At RPCS, we view the studio arts as a way of engaging with oneself and with the world. Our curriculum allows girls a means of tapping into their imaginations, creative interests, and passions. Projects encourage RPCS girls to become keenly observant, self-reflective and expressive through visual means.
RPCS promotes independence of thinking, thoughtfulness, growth through hard effort, and stretching beyond one’s comfort zone. As our girls better understand themselves, they also come to understand their place in the world. Over time, students in studio arts develop a mastery of art techniques and ideas as well an appreciation for shared responsibility. The RPCS student’s creative spirit shines whether she is showing work to others at a juried exhibition or working solo on an Empty Bowl to benefit a soup kitchen.
An RPCS education in studio arts begins with Preschool. At this early age, students enrich their motor and cognitive abilities by exploring various media. As they continue through Lower School, students refine their problem solving and critical thinking abilities with work in painting, drawing, printmaking, clay, stitching and collage. Lessons introduce a wide range of artists and cultures and often make cross-curricular connections with other subjects.
Middle School studio art provides a wide range of experiences within the art classroom so that each student can feel successful as she explores which media appeal to her. There is ample opportunity for thoughtful discussion and intellectual challenge while the students build on existing skills and explore new ones. Students are encouraged to stretch beyond their comfort zones to take artistic risks and discover new facets of imagination, new strategies for self-expression and new ways of perceiving and interacting with the world. A broad based and culturally sensitive curriculum allows each of the girls to find her own voice.
In Upper School, students have the option of fulfilling a required introductory art course by enrolling in Art Appreciation or Studio Art I. Art Appreciation is a course designed for students with a wide range of artistic interests and abilities and Art I gives students who want to pursue advanced studio courses a deeper foundation in observational work and technical skills. Both courses offer a variety of media assignments that encourage creative thinking, application of design principles, and developing a personal creative style.
Students who are committed to studio art can continue in upper level courses leading all the way to AP Studio Art in their senior year. The Upper School studio electives consist of Art II: Developing Ideas in Media, Art III: Portfolio Development and Art IV: Personal Directions in Art (also offered as an AP course.)
In Art II, students experiment with a wide variety of materials, techniques, surfaces and subject matter. Each problem is designed to incorporate personal meaning. Whether it is through personal narrative or symbolic meaning, students are given the opportunity to express their inner selves. In Art III, students continue on the path of developing their portfolio. They utilize their handmade sketchbooks for research, visual journaling, and reflective response. Students continue to include personal meaning in their work. Art III students are given the opportunity to do work “on location”, both on campus and off, and to work in large format using mixed media. Both Art III and Art IV students are introduced to working from a model to help develop their observational skills. Art IV students primarily work on their AP portfolio for submission to the College Board in the spring. Each student is asked to develop a concentration, a series of works which is based on a theme. Students research, dialogue and investigate ideas while looking at other artists as exemplars. In the fall, advanced students go to New York City for a day of art visiting such museums as the MOMA, the Met, Whitney and Guggenheim as well as exploring the galleries in Chelsea. In the spring, advanced students go “on location” for an afternoon of painting. Through experiencing the arts, students develop a personal aesthetic and become compassionate in their appreciation of the arts.