achievement. Through the study of visual art, we gain an understanding and appreciation for the history, values and contributions of many civilizations and cultures. The process of providing these experiences and transmitting a visual culture to future generations is both a legitimate role and obligation of our educational system.
Students will explore lessons inspired by artists, artistic styles, popular books, important events, elements & principles of art, and media & techniques. We will begin to make observations about our environment that reflect the Elements of Art include: line, shape, color, value, form, texture & space; and the Principles of Design, specifically balance, emphasis, movement, and pattern. Students will begin using art language to talk about their artwork.
In first grade, art concepts are reviewed, including primary and secondary colors, pattern and texture, and symmetry. A wide variety of media will be explored. Kandinsky, Matisse, Monet, and some American masters will inspire our work. We will practice manipulating paper by cutting, weaving, and construction. Students will have an opportunity to draw from observation and from their imagination.
In second grade, students will learn to discuss their own works, those of their peers, and selected masterpieces of several periods, They will build on their aesthetic vocabulary with a focus on the process of art-making. We will discuss and explore the function of art and design in a variety of fields and applications. Interdisciplinary experiences with other subjects are incorporated.
The objectives are to develop and increase manipulative, conceptual, and creative thinking skills. Through practice, students will increase their ability to concentrate, to organize information, to see relationships, to compare and contrast, and to solve problems through age-appropriate work with a wide variety of materials both two and three-dimensionally. We are committed to instilling a sense of confidence in each child. Students gain confidence to take risks, to be inventive, playful, and spontaneous, and to trust their intuition and imagination; they gain fluency in self-expression; they develop a tolerance for complexity and ambiguity; they learn to hone in on their perceptions and visual memory, to express original ideas in a personal style, to engage in evaluation without condemnation, and to exercise self-discipline, work toward good craftsmanship, attention to detail, and tenacity of purpose.The process of art-making is also key.
Drawing, Painting, Collage, Sculpture, Clay, Printmaking and Mural Making are experienced to help children create their unique forms of visual expression by studying The Elements of Design, Rhythm and structure. Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and a variety of Contemporary Artists are introduced. Interdisciplinary approaches are widely used.
Fourth Graders are in the Realistic Stage of Art Development. Their control over materials is such that they can use tools effectively, and can solve many of their structural and design problems independently. Much of the year is spent on the art and culture of Native Americans..Respect and use of the environment is stressed. Observation is the key this year.
The artistic process over product continues to be emphasized. We encourage our young artists to develop their own approach because what they have to say is important. Our children are encouraged to create through experimentation. They express themselves in their unique ways through the use of a wide variety of materials and techniques both two and three-dimensionally. Realism, Abstraction, Post-Impressionism and Contemporary artists continue to be introduced.
Fifth grade students are fluent with most of the previously used art materials; the Fifth Grade Curriculum reaps the benefits of all of the learning that has taken place in earlier grades. Fifth graders are ready to think about composition and content, in more depth so as to tell their visual story.
The Fifth Graders work on a unit of study all year that will help them focus on looking at, thinking about, and responding to works of art. They have been introduced to Composition and The Elements of Design. Experiences focus on each of the design elements. Perspective is introduced through observation. Thought is given to teach in an interdisciplinary way when possible. This means of organization prepares the children for our trip to The Yale Center for British Art which unites Social Studies and the study of British Imperialism, Language Arts and The Visual Arts.
Artists Studied: David Hockney, Louise Nevelson, Jasper Johns, Robert Raushenberg, Henri Matisse, Wayne Thiebaud, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Indiana, George Stubbs, Richard Estes, Andy Warhol, Byron Kim, Pablo Picasso, Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Louis Kahn.
Reinforcement of skills continues. The focus is to maintain a high level of motivation and confidence, and continue to create a strong foundation in manipulating materials and organizing ideas. Connections between history, cultures, and art continue. Emphasis is also placed on the role of art in society. The importance of art in our lives whether it be architecture, industrial design, graphic design, landscape architecture, fashion and jewelry design, website design, along with painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking is a focus. Some projects are multifaceted, incorporating a variety of techniques and media such as painting, drawing, and sculpture; others target skills or concepts such as shape, pattern, contrast, color, and elements of composition. Focus is on The Head, The Figure, Fantasy, Abstraction, Realism and Surrealism.
Discovering Social Issues through Art is the focus of our trip to The Yale Center for British Art. This experience connects Social Studies, Language Arts and Art. Not only do our artists articulate connections they make by viewing pieces at the museum, but also create individual works which focus on a social issue that is important to them. By making art, looking at art, talking about art and exhibiting art, students form connections between what they make and how their work impacts the world around them, all the while developing their visual literacy, verbal language, and fine motor skills.
We teach our students they are artists who possess the capability to shape the world around them, to change perspectives, to take action, and to understand that everything they do can have an impact.
Each year the Sixth Grade collaboratively creates a work as a permanent reminder of their class’ artistic expression. The pieces have ranged from permanent murals both interior and exterior to an impressive array of collaborative works in our Rotunda.
Open Studio Group: Open Studio gives children freedom and responsibility to create visually. Children have an opportunity to work an idea through either individually or in groups. The studio offerings focus on myriad forms of expression designed by each child. We celebrate the willingness of our students to try new things and build upon “mistakes”. Along the way they achieve not just artistic but personal growth… always challenging the conventional … occasionally brushing against the avant-garde. They work toward discovering not just what they want to build, but what they’re trying to express. This special time is available to artists in Grades 5 and 6.
Artsweek: Artsweek has been salted away during a week in May to celebrate the Visual Arts. Each year a theme is chosen. The community collaborates in creating a singular piece of art as well as each child contributing their own. During Artsnight children and their parents create together. The week is topped off by a schoolwide performance. Artsweek is sponsored by the PTO.
Days of Artistic Focus: Dot Day, A Drawing Challenge (Inktober, 20 Turkeys Falling Off a Cliff), Dress If You Dare Day! Sparkle Day with Starry Night , and Shades of Red Day and a rendition of The Memory Project involving portraiture.
The Beecher Gallery, which encompasses the entire school is ever-changing as our children’s creative expressions continue to evolve, showing us the swelling uniqueness of each child. Their work eventually finds its way into your homes.