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Arts at George School

Studying the performing arts or visual arts at George School will teach you to look at the world through a different lens, in a different light, and from a different perspective.

Yes, you may learn how to handle a paint brush, a potter’s wheel, or your own voice. You’ll also learn about dedication. You’ll learn that struggling with something but loving it anyway is not an alien paradox. You will be inspired by amazing teachers, most of whom are professional artists, and by plentiful opportunities to perform and exhibit, collaborate and critique.

At George School, studying the arts will help you to see the world with fresh eyes (and ears) and to realize how far your creativity can take you.

Arts by the Numbers

13

annual exhibitions and student performances

 

12

talented teachers, all professional artists

50+

arts courses to explore your creativity

7

online galleries featuring student creativity

Arts in the News

Arts Department Courses

Studio and performing arts classes encourage students to be creative and to enjoy themselves while they practice and appreciate a specific art form. In addition, students learn to be discriminating when they evaluate their own and others’ work.

Tap Dance

This class is intended to improve rhythm and musicality for students learning and/or developing tap technique. The course looks at the evolution of tap from its inception in the United States during the 1700s. It emphasizes precision and isolations. Classes begin with foot isolating warm-ups, move into step-based skill building, and end with across-the-floor work. Some choreography and improvisation is also included.

This class is open to all students and is recommended for theater students and anyone interested in the Musical Theater performance class. This class can be repeated.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Dance Studies

The study of dance is expressive human movement that unites the physical with the intellectual and the emotional with the spiritual. It utilizes the body as a means of communication and has the power to unify people across boundaries of language, cultures, and other divisionary lines. Dance Studies aims to strengthen and develop the dancer’s instrument. Areas of focus include: dance vocabulary, styles and techniques, safe and effective use of the body, and basic elements of choreography. Students in this course are required to take a 3-mod core sequence, consisting of 2 mods in Contemporary Dance and 1 mod in Ballet. Students taking this course for a second time may add Jazz as a 4th mod of the core sequence if desired. See individual course descriptions below.

Contemporary dance is an important genre of dance performed in societies around the world. It trains and encourages dancers to be versatile in their expressions and to be able to portray a wide variety of movement styles and emotions. Primary areas of focus include: spatial and body awareness, flexibility in the use of the body, efficiency of muscular usage, safe body alignment, and musicality.

The Ballet mod is designed to develop awareness of alignment and basic ballet vocabulary and technique through barre work, center, and across-the-floor exercises. It emphasizes movement quality, carriage of upper body, core and leg strength, and flexibility.

The Jazz mod includes a variety of jazz styles, both historical and contemporary. It emphasizes strength, isolations, syncopated rhythms, and precision. Classes begin with warm-up exercises and then move into across-the-floor work. Students utilize skills and techniques to learn choreography devised for a variety of music styles.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-4.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Advanced Dance Studies & Performance

This course is a continuation of the first core sequence in dance studies. Students continue to expand their dance repertoire with the addition of a performance element. The 3-mod core sequence of required classes consists of 1 mod in Contemporary Dance, 1 mod of the Advanced Performance Ensemble, and a choice of 1 mod of Jazz, Ballet, or a second mod of Contemporary Dance. Additional mods of any dance class may be taken if desired. Students may take this class multiple years.

The Advanced Performance Ensemble mod takes students through the process of preparing for and presenting a dance concert. Students are challenged to choreograph and dance in their own work to be auditioned for inclusion in the dance concert. In addition, they perform in the teacher-choreographed pieces. The concert is the culmination of a term of work and is presented to the public as two performances on the stage in Walton Auditorium.

