The Berkeley Carroll School

Arts



While the Upper School has a two year visual or performing art requirement, the fact that the majority of our students take art for four years emphasizes the centrality of the arts to the BC culture. Whether pursuing photography for four years, singing in the choir and pursuing ceramics, playing in the jazz band and performing in the dance program, our course offerings allow students to express themselves creatively and become increasingly skilled in their chosen discipline(s).

The BC arts program strives to provide beginners with the basic instruction required to become proficient and take joy in the art form, and also provide more accomplished students with the critical feedback that will allow them to develop their individual style, as well as a portfolio of work.

Visual Arts

9th Grade

Introduction to Ceramics Sculpture

How can the introduction of clay and other three-dimensional materials affect the process and production of art?
How does the introduction to ceramics inspire the creative process to produce three-dimensional art?

The Introduction to Ceramic Sculpture course concentrates on developing an understanding of the function, form, and cultural contributions of sculpture through creating projects involving basic hand construction, methods of pinching, coiling, slab, and the potter’s wheel. This is an introductory course designed for the student with little or no previous knowledge of sculpture.

This course covers the traditional methods, skills, and techniques of ceramic art and sculpture as well as introducing contemporary ideas and methods by using various media such as plaster, stone carving, wood, and metal to incorporate a post-modern/contemporary approach to sculpture. Students always begin the course with a hand-building project to produce pinch pots, followed by coil pots with focus on relief and additive processes. These projects allow students to become familiar and comfortable with the material. Students will then create a nonfunctional sculpture depicting a subject in motion. Future projects explore different concepts such as the theme of opposites, surrealism, as well as conducting an artist study and creating a piece inspired by that artist. Towards the end of the first semester and the beginning of the second semester, students are introduced to the potter’s wheel and are encouraged to create at least three pieces on the wheel by the end of the year.

Feedback is provided by the teacher and the students through various critiques and discussions throughout the year. The exposure to a variety of methods, materials, and concepts will start to shape and define each student’s individual styles in preparation for the advanced class that can be taken the following year.

Design Foundations I

How is design different than art? How does design create change and solve problems related to human needs?

We are surrounded and bombarded by designed messages and objects in our daily lives. It’s the designer’s job to create these, and improve our world by considering the form and function of all these messages and objects.

In this class, students will get to step into the role of a real designer using a wide variety of disciplines: graphic, media, and product design, architecture and urban planning. You will think critically and ask yourself “how can I make it better?” as you produce logos, posters, videos, product archetypes, architectural models and urban planning solutions. This work will be done by hand as well as using digital technology.

Unlike traditional visual art, here you are an innovator and inventor. Drawing is not essential to be successful in Design; instead it is about generating ideas, building models and diagrams, writing and dialogue. In addition, Design allows us to consider and implement many different solutions to one problem.

Introduction to Drawing and Painting

What are the properties of drawing and painting media and what are the skills needed to effectively use them to create works from observation?
How does drawing and painting from observation change the finished work in comparison to drawing and painting from memory or imagination?

Basic drawing and painting techniques will be explored in this foundation course. Students are instructed in specific techniques and approaches to art making that allow them to explore a wide variety of materials including pencil, colored pencils, charcoal, oil & chalk pastels, water color and acrylic paints, collage and printmaking. Students work from observation, representing form through light and shadow, as well as exploring abstraction and original creative ideas.

Introduction to Photography

What are the variables of an SLR camera and the film used that affect exposures?
What are the variables of the enlarging process that affect the print?

This is a foundation course in the fundamentals of black-and-white film photography. Students learn the basic skills of how to use a single lens reflex camera and the variables that affect exposure and creating good photographs. In the Darkroom, students will learn how to process their film, make enlargements from their negatives and develop finished black and white prints. Although black and white film processing and printing are emphasized, attention is given to digital photography as well. This class also focuses on aesthetic concerns, critiques, and familiarity with the work of established photographers.

10th Grade

Ceramics and Sculpture II

Design Foundations II

Drawing & Painting II

Photography II

What are the variables of an SLR camera and the film used that affect exposures?
What are the variables of the enlarging process that affect the print?

