Although we are not a conservatory, Community High’s courses in the arts are considered “core” classes, and are required and weighted in the same way as those in other disciplines. We consider the arts to be vital to an engaged citizenry, and essential to the development of full mastery of other subjects, to self-exposition and critical thinking.
Fall 2017 – Spring 2018:
Creative Writing In this course students will explore the craft of writing, while experiencing the reciprocal relationships between writing, reading, publication and discourse. They will engage with a variety of literary forms, genres, and methodological approaches to develop their technical versatility and their understanding of the practice of writing on a fundamental level. Simultaneously, they will explore the social and ethical dimensions of literary practice. Students will be expected to write several hours’ worth of text per week, and to be reading at least one book of fiction, poetry, or other ‘non-factual’ text throughout the semester. They will be expected read each other’s work most weeks, and discuss it with sensitivity and detail. Other sessions will be devoted to in-class writing activities, writing games and experiments, and discussions on literary issues or technique, in which substantial participation is also expected. Following each assignment, they will collaborate to edit and produce a chapbook of their work for distribution within the school community, culminating in a perfect-bound anthology at the end of the year. During 2nd Semester, regional and visiting writers will be invited to discuss their practice and participate in workshopping.
Music Theory This course provides an overview of Western music theory. Through close tutorial, students will master the basics of harmony and composition. The majority of students will be musicians, but musicianship is not required; this class is meant to augment performative instruction.
Performance Band Students will study ensemble performance by choosing material, charting material, rehearsing and performing in a musical ensemble, using core rock/jazz instrumentation: drums, electric bass, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboard and a vocals. Lyric sheets, notation, tablature, audio recordings, video recordings, and relevant historical data relating to the writing, the era, or the recording of a particular song are used to research how to best arrange, rehearse and perform. We will also encounter popular music history organically, and benefit from periodic master classes by musicians touring the area. The year culminates with a professional recording session.
Theater Production Theater Production is a yearlong course, tackling production activities in the manner of a professional theater company. As we will be mounting two productions, students will be expected to tackle assigned roles, learn lines in a timely manner, work as a member of the artistic ensemble and assist with production values when needed. Additionally, students will have an opportunity to participate in the ESU (English Speaking Union) Shakespeare Competition. Theater Production is an immersion of theater styles, production and an exploration of each student’s potential as an actor or as a production specialist (props, lighting, costumes, set construction, marketing and more). Students will have an opportunity to explore how professional artists express their ideas and practice their craft by attending workshops as well as exploring theater offerings at area colleges and professional theater throughout the year.
Animation Animation is encountered by most in the western hemisphere from an early age and many never grow to understand the inherent challenges within. This course will help students explore animation in various forms and stages. Students will learn about these forms in concept and practice, beginning with archaic variations, such as phenakistoscopes and zoetropes, and moving through cut-out animation and cell animation.
Film History: Crime Crime and criminals have been a part of cinema almost from the conception of the narrative film. In this course, we will look over the history of crime in film and explore various subgenres that have arisen over the years. Students will evaluate US crime films from 1906 through the end of the 20th century. During this period they will merely scratch the surface of one of Hollywood’s favorite topics and understand that it is not simply an American vice. They will look at violence, seedy behavior, production codes, and audience reception of the films covered in this class.
iPhone Photography This course will introduce photographic methodology and art concepts as related to this visual medium (subject matter, composition, etc.). We will also study images that have remained world icons in the evolution of the photographic medium. We will use the camera contained in students’ personal phones. This course includes critiques, art statements and a group exhibition (thesis portfolio). At the beginning of the semester, class time will be used to introduce and talk about methodology and concepts. Then, we will find a rhythm to engage in critiques after shooting sessions. We will view and edit constantly to find the subject matter that will become a thesis portfolio. There will be a midterm exam and a feedback session. This will involve a test about photographic concepts, icon images and vocabulary. During the feedback session, students will have one-on-one time to express their ideas as to be able to choose the subject matter for their thesis portfolio. We will also have a final exam, which will be an expanded version of the midterm. Both the midterm and the final will include a final draft of art statements. The semester will conclude with a group exhibition of the final portfolio in hard copy paired with its art statement. All of the materials related to class time will be provided by the instructor. Hard copy images will be the responsibility of each student.
Watercolor: Projects & Proposals Watercolor (or also known as aquarelle) dates back in history longer than Gouache and Poster Paint (often incorrectly called tempera). All three consist of pigments suspended in water-soluble elements. Watercolor and gouache have finer pigments and can come in both tube and pans while poster paints, with more coarse pigments, often comes in jars (true tempera uses egg yolks as a binder). Poster paint is thicker and paint to water ratio is higher compared to the other two. This class will focus on the basic techniques needed to execute a watercolor painting. Students will be required to follow instructions carefully for the first few projects and to be responsible for preparing their paper, proper care and cleaning their equipment and professionally presenting their Proposals: matted and placed in a portfolio (or framed). Students will be required to complete four of five Projects (matting Project #4 is required), four out of five Proposals and seven out of nine Art History Presentations to receive credit for this class. In order to complete a Project a student must have attended an entire class demonstration and have minimum of five hours of studio painting time logged. In order to complete a Proposal the painting must be exhibition-ready by the due date. Classes will be largely self-directed during studio hours on Monday and Friday, and the first hour of Wednesday’s class will be devoted to art history. The remainder of art period on Wednesday will be preparation studio time, where students can stretch paper, matt paintings or prepare sketches for future Proposals.
Film History: European Films of WWII This semester in Film History, the students will examine the impact of war on film. The First World War devastated Europe’s studios; the Second would change Europe’s place in cinema for generations to come. Students will explore not only the devastation to the industry, but also how filmmakers changed course and gave new ways to make movies, utilizing their medium to both create and to offer critique.
Film Production Film Production concentrates on student vision and desire to create filmic material. We use student-generated and existing pieces to spark lectures and discussions on the knowledge needed to create works. The student will gain an immense amount of hands-on learning, as well as theory, to better shape their understanding of how cinema is made. At the end of the semester, students should be able to display a competency with equipment as well as an understanding of positions, genres, motifs, and the running of a shoot.
Objects in Motion How did they do that? In this class we will initially explore contemporary puppetry and object theater, and attempt to design and engineer objects and kinetic sculptures that have been inspired from our research. Students will then find/make and animate objects in a variety of ways that creates meaning over a duration of time. Nuance suggested by movement, ambiance created by light and sound, and the juxtaposition of objects/images will be used to create a visual rhythm, express an idea, or tell a story. By selecting and composing each moment, even the most mundane event can be transformed into a memorable experience. There are four research based presentations required for credit in this class. Students must also complete four objects capable of motion- present them in motion and finally- they must be performed before an audience. Students must also maintain a sketchbook which demonstrates thinking about articulating motion. A notebook is also recommended for class notes, definition of terms, and research on contemporary puppet theater groups.
Writing Comics In Writing Comics students will take on the roles of writing, penciling, inking and lettering serial visual narratives, otherwise known as comics. Lectures on character design, world building, scripting, perspective, narrative, flow and the interaction of words and images will help students engage the unique aesthetic and formal qualities of the medium and apply them in their own work. With a focus on analog craftsmanship and micro-publishing, this class emphasizes group creativity, experimentation and economy of means over individual virtuosity. Working primarily in collaborative teams, students will produce five or more comics throughout the semester.