See Dance Studies (ARP110A) for descriptions of Contemporary, Ballet, and Jazz mods.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-5.0

Prerequisite: Dance Studies (3 credits) or permission of instructor

Open to: 11, 12

IB Dance

Students work both individually and in collaboration to experience the creative process as a way of learning to transform ideas into action through intellectual curiosity and creative thinking. The IB Dance curriculum is designed to help students come to appreciate the value and importance of researching, creating, preparing and presenting, and critically reflecting as modes of learning and communicating. In the process, students gain a richer understanding of themselves, their personal cultural perspectives, and cultural ideas and practices in the global community. The assessments that together comprise the IB exam score are the Composition and Analysis (two for SL dance works composed by the student, along with a written statement to accompany one of the dances), the Dance Investigation (a written report of 1500 words for SL), and the Performance (a combination of solo/duet and group performances).

IB Dance embraces a variety of dance traditions and dance cultures, both current and past, while also encouraging students to look towards the future through the lens of dance. Performance, creative, and analytical skills are developed through the creation and performance of dance and through research and writing assignments. Students come to understand dance as a set of practices with their own histories and theories, and to understand that these practices integrate physical, intellectual, and emotional knowledge, while simultaneously experiencing dance as an individual and collective exploration of the expressive possibilities of bodily movement. The course aims to help students understand and appreciate mastery in various dance styles and to use dance to create a dialogue among cultures.

The SL dance curriculum requires that a student take the three required mods of Advanced Dance Studies & Performance (ARP110F) in both 11th and 12th grades. In addition, all IB Arts students attend the IB Arts Block, which meets for 45 minutes weekly throughout the academic year.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 6.0-10.0

Prerequisite: Dance at George School (3 credits, B) or dance experience and permission of department

Open to: 11, 12

Dance and the Creative Process

“To be creative you have to know how to prepare to be creative. . . . There’s a process that generates creativity–and you can learn it. And you can make it habitual.” —Twyla Tharp

The central text of this course, in which students apply the creative process to choreography to produce dance works of their own, is Twyla Tharp’s “The Creative Habit.” The course begins with an exploration of the steps taken during the creative journey. These include choosing, investigating, and exploring a topic, solving problems, refining ideas, and creating a final product. Students work through these steps to create a movement of their own artistic design. In the second half of the course, students build on their understanding of the creative process as they study the methods and techniques of professional choreographers, and then choose one choreographer’s creative process as a model for developing and presenting a dance of their own.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: 3 credits of either Dance or Theater at George School (can be taken concurrently)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Film Production 1

In this foundation-building course, students engage in a variety of exercises designed to develop fundamental knowledge and a basic understanding of film production. Skills covered include camera operation, story development, basic shot composition, project planning as well as scheduling, editing, and post-production work. In addition to film production skills, students acquire a basic vocabulary for film analysis, enabling them to discern greater meaning and appreciation of film as a communicative medium. This is intended to lead students from passive movie watchers to active film readers. As students acquire the fundamental knowledge and skills of filmmaking, they take on the role of a creative producer, learning to translate their ideas into successful films. Limited-scale exercises in the first term help students develop the skills necessary to complete longer, and more complex projects in the second and third terms. Students are expected to produce work that will be shown at the George School Film Festival. In addition, they are expected to attend theatrical film screenings on campus and off.

Students must progress through the mods in sequential order if they take more than one mod, though the progression may span multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Film Production 2

Film 2 is a highly collaborative, workshop-based class in which students expand their knowledge of film production and analysis and improve on the skills developed in Film Production 1. The focus is on the five primary production roles: directing, editing, writing, sound, and cinematography. Short, targeted assignments in the first term are designed to help students practice and refine their skills in these primary roles. As students build knowledge and expertise, assignments shift to more creative, open-ended projects in the second and third mods. Through the lens of Quakerism, students are expected to let their films speak and to submit at least one project to an external festival for outside consideration. In addition, students screen their work at the George School Film Festival. Students are also expected to attend theatrical film screenings both on campus and off.

Students must progress through the mods in sequential order if they take more than one mod, though the progression may span multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Film Production 1 (3 credits)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Advanced Film Production

This studio-production and research-based class emphasizes scripting, project planning, more sophisticated camera work and production practices, as well as advanced editing and post-production techniques, all through the lens of Quakerism. Devising original films is the primary goal of this course. Students continue to work collaboratively on strengthening and refining their filmmaking skills as well as deepening their understanding of the five primary production roles. Students learn to use film as a vehicle for artistic self-expression, and learn to identify and develop their creative intentions through a range of production projects and also through concentrated research and written reflection.

