In the Middle School, visual art is a required course. The Visual Arts program encourages students to express their creativity as they gain a foundation in traditional art forms and experiment with contemporary artistic practices. Emphasis is placed on experimentation, risk-taking and making choices based upon research, introspection, and observation. Students actively think about how art shapes society and provides a means for self-expression. Classes explore art-making beyond the classroom, through museum visits, art walks, neighborhood explorations, and sketchbook assignments. Many interdisciplinary projects are done in conjunction with the Spanish department over these four years.
Fifth graders experiment with various media to create art, including drawing, soft sculpture, painting, paper collage and illustration. They also visit art museums and venues around New York City. Sixth graders build on their knowledge while learning about art-planning, scaling, orientation and perspective and gaining experience with glazing and firing, slab rollng, coiling, modeling, and book making. In seventh grade, students learn soft linoleum printmaking and sculpture, work on a papier-mache project of a skull for the Día de los Muertos holiday, which requires them to study geometry of the face, and are introduced to the Pop Art movement. Eighth graders are challenged to work more closely with media of their choosing, such as mixed media, printmaking, acrylic painting, wood-carving, charcoal or graphite pencil drawings, computer-assisted graphics, found object sculptures, clay-based forms, and digital photography. Emphasis is placed on student-generated ideas and independent problem solving.