Visual Arts

At Prairie, the art room is a visually inspiring place where exploring one’s creative voice is encouraged. Through visual arts classes, students are exposed to a wide variety of media and techniques that gradually become more in-depth as a student progresses through the grades.  Starting in Kindergarten, our classes intentionally include drawing, painting, hand building with clay, sculpture, collage, printmaking, and fiber-art, with introduction to the glass studio beginning in third grade and digital photography exposure beginning in middle school. Art activities teach students about different cultures, artists, techniques, and styles while nurturing students’ creative and imaginative capabilities. The objective is to create a curriculum that values the originality and joy of creating and develops a spirit of inquiry and adventure in the search for personal expression.

APPRECIATING

ART IN EVERYTHING

We help students to grow in the appreciation of their own art and in the art of others by prioritizing exhibitions of student work throughout the school building, field trips to museums, and exposing them to professional artists through the Art Department’s visiting artist program.

In addition, the school’s extensive art collection on display throughout campus helps to open the students’ eyes to works of beauty and art around them.

CURRICULUM

Primary School students are welcomed into a world of creative exploration at Prairie.

Encouraged to explore various mediums, artists, and aesthetics, students learn a vast artistic vocabulary that enables them to create their own art world. Students take ownership of their learning through inquiry-based, open-ended lessons and are engaged in thoughtful conversations that cultivate critical thinking skills.

Students visit the art room three out of every six days at Prairie where art is a critical component of their well-rounded education.  Our goal is to develop independent creative thinkers who are able to positively contribute to The Prairie School and the greater community.

Media introduced in Primary School:

  • Drawing (representational and abstract)
  • Sculpture
  • Ceramics
  • Printmaking
  • Painting
  • Field trips
  • Critiques
  • Cross-curricular collaboration
  • Art History
  • Glassblowing (Grades 3/4)

The Prairie School’s Visual Art Curriculum provides Middle School students with a number of ways to explore their creativity. Students in sixth grade are each enrolled in Visual Art for one semester where they explore drawing, design, and ceramics through a set of guided but open-ended projects. Once students reach seventh and eighth grade, they dive deeper into more complex ceramics projects, and are also exposed to painting, printmaking, and multimedia artmaking techniques. Each seventh and eighth grade student visits the glass blowing studio twice or more during their semester of Visual Art. During these visits to the glass studio, students are introduced to the basic skills of glassblowing through a bead making workshop, and later a guided experience working with hot glass from the furnace. Glassblowing skills can be further refined in the Upper School Glass Studio course if students wish to continue.

Media Introduced in Middle School:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Ceramics
  • Mixed Media
  • Art History
  • Glassblowing

An Upper School student will continue to expand their world of creative exploration at Prairie.  We strive to expose students to a balance of art methods including drawing, painting, digital photography, pottery, sculpture, collage, printmaking, and glassblowing. The Upper School art program is designed to help students grow in appreciation of their own art and in the art of others through critiques, field trips, studying various artists and cultures, and attempting to open the students eyes to the world of art innovation around them. Each semester, Prairie students investigate the basic elements of design and principles of composition through a series of creative problem-solving projects. Students improve their technical skills, while exploring a variety of media.  Basic components of each unit are: Art History, Studio Production, Art Criticism and Aesthetics. Creativity strategies challenge students to produce two and three-dimensional images which reflect critical thinking skills.

Media Introduced in Upper School:

  • Art Basics
  • Painting
  • Advanced Drawing
  • Ceramics
  • Digital Photography
  • Glassblowing, Bead Making, Glass Mosaics

MAIN ART STUDIO

The Main Art Studio (Lower Level)  is where art classes for grades 2 through 8 are taught.  

In the Lower Level we have a wet photography studio, a ceramic room with two electric kilns, and a video viewing room.

GLASS STUDIO

The David Drewek Glass Studio houses the Jess Chapman Hot Glass Program: Prairie is one of two high schools that have a hot glass studio in the US. We are the only school to offer hot glass to Middle School students.

ART ANNEX

The Kindergarten and first-grade classes use the art annex in the Primary School wing.

UPPER ART ROOM

The Upper Level is primarily used by Upper School.