The first mod, Production Roles, focuses on the skills required for and interconnections among the production roles of writing, directing, sound design, cinematography, and editing. Students taking this course for the first time are assigned small-scale creative projects to develop proficiency in each role. Students taking this course for a second time work collaboratively as a production team to develop mastery of one production role towards a larger creative project. 11th grade IB students develop and begin their portfolio plans. 12th grade IB students complete their portfolios and begin working on their collaborative film through the lens of their designated production role.

In the second mod, Signal to Noise, students explore composition and intentionality, learning to make deliberate choices that “signal” their message and voice, while simultaneously eliminating distracting “noise.” Consideration is given to how genre-specific choices such as story, mis-en-scène, sound, and editing can either distract from or enhance the voice and intention of the director.

The focus of the third mod, The Filmmaker’s Voice, is on directorial choices. Students consider Auteur Theory and study a variety of directors to understand how a filmmaker’s production choices can create a unique style of storytelling. After receiving instruction on auteur theory and analyzing the work of a range of of well-known directors, students taking this course for the first time study of a single director and model a creative project in the style of their chosen filmmaker. Those taking the course for a second time are challenged to demonstrate a higher level of creativity in their production project, showcasing their own unique voice as a filmmaker, rather than imitating the style of another.

This course may be taken more than once. Students taking more than one credit must progress though the mods in sequential order, though the progression may span multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Film Production 2 (3 credits)

Open to: 11, 12

IB Film

As part of a two-year course of study, students work both individually and in collaboration to experience the creative process as a way of learning to transform ideas into action through intellectual curiosity and creative thinking. The IB Film curriculum is designed to help students come to appreciate the value and importance of researching, creating, preparing and presenting, and critically reflecting as modes of learning and communicating. In the process, students gain a richer understanding of themselves, their personal cultural perspectives, and cultural ideas and practices in the global community. The assessments that together comprise the IB exam score are the Portfolio, the Comparative Study, the Textual Analysis, and the Collaborative Project.

For SL Film, students take 5 mods over two years. In addition, all IB arts students attend the IB Arts Block, which meets for 45 minutes weekly throughout the academic year. In 11th grade, both SL and HL Film students take the first two mods (Production Roles and Signal to Noise) of Advanced Film (ARP210D), and the Textual Analysis mod described below.

It is recommended that the third mod (The Filmmaker’s Voice) of Advanced Film also be taken in 11th grade, but if it is impossible to fit into the 11th grade schedule, this mod can be postponed until 12th grade. IB students are welcome to take all three mods of Advanced Film in both 11th and 12th grades in addition to the IB-specific mod each year if their schedule allows.

In the 11th grade IB mod, students complete the IB Textual Analysis essay, a 1750-word paper in which students explore how meaning is conveyed through the use of film elements in the chosen film text. Students develop film vocabulary and a broad knowledge of cultural contexts to use in their analysis. Students are supported in their research skills, analytical argumentation, and writing during this process.

In the 12th grade IB HL mod, students complete the culminating Collaborative Project, in which each student is assigned a production role and works as part of a team to develop and produce a creative film. Students will also be supported in writing the 2000-word report that is an essential part of this assignment, reflecting on the group’s creative intentions, production process and collaboration, as well as on the individual student’s contribution in a designated production role.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 5.0-5.0

Prerequisite: Film Production 1 (3 credits) or permission of department and additional preparatory work

Open to: 11, 12

Producing Peace: Civic Media Literacy & Production

This course is cross-listed as MUL770P (Extradisciplinary) and HIS770P (History). See the course description for MUL770P (Extradisciplinary) in the Extradisciplinary section of the catalog.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Vocal Ensemble

Students in this course receive training in vocal production and sight-reading as they explore a variety of vocal styles. Singers expand their musical horizons while experiencing an eclectic repertoire of music from around the world, including, but not limited to, early to contemporary classical music, a cappella, and jazz. Each term of the course culminates in a performance.

