Beginning in lower school, children express their individuality as they explore myriad approaches to making art. Studying the works of pioneer artists and learning the fundamentals of artistry, students K-12 are exposed to the widest range of media: drawing, painting, collage, and sculpting, portraiture, photography, and public art installations, to name a few.
The Water Mural - Maret Public Art Project
The upper school art program broadens students’ understanding of the visual arts and their ability to think creatively. It promotes concentrated study in specific art disciplines. Students are encouraged to express themselves in their preferred medium and to take on challenges that extend the breadth and depth of their artistic talent. Instructors respect the students’ unique visions while directing, evaluating, and encouraging their work. The Washington metropolitan area’s rich cultural resources supplement studio work at all levels. Museum and gallery visits help students understand the historical, technical, and aesthetic aspects of artistic expression. Ninth graders are required to take a half-credit art core course. Choices include Drawing and Painting, Clay, Mixed Media, Sculpture, and Photography. The objective is to examine concepts and techniques in each area. With this foundation, students are adequately prepared and informed to select wisely a specialized advanced course. Students in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades may select advanced courses that offer in-depth study in Drawing and Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Clay, Sculpture, Computer Graphics, and Mixed Media. At this level, students will be able to explore the structural, formal, and creative challenges of a discipline while pursuing their expressive potential.
In the visual arts, all fifth graders continue to explore many of the processes introduced in Lower School, taking into account the students’ developmental differences and different learning styles. Throughout the year, students experiment with various materials and techniques commonly found in the visual arts. The primary focus is to begin with an in-depth exploration of the elements of art using both two- and three-dimensional projects that identify the formal properties of line, shape, value, texture, and color. Teachers encourage students to experiment with the materials provided for each assignment in order to find imaginative and creative solutions to visual problem solving. Activities include drawing, painting, printmaking, and clay modeling. Fundamental to the foundation of critical thinking skills is learning how to ask: Does it work and why?
In art, sixth graders continue to build on their understanding of the elements of visual problem solving. Students investigate a variety of materials used in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional projects. Assignments explore the use of line, shape, color, value, and texture to develop imagery in a systematic manner, while remaining open to creative possibilities. Students are taught to plan and execute projects in logical steps as they work toward completing their unique art pieces. In a mixed media assignment, sixth graders learn to develop a two-dimensional drawing into a three-dimensional sculpture. Concept, construction, and good artisanship are fundamental to the realization of this major project. Contour drawing, collage, painting, and basic color theory are also important components of this course.
Seventh grade art is divided into three segments: two-dimensional art, three-dimensional art, and public art within the Maret setting. In the twodimensional portion of the course, students use the reduction method of printmaking to create an edition of multicolor block prints. Teachers and students discuss design, composition, and color theory. In the three-dimensional section of the course, students are introduced to the processes of clay-modeling and mold-making, leading to the creation of a cast plaster relief. In addition, students have the opportunity to experiment with the structural properties of clay while using slab and drape mold techniques in the creation of a functional ceramic object. The application of color and decoration and their effect on a three-dimensional surface are fundamental to the completion of both projects. Finally, seventh graders plan and execute a site-specific public art installation that will become a permanent addition to the school setting. Within this context, students examine the role of public art and how location affects design, subject matter, and the selection of materials. Students choose from a variety of media and resources and work as a group to develop and produce their own design. Emphasis is on the process of translating concepts into a visual installation.
Like the seventh grade program, eighth grade art is divided into three segments: drawing, threedimensional art, and painting. In the drawing portion of the course, contour and value studies facilitate the understanding of form and volume. These exercises progress into a self-portrait done in the manner of artist Chuck Close, involving the enlargement of the image through the use of graphing. Emphasis is placed on the development of observational skills, eyehand coordination, and the use of value. The threedimensional segment of the course focuses on mold making and slip casting techniques in the creation of an individually designed set of utilitarian ceramic containers. Developing and refining skills in clay modeling, form development, mold-making, casting, and surface decoration with various glaze techniques are the primary emphasis of the project. The third component of eighth grade art is an exploration of the fundamentals of painting and painting techniques. Formal concepts of composition and color are examined along with issues surrounding the challenge of conceptualizing and producing an image that engages and informs the viewer.
The lower school art program is a studio experience. Projects are designed to help children express
themselves creatively as they explore a variety of approaches to making art. Drawing, painting,collage, and sculpting are among the two- and three dimensional activities to which they are introduced. With each assignment, elements of art and principles of design are integrated to encourage visual literacy.Respect for different modes of expression is validated
and reinforced as the students discuss their own work as well as that of artists with varying styles and subject matter. Children are always encouraged to discover and celebrate their own modes of expression. The curriculum is also linked to classroom topics and themes to achieve a unity with other academic subjects. For example, second graders create a three-dimensional model of birds based on research conducted in science, the library and their homerooms. Museum visits enhance the enjoyment of art and the children’s understanding of art through discussions of specific works and artists. By the time students reach 4th grade, they will have visited as many as ten different local museums and participated in virtual museum visits to institutions far outside our region.
All-School Art Show
A highlight of the year is our annual spring All-School Art Show. Each student has the opportunity to display his or her master work in a sprawling gallery-style setting. The event draws admirers from beyond our campus who come to admire the talent of our K-12 artists. Maret’s visual arts program stretches beyond the classroom to include a variety of extra-curricular options.