This course continues to build on the fundamentals of black-and-white film photography. This course is open to beginning photography students as well as those who are familiar with the basic skills of how to use a single lens reflex camera and the variables that affect exposure and creating good photographs. In the Darkroom, students will process their film, make enlargements from their negatives and develop finished black and white prints. Students with previous experience will become more comfortable processing their film, using creative techniques for making enlargements from their negatives and developing good quality black and white prints. Although black and white film processing and printing are emphasized, attention is given to digital photography as well. This class also focuses on aesthetic concerns, critiques, and familiarity with the work of established photographers.

11th Grade

Ceramics/Sculpture Portfolio

What influences the development of artistic style?
How will exploring themes of art history, aesthetics, and style further shape one’s artistic style?

Ceramic Sculpture Portfolio is an advanced continuation of Ceramic Sculpture II with an emphasis on the further development of individual artistic style, and the intention to create a portfolio that will be sent out to colleges as an application supplement. Students will have the creative freedom to explore media and methods that they prefer, though because college portfolio requirements usually ask for a variety of artwork from different themes or mediums, students will have to spend time out of their comfort zone in order to meet these requirements. Students will be given themes to explore through their sculpture-making, but will also be encouraged to produce original ideas. Students will be provided with more creative freedom than past courses, but expectations will be higher in this advanced class.

Design Portfolio

How can I create and present an advanced design portfolio that shows a mastery of design thinking and skills?

In this course, students will work with professional designers through real and virtual critiques and studio visits as they work on a series of projects in graphic, media, apparel, and product design and architecture and urban planning. Getting to know individuals who are designing the messages, objects and spaces in our world , will demystify these influential professions and students will see how they could easily participate in them too. A year-long focus of this course will be a critical dialogue about equity, and social justice in design as we explore the question, “Do the people who design our media, products and spaces reflect the rich diversity of our society?” In the spring, students will apply what they have learned in a multi-disciplinary Urban Planning project where they analyze and re-design a street in nearby Brooklyn.

Drawing and Painting Portfolio

How can you begin to develop and research ideas that you are interested in and use those in your own work?
How can you create a portfolio of artworks that are interconnected through materials and ideas?

This yearlong course is designed for the junior or senior interested in creating a portfolio for college review. In this course, we will explore a variety of methods and materials used by two-dimensional artists today to express ideas about and to share observations of the world we live in. Students will work in a sketchbook on a regular basis, discuss contemporary art and their own work, and create a portfolio of works using a variety of media. Emphasis will be put on creative thinking, innovative approaches, and embracing the uncertainty of the artistic process. Students will begin to think about how their work fits into the contemporary visual dialogue while embarking on various observational and conceptual projects.

Photography Portfolio

How do you create a quality print?
What kind of creative freedom can you find within the boundaries of an assignment?
How does the subject matter you choose affect how your photos are interpreted?
What part does a group critique play in the photographic process?

This course is designed for those students who are familiar with using a single lens reflex camera, have a good working knowledge of black and white film processing and enlarging and are knowledgeable in darkroom processes. Portfolio Photography provides a more thorough building of skills necessary for creating fine art black and white prints. Although the focus is on film photography, digital photo assignments supplement the portfolio. The intent is to produce quality film and digital prints using a variety of ideas and presentations and to create by the end of the year a photography portfolio. This class also focuses on aesthetic concerns, critiques, and familiarity with the work of established photographers.

Art History

What questions does one ask oneself in order to interpret a work of art?
How does historical context influence the progression of artistic style over time?

In this course, students will build the necessary skills that will allow them to analyze any piece of artwork to which they are exposed. As they learn to identify a core set of masterpieces from each period, and explore the evolution of styles through the ages, the main objective will be to develop an “art language” as a method of visual analysis and interpretation. Throughout the course, we will be visiting various museums and galleries around New York City. The art history course offers a chronological survey of art from the beginning of civilization to the present time, including the most modern trends and ideas in the ever-changing world of art. The course combines proper historical techniques and procedures with an emphasis on the role played by the artist and the work of art, its context, and the critic. Special attention is given to our interpretation of a work of art based upon its intended use, audience, and role in a particular society. As a survey course, the material is approached as an introduction to the discipline. The study of Art History will change the way one looks not only at paintings and statues, but also advertisements and any visual phenomenon.

12th Grade

Ceramics/Sculpture Exhibition

How can you combine your experience with different methods and materials with your developing style in order to produce an idea and convey it through a sculpture?