Those who are new to the study of music as an art form are taught basic music literacy and develop aural and sight-reading skills while refining individual singing abilities and forming an understanding of choral singing. As students progress through the course they begin to experiment with connections between theory and practice and develop their own original compositions and arrangements. Advanced students of vocal music focus on expanding and deepening their skills as performers and are taught to reflect on the creative possibilities inherent in the interaction among their own musical intuition, the composer’s indications in a score, and their own detailed analysis of a piece. They develop the habit of considering what each of these elements offers as they make interpretive decisions about performance and develop their own performance style.

Students may take this course multiple times. Those taking the course for the first time must take the three mods in sequence, though the mods may be split between years. Once they have completed the sequence once, students may take any or all mods in subsequent years. In whatever mods they take, the focus of advanced students will be on analysis and performance.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Community Chorus

This chorus is open to all members of the George School campus community as well as neighbors and friends from the wider community. Singers receive training in vocal production, exposure to music-reading, and exposure to a varied repertoire. The course meets on Sunday evenings for approximately four months in preparation for one major concert. There are no meetings during the academic day. Those wishing to participate should be in touch with the music director for details. Those wishing to receive academic credit for the course should contact the registrar sometime during the first month of rehearsals.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

String Ensemble and Wind Ensemble

String and Wind Ensemble is are courses in musicianship for players of string, wind, and percussion instruments. (Percussionists should register for Wind Ensemble.) Through the preparation and performance of instrumental music, students learn elements of style, expression, ensemble technique, music theory, history of music, and music literature. The role of the performer and his or her responsibility to the composer, the audience, and fellow performers are ongoing themes in this class. A varied repertoire, ranging from Renaissance music to modern compositions, is performed not only by the full orchestra, but also by various smaller chamber ensembles. Each mod culminates in a performance, and in some mods there may be evening and/or weekend rehearsals and performances.

Students may take this course multiple times. Those taking the course for the first time must take the three mods in sequence, though the mods may be split between years. Once they have completed the sequence once, students may take any or all mods in subsequent years. In whatever mods they take, advanced students focus on expanding and deepening their skills as performers and are taught to reflect on the creative possibilities inherent in the interaction among their own musical intuition, the composer’s indications in a score, and their own detailed analysis of a piece. They develop the habit of considering what each of these elements offers as they make interpretive decisions about performance and develop their own performance style.

To participate in either String or Wind Ensemble a student must demonstrate familiarity with their instrument; read music fluently; and have a working understanding of key signatures, basic rhythm patterns, and meter.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Audition

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Audio Recording & Music Production and Advanced Audio Recording & Music Production

Using industry-standard equipment and protocols, students in this course learn to creatively control their ideas in the recording and music production process. In the first mod, students explore the physics of sound and consider how sound is produced and amplified through the use of microphones in a variety of environments. Students are also introduced to the digital audio software ProTools and use it to complete an audio mixing project. In the second mod, students learn to creatively shape sound by using equalizers and dynamics processor. They are also introduced to the concept of the signal chain and learn to use automation to increase efficiency. In the third mod, students explore time delay effects and are introduced to the basics of audio mastering. In a culminating project, students work through the recording, mixing, and mastering stages to produce a full track.

This course may be split across two years. Students who have taken the full sequence once have the option to take any or all mods once more as Advanced Audio Recording.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: 3 credits of Vocal Ensemble, String Ensemble, or Wind Ensemble or permission of department

Open to: 10, 11, 12

IB Music

In this course, students work both individually and in collaboration to experience the creative process as a way of learning to transform ideas into action through intellectual curiosity and creative thinking. The IB Music curriculum is designed to help students come to appreciate the value and importance of researching, creating, preparing and presenting, and critically reflecting as modes of learning and communicating. In the process, students gain a richer understanding of themselves, their personal cultural perspectives, and cultural ideas and practices in the global community. The assessments that together comprise the IB exam score are Exploring Music in Context (a portfolio combining written work, compositions, and musical performances), Experimenting with Music (a 1500-word report supplemented by related excerpts from the student’s compositions and performances), Presenting Music (a collection of program notes, composition or improvisation, and performance), and, for HL students, The Contemporary Music-Maker (a multimedia presentation documenting a real-life project).

