Visual Arts

The Visual Arts Department at Bishop Gorman Catholic School continues the work of the school in its mission of the ongoing formation of the Christian person. The visual arts are offered as an elective to both middle and high school students. All levels of visual arts classes meet and exceed the standards set by the Texas Education Agency, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, and the National Standards for Arts Education. The AP Studio Art course is also offered for advanced high school students.

Sixth-grade students begin their study of the visual arts with a six week fine arts exploratory rotation that allows the incoming students to experience a sampling of visual art experiences including drawing, painting, printmaking, and design. The elements and principles of design are introduced along with inspirational examples from a range of historical and multicultural sources. At the end of the first semester after having experience in visual arts, band, orchestra, and choir, sixth-grade students make their fine arts choice for the second semester where they continue exploring a variety of media and approaches to art including sculpture, ceramics, and mixed media works.

Seventh and eighth-grade students may choose art as their elective for the whole year. Students in these grades expand upon the art vocabulary introduced in the sixth-grade year with a great deal of emphasis on developing technical skill with a wide variety of art media.

Students in high school may choose art as their elective for one or more of their high school years. High School Art is a year-long course that is structured to be both an introduction to art for beginning students and an opportunity for the maturation of creative problem-solving skills for continuing students.

Students in high school art spend 10-12 weeks of study in each the pre-AP Studio Art portfolio options of drawing, two-dimensional design, and three-dimensional design. All students learn foundation technical skills and experience the use of a wide variety of art media such as graphite, ink, charcoal, pastel, acrylic, and watercolor paint, block printing, mono-printing, ceramics, plaster, wire, wood, mixed media, and found objects. Students view and discuss art historical influences from many different time periods and cultures. Trips to local art museums and venues are incorporated into the class curriculum. Students have opportunities for personal and meaningful visual art expression through a range of approaches to idea generation and subject matter.

The AP Studio Art Course combines the goals and objectives for all three of the Studio Art Portfolios: 2D Design, Drawing, and 3D Design in a year-long course with the goal of submitting the completed portfolio to the College Board for review and scoring. Students begin the school year developing an understanding of the goals of the course and discerning the portfolio choice they wish to pursue.

Students are then presented with creative problem-solving challenges according to their portfolio option for the breadth section of the portfolio. The area of concentration section of the portfolio is a series of artworks developed through the exploration of an idea. These artworks are created independently by the students with the guidance of the teacher.

Quality is addressed in both breadth lessons and concentration works consistently throughout the year through critiques and written reflections. Photographing, organizing, and preparing the artworks for submission to the College Board are also done as part of the class. Portfolios are sent to the College Board in May with results being returned to the students in July.

Opportunities for Extracurricular participation in art competition are available for all grade levels. At the middle school level, students may choose to try out for, and compete in, the on-site drawing category in the PSIA Competition. High School students have opportunities to submit artworks to juried contests such as the Congressional Art Contest, TAPPS District and State Art competitions, the district and state level Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) sponsored by the Texas Art Education Association, and the Tyler Museum of Art’s annual High School Art exhibition.

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Annabelle Geer

Art Teacher


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