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Visual Arts

Brentwood School offers a wide array of visual arts experiences. Students, using the elements and principles of art as their guide, turn basic concepts into personally relevant art. Teachers direct, and students imagine, experiment, practice, and grow in a supportive atmosphere that fosters creative self-expression. This creativity spreads contagiously throughout each class, the department, and the school, producing actively engaged artists and the outstanding artwork that is prominently displayed in numerous campus locations.

Our dedicated gallery space has a full yearly calendar and serves as a dynamic display center for student art, guest artist presentations, and faculty exhibitions. Regularly, art education extends beyond the classroom through a series of artists' talks that make concepts and imagery come alive for our school community. In April, our All-School Art Show spotlights K-12 visual art in a week long celebration that honors each artist and gives an overview of our comprehensive visual program. Each year, two department wide collaborative projects engage each visual discipline in the exploration of a shared theme, with opening receptions that invite the entire campus to participate in art and ideas. Additionally, our Theater Lobby Gallery presents work that enhances and supports performing arts events, and our Library display space engages all who congregate there.

Students also submit to and are accepted in various art competitions at the local, regional, and national levels. Preparation, production, and presentation are at the heart of Brentwood School's visual arts program.


STUDENT COURSEWORK

Ceramics & Sculpture

Photography

Drawing & Composition

Stained Glass

Filmmaking

Studio Art


COURSE OFFERINGS

Ceramics & Sculpture

Ceramics and Sculpture classes offer students the opportunity to build technical and creative skills in the concentration of clay and mixed media. Projects range from traditional functional pottery forms to conceptually driven expressive art pieces. Beginning students develop technical skills such as hand-building, wheel throwing, and glazing. More advanced assignments investigate the art making process as a vehicle for critical thinking, personal inquiry, and discovery.

Click here to watch the new BWS Ceramic video to see the Fall semester Ceramic student accomplishments.

Drawing & Composition

Drawing and Composition classes are structured sequentially to give students the skills to translate their ideas into drawings, paintings, and mixed media pieces. Art history and the work of contemporary artists are integrated into lessons. In Drawing and Composition I, working from observation is emphasized. Experiences using resources and the incorporation of perspective and light sources are introduced into projects to help students illustrate personal and social ideas or themes.

Filmmaking

Brentwood School's new film program is designed to introduce students to all the essential skills and techniques necessary to create their own films. Now entering its second year, the program currently offers three one-semester classes available to all students from grades 9-12: Introduction to Filmmaking, Advanced Filmmaking, and Video Editing. Over the course of the semester, students learn the fundamentals of storytelling and how they apply to the film world, and develop skills in all phases of the production process, including concept creation, shooting techniques, and video editing. Students also develop the ability to analyze and critique the film medium, enriching their experience as viewers in our media-saturated world. Throughout each course, selected student work is submitted to local and regional film festivals for consideration, and shared with the school community on our YouTube channel, BWS Eaglevision.

Check out these and other one minute movies on YouTube:
Hideaway, Directed by Taylor L. '17
Archer, Directed by Daniel V. '17
Stalker, Directed by Austin J. '17

Photography

Photography courses in the Upper School at Brentwood School are open to all grade levels 9th - 12th. These courses are sequential and range from Photo 1 on up to Honors Photo 6. These classes are designed for students who simply want to learn to take better pictures, and for those who are accomplished photo enthusiast. Photography at Brentwood presents an exciting in-depth understanding of both Darkroom and Digital techniques. Students learn about attaining proper exposure, camera functions, creating black & white prints in the darkroom, and learning Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign).

The AP 2D Design course is an advanced course in photography and design. This class is a survey of ideas and techniques regarding the visual structure of 2D design, including the elements of design (line, color, shape, value, texture, space) in relation to the principals of design (unity/variety, balance, emphasis, contrast, rhythm, repetition, proportion/scale, and figure/ground). Students investigate all facets of abstraction through design, composition, and theoretical elements relative to the medium via studio projects, lectures, group critiques, gallery/museum visits,and presentations on contemporary & historical artists and designers. Studio projects, critique participation, journals, and critical writing projects are required. The course promotes a sustained investigation of all three aspects of portfolio development - quality, concentration, and breadth - in 2D design throughout the duration of this one-year course.

Stained Glass

Sun light shining on colored panes sends rainbow hues reflecting throughout the studio as students learn to design and fabricate using art glass. Expressing creative ideas in this medium, those who enroll in the many levels of stained glass classes offered will experience both "Tiffany" and leaded glass construction in two and three-dimensional formats. Continued investigation and use of the elements and principles of art are explored through a series of student oriented, teacher directed experiences. Techniques are honed by experience and support an evolving artistic vision as projects gain in sophistication over time, both mechanically and aesthetically.

Studio Art

Our Advanced Placement Studio Art program is a full year course that follows guidelines established by the College Board. The "2D Design," "3D Design," and "Drawing" portfolios are offered. Through an evolving series of teacher directed exercises, students will learn to develop techniques into acquired skills and gain a meaningful understanding of the use and application of elements andprinciples of design for self-expression and portfolio completion. At the completion of the course, portfolios are submitted to the College Board for assessment.

Poster Competition

The Performing Arts Department and the Visual Arts Department collaborate together on the poster designs for various performances. Students prep thumbnail sketches and discuss their ideas in one-on-one meetings with the photography teacher. Once posters are completed, they are submitted anonymously to a board of judges who evaluate, write comments, and select a winning design. The photos below showcase some of the posters that have won over the years.

"The Laramie Project" by Julia E. '20
"The Laramie Project" by Julia E. '20

This is the first winning design for Freshman Julia E. '20 in the 2017 Performing/Visual Arts poster design competition. This also marks the first time a Freshman student has won this highly competitive poster competition since 2012. Sharing her thoughts on her first place poster for the tragic nonfiction play "The Laramie Project" she comments: After I heard the introduction of this play by the director and I saw the movie, I immediately thought my design should have a dark feeling. The photo I used has gloomy clouds in the back and depicts a long road going deep into the hills. This symbolizes the journey of tragedy Matthew Shepard and the community of Laramie had to face after Matthew's death. The rainbow combined with the US flag ironically represents the gay community and the US as a united community, which they are not. I wanted the text to be simple and classic, so the viewer would clearly see that this is a very real and tragic play. I was thrilled to find out that I had won this poster contest, especially because of how meaningful this play is and continues to be.

"Guys and Dolls" by Mia B. '19
"Guys and Dolls" by Mia B. '19

This is the first winning design for Sophomore Mia B. '19 in the 2017 Performing/Visual Arts poster design competition. As a second semester Photo 1 student, this is also Mia's first time competing in this highly competitive poster competition. Sharing her thoughts on her first place poster for the iconic 1950s musical Guys and Dolls, she comments: "When taking on the Guys and Dolls poster assignment, at first I wasn't sure which direction I wanted to go. I figured out that sometimes the best inspiration comes from going back to the original. I found a vintage Guys and Dolls posters online and was automatically drawn to the vibrant colors and playful feel. I decided that keeping the design simple and bright with a retro feel was the best way to go. When I found out I had won I did not believe it was true, as I never expected to win with so many other amazing entrees. I feel extremely honored!"

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