The SL and HL music curricula require 6 mods. In addition, all IB Arts students attend the IB Arts Block, which meets for 45 minutes weekly throughout the academic year. Over the course of 11th and 12th grades, IB Music students take at least 4 mods of one of the music ensemble courses (ARP310A, ARP320A, ARP320D). At least two of these mods must be in 11th grade and at least one must be in 12th grade. (Ideally, a student would take all three mods of one of the ensemble courses in 11th grade.) In addition to the 4 mods of Vocal, String, or Wind Ensemble, students take a mod specific to 11th grade IB Music students and a mod specific to12th grade IB Music students.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 6.0-6.0

Prerequisite: 3 credits of Vocal Ensemble, String Ensemble, or Wind Ensemble or similar experience and permission of department

Open to: 11, 12

Stage Combat & Movement for the Performer

This course introduces students to the basic mechanics of physical conflict when performing and instills important safety practices. Exercise work examines the elements that make a fight scene safe, truthful, and interesting. The actor’s individual approach to interpreting fight scenes and their use of body, movement, and style is developed and evaluated. Using proper warm-up techniques and disciplined repetition, students achieve confidence and the ability to take on, direct,or choreograph a role/scene that requires stage conflict or violence. The final exam consists of enacting an original 3- to 5-minute fight scene from a recognized performance piece (such as Romeo & Juliet or West Side Story) that is devised in partnered groups.

There is minimal homework associated with this class.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: 3 credits in Acting or Dance (may be taken concurrently)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Theater Arts: Acting

This course builds the foundation for the actor’s approach and process. It is designed to welcome students into a safe environment to test and develop a reliable process. Students participate in ensemble-forming exercises that develop concentration, relax the actor, explore the meaning of truth, encourage spontaneity, foster real human behavior, and help the actor become more sensitive, imaginative, responsive, and alive on the stage. The process involved in this course allows students to discover themselves as artists and broaden their personal perspectives of social and human behaviors. Continued work aims to fully develop emotional and intellectual resources and bring more freedom to the work of the actor. In addition, students learn and establish a working vocabulary of terms used in the professional acting field. Participants are given the opportunity to stage Green Room productions.

The course is comprised of 3 mods: 1) Acting Techniques, 2) Developing Imagination and Truth, and 3) Working with a Script. The focus in the first mod– which draws on the work of acting teachers including Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen, Lee Strasberg, and Patsy Rodenburg–is on integrating practical analysis with a systematic, intuitive approach to acting. The second mod develops the student’s ability to make bold choices “in the moment,” developing a facility for abandoning intellectual control of their performances and responding to impulses. Students learn to approach improvisation as a rehearsal technique as well as a tool for character development. In the final mod of the sequence, students begin to analyze text and the actor’s role in storytelling, including connecting the specifics of text analysis to the emotional and physical portrayal of a role. Emphasis is on finding clear, compelling objectives, playing those objectives truthfully, and learning to live under the “imaginary circumstances” required in a script.

After completing the sequence in order once, students may repeat any or all of the mods in any order and will be challenged with more advanced exercises if they do so.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10

Theater Arts: Advanced Acting & Directing

In the Advanced Acting & Directing class, students expand the skills they developed in Theater Arts: Acting. With a specific focus on world theater traditions and practices, students gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of themselves and their role as theater practitioners. They deepen their critical thinking skills and broaden their personal perspectives of social and human behaviors. Learning to ask probing questions and engaging in meaningful reflection, students develop their artistic perception and creative expression. Collaboration, trust and risk-taking are key elements of success at this level of study. Participants in the Advanced program are also given the opportunity to stage Green Room productions and audition for the performance classes from which the Main Stage shows are produced throughout the year.