In this course, students will focus on an idea of their choosing and spend the entire year working on a sculpture or sculptures portraying this idea. Whether through one major artwork, or multiple pieces, the goal is to work towards an Art Exhibition Opening. Writing proposals, meeting deadlines, and participating in class critiques will be essential elements in preparing for the final exhibition in May. This course is designed for the advanced sculptor who was demonstrated passion and is committed to the medium. Students will be working independently in class in order to achieve a successful outcome and finished artwork.

Design Exhibition

How will I make my mark in design?

In keeping with the core values of this course, seniors will use what they have learned so far to design their own course plan by choosing a series of three sequential design disciplines based on their passion and curiosity. For example, a student interested in the environment might choose to work in product design, landscape design, and urban planning, while where another student interested in pop culture trends and fashion might choose to focus on advertising, product, and apparel design. Students will work with increased independence, and convene as a group for regular presentations and critiques as they support each other’s work. The course will culminate in May with an exhibition of students’ completed works. By participating in a course with an individual focus such as this, students will gain a broader understanding of themselves and their relationship to Design.

Drawing and Painting Exhibition

How can you articulate your own creative voice and express it with painting and/or drawing media through a cohesive body of work?

In this intensive course, students will work to create a portfolio that investigates a chosen theme to be explored in-depth, over a sustained period. This course is designed for the advanced student who has demonstrated the capacity to work independently. Students will develop a concentration, an area where the student is required to demonstrate a commitment to an intense exploration of a specific idea involving both creative capacities and intellectual understanding. Written commentary documenting the students’ ideas and progress is a required part of the concentration. Class critiques and discussion will help inform student progress, and are a major part of participation in this course. The course will culminate in May with an exhibition of the completed works. By conducting a course on an individual level such as this, it is hoped that students will gain a broader understanding of themselves and their relationship to the visual arts. Each student will document his or her final portfolio digitally.

Photography Exhibition

How do you find your own unique style as a photographer?
How can you develop a cohesive body of work?
How does the subject matter affect how your photos are interpreted?
How do you create a quality print?

In this advanced photography course, students work on creating a “Concentration.” This consists of a large body of work, both film and digital, of an in-depth personal exploration of a particular visual idea or artistic concern. Students are expected to work independently on their concentration pieces, and keeping up to date with their work. Class critiques and discussions are an important part of this course. The course will culminate with an exhibition of the completed Concentration along with a written Artist Statement.

Art History

What questions does one ask oneself in order to interpret a work of art?
How does historical context influence the progression of artistic style over time?

In this course, students will build the necessary skills that will allow them to analyze any piece of artwork to which they are exposed. As they learn to identify a core set of masterpieces from each period, and explore the evolution of styles through the ages, the main objective will be to develop an “art language” as a method of visual analysis and interpretation. Throughout the course, we will be visiting various museums and galleries around New York City. The art history course offers a chronological survey of art from the beginning of civilization to the present time, including the most modern trends and ideas in the ever-changing world of art. The course combines proper historical techniques and procedures with an emphasis on the role played by the artist and the work of art, its context, and the critic. Special attention is given to our interpretation of a work of art based upon its intended use, audience, and role in a particular society. As a survey course, the material is approached as an introduction to the discipline. The study of Art History will change the way one looks not only at paintings and statues, but also advertisements and any visual phenomenon.

Performing Arts

Concert Choir

How does the art and practice of singing together create a community that is more intuitive and self-aware?

Upper School Concert Choir focuses on a variety of musical choral styles in order to provide the singer with ample opportunities for expression. These styles are selected to extend the students’ range and develop a balanced musical knowledge upon which a student may draw. Individual expression is encouraged through the performing of solo and small ensemble pieces. In addition, the choir works diligently as a group to create a uniform sound through studying ear training, sight reading, singing in two, three and four part harmonies, developing proper breathing techniques, diction, and vocal technique. There are several in-school and evening performances where the students can show their skills. Students can participate in Concert Choir and Wind Ensemble or Orchestra with the instructor's permission.

Chamber Choir

What is the role of a musician in a smaller ensemble?

Chamber Choir is an auditioned group of approximately 25 students to develop and exhibit their musical and vocal abilities in a variety of settings. Students will be exposed to material from a variety of time periods, styles, and languages. The students will be performing collegiate level music and will have the experience learning and performing music on their own without a conductor. There are several in-school and evening performances throughout the year.

