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.
Creative Writing In this course students will explore the craft of writing, while experiencing the reciprocal relationships between writing, reading 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 to read each others’ work most weeks, and discuss them 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, a chapbook literary journal of student’s stories and poems will be published for distribution within the school community, as well as a perfect-bound anthology at the end of the year. During second semester, regional and visiting writers will be invited to discuss their practice and participate in workshopping.
College Portfolio It is necessary for students interested in applying to an art school to have a portfolio. Students in this class will prepare a physical portfolio with some 15-20 examples of their original artwork in a variety of medias (drawing, watercolor, oil painting, print) along with a few class exercises that show success and failure. For many students, they will also need to prepare a digital portfolio on Tumblr for time-based media (animation, film, puppetry) sculpture, exhibitions, installations and large-scale work. The class will focus on art school assignments such as still life painting and drawing, matting and presenting, and discussing the art school experience. The class will visit 1 or 2 colleges in the spring semester for a portfolio review.
Curator Class Curator class will immerse students in the pragmatic, aesthetic and social concerns of exhibiting and archiving plastic works. While learning how to appropriately handle, exhibit and store artwork, students will also be fully involved in Liminal Gallery’s functioning as a cultural space. Students can expect a small amount of reading, note taking and homework assignments, but primarily will be graded on their involvement in gallery processes and their role as social ambassadors for the work, the space, and the institution at large.
Film History This semester in Film History, we will be focusing on how the U.S. film industry came to be and how it took a big hit in the sixties. Using Robert Sklar’s Movie-made America, students will consider the power of the industry and how it has shaped certain films, and in turn how technology and theory progressed the business of film. They will also examine the impact that the industry had on the larger culture and how television began to erode this influence. In all, students will walk away with the ebbs and flows of the business of cinema through the slight demise of Hollywood’s reign.
Film Production Film Production concentrates on student vision and desire to create filmic material. We use student generated, as well as 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.
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 musicans, 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.
Studio Protocol This class is a foundational introduction to the guidelines and procedures to be used in studio arts classes. The term “protocol” in the case of this class refers more to the development of a plan to carry out a project rather than a formal and strict set of rules. Throughout this year long course, students will compile their own guidelines and proper procedures to aid them in the uses of a variety of artistic techniques. Students will be graded based on the frequency and reliability in which they complete projects in a safe and orderly manner.
Theater Production Theater Production is a year long 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. Likewise, small field trips will be planned to attend performances at colleges and elsewhere.