The emphasis of the first mod, Styles and Techniques, is on the development of characterization techniques through participation in physical and vocal acting exercises. By exploring a variety of approaches and training methods specific to world theater practices, time period and genre, the actor continues to hone their mind, voice and physicality in ways that will allow them to portray a greater variety of characters.

In the second mod, Script Analysis and Monologues, the student learns, or deepens their facility with a focused process and method of analyzing a script in order to devise a truthful and believable characterization. Students combine skills from mod 1 with the tools gained from script analysis to present two opposing monologues as their culminating project. These chosen monologues can also serve the student who is looking for material to be used in future, especially if they need performance pieces for college applications.

The final mod, Scene Study, continues the creative process for the actor by adding the element of collaboration. Working in pairs, students utilize all of their collected skills to create believable characters in published scene work. This mod is different each time a student takes it because the experience and learning vary based on the relationship the actor develops with a scene partner and the way in which the collaborative process affects artistic decisions.

A student who takes all or part of this course more than once is challenged to enhance their ability to act from a deeply personal and freely imaginative place. By tackling new and increasingly challenging material, the student continues to gain confidence in their personal process while keeping their skills sharp. It encourages the actor to extend their risk-taking and to make more interesting acting choices in their work.

The first time they take this course, students must take all three mods. In subsequent years, students may repeat any/all of these mods in any order.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none, though 3 credits of an acting course are recommended

Open to: 11, 12

Scene Study for the Director

In this course, advanced acting students shift their analytical/creative lens to that of the director. This course demands a highly interactive, collaborative commitment to the art of theater-making. Students further their script analysis work with the aim of making conceptual choices and guiding actors through the rehearsal process. Shifting from the subjective focus of the actor to the objective view of the director, students address the major elements of a director’s work: analysis, stage composition, visualization, and blocking to form an intentional message and meaning in a scene.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: Advanced Theater Arts: Acting & Directing (3 credits)

Open to: 12

IB Theater: Focus on Acting & Directing

In this two-year course of study, students work both individually and in collaboration to experience the creative process as a way of learning to transform ideas into action through intellectual curiosity and creative thinking. The curriculum is designed to engage students in the value and importance of researching, creating, preparing and presenting, and critically reflecting as means of learning and communicating. As participants in the IB Theater curriculum, students gain a richer understanding of themselves, their personal cultural perspectives, and cultural ideas and practices in the global community.

Both the SL and HL Theater curricula require 6 mods over two years. In addition, all IB Ats students attend the IB Arts Block, which meets for 45 minutes weekly throughout the academic year. In 11th grade, students take all three mods of Theater Arts: Advanced Acting & Directing (ARP410D), as well as a mod specific to 11th grade IB Theater students. (If necessary, the Scene Study mod of ARP410D may be postponed until 12th grade.) In 12th grade, students take Scene Study for the Director (ARP410D)–unless they prefer to take the Scene Study mod of ARP410D at an advanced level–and mod specific to 12th grade IB Theater students.

Students who have not taken an acting course at George School should consult with the instructor about additional preparatory work.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 6.0-6.0

Prerequisite: none, though 3 credits of an acting course are recommended

Open to: 11

Introduction to Theater Design & Production

This mod serves as an introduction to the world of technical theater, giving students the terminology, basic skills, and a beggining understanding of concepts that will become the “toolbox” for students moving on to the Stagecraft, Production, and Design mods. The mod will cover theater terminology, safe usage of the widely used tools, shop safety, basic lighting, carpentry, sound techniques and equipment, and introductory design concepts to further aid in the student understanding of the art.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Theater Design & Production

This three-mod course provides students with experience in backstage and shop safety, production techniques, and the language of technical theatre, and introduces them to principles and techniques of theatrical production design. Students come to understand the collaborative nature of the art of technical theater through active participation building and running the various dance and theater performances in Walton Auditorium.