Jazz Ensemble

How does the art and practice of singing together create a community that is more intuitive and self-aware?

Upper School Concert Choir focuses on a variety of musical choral styles in order to provide the singer with ample opportunities for expression. These styles are selected to extend the students’ range and develop a balanced musical knowledge upon which a student may draw. Individual expression is encouraged through the performing of solo and small ensemble pieces. In addition, the choir works diligently as a group to create a uniform sound through studying ear training, sight reading, singing in two, three and four part harmonies, developing proper breathing techniques, diction, and vocal technique. There are several in-school and evening performances where the students can show their skills. Students can participate in Concert Choir and Wind Ensemble or Orchestra with the instructor's permission.

Wind Ensemble

What is a wind ensemble?
How can a group of musicians perform together in an ensemble with different wind instruments?
How can I learn to play with others and become a better musician?

Concert band is open to all Upper School students who play wind and percussion instruments. This group will perform music for large and small ensembles. Students will develop technique and learn how to play in an ensemble. This group will perform both for the school community and outside of the school community. Any wind instrumentalist or percussionist may be a part of this group. Jazz Ensemble students are required to take wind ensemble if they play a wind or percussion instrument. Students can take participate in Wind Ensemble and Choir with the instructor’s permission.

Instrument Music Lab

What is the role of a musician in an ensemble?
How can a musician perform together
diverse styles of music in a variety of groupings?

The Instrumental Lab class is designed for students who wish to study instrumental music at the upper school level. Students will be performing in a variety of groupings and perform a diverse variety of styles. At times the group will perform together as a large ensemble, but will also break down into smaller groups that are both student and teacher selected. Though primarily a reading based curriculum, students will also create their own compositions and improvise. This course is recommended for students who can work independently on becoming a better musician, guitarists are encouraged to take part in this class.

Orchestra

What is the role of the musician in the ensemble?
How can ensemble members work together to form fully realized performances of works from all musical genres?

The Upper School Orchestra affords student instrumentalists of intermediate to advanced levels the chance to play music in a variety styles. Students work together- collaborating with both fellow students and the instructor. Students will have the opportunity to perform in a variety of contexts. In depth study of great works helps students to understand the performance practices associated with each selection. A major goal of the course is to allow students to be confident in a variety of musical settings. Enrollment in private lessons is mandatory. This course is primarily for students who play string instruments but others may participate with instructor permission. Students can participate in Wind Ensemble or Orchestra and Choir with the instructor’s permission.

Speech and Debate

Speech and Debate offers the opportunity to deepen public performance skills in speech or debate. Speech events focus on emotional persuasion and debate-type events focus on logical persuasion. Both types develop a command of body, gesture and vocal skills that are achieved through thoughtful practice and a commitment to utilizing focused energy and passion. It takes time and patience to develop these skills. A straightforward audition process begins the conversation about which event is best suited for each team member. Students use class time to prepare for tournaments, which occur on weekends from October through February; thus, regular weekend availability to attend these tournaments is necessary.

Theater Foundations I

How does effective collaboration inform and enrich the creative process?

This two-part course is designed to foster an understanding of and appreciation for the interdependence between actors and technicians.

Part 1: Performance: Training emphasizes the development of fundamental acting skills through improvisational theater games, voice, and movement exercise. Work may include ensemble development, audition technique, and performing original and scripted monologues and scenes.

Part 2: Production: Training focuses on Production Design basics including safety, tools identification and usage, as well as a broad range of production design topics such as theater management, lighting, sound, and scenic design.

Advanced Techniques in Theater

How can theater artists effectively communicate their story to an audience?

In this year long course students will choose to study solely performance skills or production design skills.

In performance, students will explore a variety of advanced acting techniques that may include Stanislavsky, Hagen, and Viewpoints. Students will also create original works using oral history and interview theater techniques. Mastery of skills will be demonstrated through studio performances from standard dramatic, comedic, and musical theater repertory.

Advanced technical theater students will be invited to investigate a broad range of production design topics which may include puppet and mask creation, building and painting techniques, renderings in costume and set design, and model building. Students will also serve as assistant designers for one of the four main stage productions at Berkeley Carroll.
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