Art at Westminster
Westminster Academy aspires to equip students to defend those things that are good, true and beautiful. Fundamental then, is the belief that there are transcendent norms to which we can appeal. This is true of all subjects and is most visible in the subject of art.
Westminster Academy is dedicated to training the next generation in the visual arts from a biblical worldview because we believe that to embrace visual mediocrity is an affront to a Holy God who said, “Let us make man in our image.” This training involves principles of composition and technique as well as a critical study of great works from the past.
Grades K-10 meet for studio art one session weekly. Grade 11 studies art history and meets twice weekly. Senior art meets daily. Beginning even in the Lower School, teaching the elements and principles of art begin as the skills of art are taught with the idea that all students can understand and apply these skills regardless of any “innate” ability. With each additional grade level, students continue (at an age-appropriate level) to deepen their understanding of art and the skills associated with creating it by applying the elements and principles they have been taught using various media.
Students from both Kindergarten and 1st Grade work in a variety of media, 2-D and 3-D. Basic concepts include art vocabulary, lives of the artists, classic themes, elements of art, color wheel principles and imitating master works.
From the 2nd Grade through the 6th Grade, lessons build on aspects of the elements of art (line, shape, color, mass and composition) and correspond with the period of history being studied. Grades 7 and 8 spend the year drawing, learning one-and two-point perspective, looking for geometric shapes in objects around them, understanding the proportions of the human face and body, and learning to re-create a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional surface by learning various sighting methods. Media for 7th Grade includes graphite, charcoal, pen and ink, and colored pencil. Media for 8th Grade includes pastel, oil pastel, graphite, pen and ink, charcoal and conte crayon.
Ninth Graders spend the year painting. They are exposed to various techniques using watercolor and acrylic paints. The 10th Grader sculpts in plaster, clay, wire and sometimes stone and is introduced to the potter’s wheel. The 11th Grader studies art history in conjunction with their studies of Western Civilization, beginning with the late-middle ages and ending with the early 20th century. Students learn that art, history, theology, culture, politics and economics are closely entwined throughout the major periods in history.
Along with their study of history, students execute one project over the course of the year that is derived from one specific period in history. This project varies year to year and is usually to be displayed at the school. Senior Art students spend time on extended studies that begin with drawing, progress to watercolor, then oil on canvas. Time is next spent working with three-dimensional media such as clay, plaster and, occasionally, stone and steel. The culmination of Senior Art is the Senior Art Exhibit. Usually held at the school, the exhibit affords the students a gallery experience and an opportunity for parents and the public to view the progression in style and skill.
Want more art in your life? Follow the Art department at www.ornare.org.