The first mod of this course is Introduction to Theater Design & Production (ARP420A). The final two mods are dedicated to the work of building and lighting the school’s mainstage theater and dance productions. In these mods, students apply the skills learned in the first mod to become participants in bringing a story to life, as drawings become sets and light plots evolve into lights on stage!

This course may be split over multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 2.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Advanced Theater Design & Production

Students taking Advanced Theater Design & Production for the first time take at least one stagecraft mod, at least one production mod, and a design mod.

The stagecraft mods, in which sets are built and lights are hung, are common to the first-year course and the advanced one. In the production mods—which happen during the final weeks of a performance—students put the finishing touches on the build, focus the lights, and run the show. In the design mod, students learn how to create a stage concept and turn it into production designs for sets, lights, props, costumes, sound, and more, exploring how these elements work independently and in concert to tell a story.

This course may be split over multiple years and students taking the Advanced Theater Design & Production course for a second or third time may choose any combination of design, production, and stagecraft mods.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-6.0

Prerequisite: Theater Design & Production (3 credits)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

IB Theater: Focus on Design & Production

In this two-year course of study, students work both individually and in collaboration to experience the creative process as a way of learning to transform ideas into action through intellectual curiosity and creative thinking. The curriculum is designed to engage students in the value and importance of researching, creating, preparing and presenting, and critically reflecting as means of learning and communicating. As participants in the IB Theater curriculum, students gain a richer understanding of themselves, their personal cultural perspectives, and cultural ideas and practices in the global community.

Both the SL and HL Theater curricula require 6 mods over two years. In addition, all IB Arts students attend the IB Arts Block, which meets for 45 minutes weekly throughout the academic year. In 11th grade, students take both a production mod and a design mod of either Theater Design & Production (ARP420E) or Advanced Theater Design & Production (ARP420K), as well as a mod specific to 11th grade IB Theater students. The remainder of the IB curriculum is comprised of an additional production mod in either 11th or 12th grade, an additional design mod in 12th grade, and a mod specific to 12th grade IB Theater students.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 6.0-6.0

Prerequisite: Introduction to Theater Design and Production (1 credit)

Open to: 11, 12

Theater Performance

Performance is the focus of this term-long course as members of the class participate in a Main Stage production. Shows are supported by the Theater Arts: Design and Production classes and a professional costumer. The goal is for students to demonstrate a range of physical, vocal, and emotional abilities in specific character portrayal. The course meets daily after school, so participants cannot take a sport concurrently but will not be required to take PE in the term of their performance class. Members of the Theater Arts: Design & Production classes may request enrollment in this class if they wish to participate in a leadership role as a member of the production team.

In 2022-23, the Theater Performance class will be held in the fall and spring. These classes are not held during the academic day.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Open to: 9 (winter and spring performances only), 10, 11, 12

Prerequisite: Audition (those who have not taken an acting course at George School should discuss their previous experience with the instructor prior to signing up for an audition)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Musical Theater

Students explore the various backstage elements of musical theater production in this one-term course. They experience the interdependence of acting, singing, dancing, costuming, lighting, and set design. While the final public performance is a tangible result of a term’s work, the course emphasizes the process leading up to the performance. The ideals of ensemble and group support and development are modeled in all that is studied, from the audition process through the final curtain call. Auditions are held in the Fall. The course meets daily after school, so participants cannot take a sport concurrently but will not be required to take PE in the term of their performance class. Members of the Theater Arts: Design & Production classes may request enrollment in this class if they wish to participate in a leadership role as a member of the production team.

In 2022-23, the Musical Theater class will be held in the winter. This class is not held during the academic day.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: Audition

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Art History and AP Art History

The class exposes students to visual art history and provides an opportunity to delve into meaningful research. The course is organized into historical units from prehistoric times to the present. Skills taught include visual analysis, contextual analysis, comparison of artwork, artistic traditions, attribution of unknown work, “visual” art historical interpretations and challenges, and argumentation. As part of the course, students take field trips to art museums in Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, DC. Students who intend to study an IB visual art or to pursue visual arts at the post-secondary level will benefit particularly from this course, though anyone with an interest in art, history, and research is welcome!

Students taking Art History (ARV160A) and AP Art History (ARV168A) meet at the same time, in the same classroom. Assignments and expectations are differentiated depending on a student’s registration.

A summer assignment is required of those who opt for the AP version of the course, and any student who, as of November, is registered for the AP version of the course is required to sit for the AP exam.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: B+ in an English class

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Ceramics

Developing a practical understanding of clay objects while taking an aesthetic approach to ceramics is the primary goal of this course. Students develop skills in centering clay, throwing on the potter’s wheel, trimming, and glazing. Other skills introduced are hand-building with slabs and coils, pinching clay pots, creating small-scale sculpture, and decorating with brushes and glaze pens. Each student’s work is exhibited with a critique at the end of each term. Students are expected to complete between four and ten pieces each term. In addition, they are expected to support classmates, to honor the work of all students in the class, and to contribute to classroom cleanup and maintenance.

IB diploma candidates who would like to take ceramics as their primary IB visual art, but do not have previous experience in ceramics, should enroll in Intermediate Ceramics (ARV210D) rather than this class. During the first term, they will follow a different curriculum than those who have previous experience on the wheel.

Students must progress though the mods in sequential order if they take more than one mod, though the progression may span multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Intermediate Ceramics

Students work to expand their knowledge of clay as an art medium and to improve the skills learned in Ceramics (ARV210A). Projects are more complex and require more time. Assignments might include covered pots, teapots, cups and saucers, plates, dinnerware sets and slab-built boxes. There is a great deal of flexibility within the assignments, and some might include a written or presentation component. Craftsmanship, creativity, and an appreciation for the elements that are inherent in well-made functional pottery are emphasized in this class.

IB diploma candidates who would like to take ceramics as their primary IB visual art, but do not have previous experience in ceramics, should enroll in this class rather than ARV210A. During the first term, they will be following a different curriculum than those who have previous experience on the wheel.

Students taking more than 1 credit must progress though the mods in sequential order, though the progression may span multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Ceramics (3 credits, taken at George School)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Advanced Ceramics

This course is designed to help students build on and perfect skills learned in previous courses, with an increased focus on artisanship, creativity, and design. Students employ a variety of slips, underglazes, and glazes, and increasingly sophisticated application techniques in creating both functional and sculptural works. In addition, students explore some ceramic art history and experiment with different firing techniques.

Students taking more than 1 credit must progress through the mods in sequential order, though the progression may span multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Intermediate Ceramics (3 credits)

Open to: 11, 12

Senior Projects in Ceramics

In this course, students with extensive experience in the George School ceramics program work to develop a coherent body of independent work with periodic critiques to discuss progress, content, and process. In addition, they experiment with advanced techniques such as making small editions utilizing slip-casting in plaster molds and utilizing a 3D printer to print with clay slip. This course may be taken as an IB Visual Art. Please see the IB Visual Arts description.

Students taking more than 1 credit must progress though the mods in sequential order, though the progression may span multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Advanced Ceramics (3 credits)

Open to: 12

Materials and Methods of Sculpture

Sculpture students are introduced to materials and methods of working with three-dimensional forms, exploring the elements, principles, and aesthetic concepts integral to three-dimensional design, and to consider relationships between concept, process, materials, tools, and technical skills. This course gives a historical overview of sculpture and covers various aspects of 3-dimensional works, such as the production of simple and complex forms, subtractive work, contextual considerations, and found objects. Students are introduced to hand and power tools along with safe shop practices. Mediums and methods include plaster, clay, stone, metal, wood, casting techniques, wire forms, and welding. Regular assessment promotes a solid theoretical and practical/technical understanding of the process of making sculptural forms.

Students taking more than 1 credit must progress through the mods in sequential order, though the progression may span multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Ceramics (3 credits), Woodworking (3 credits), or enrollment in an IB Visual Arts course

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Advanced Sculpture

Advanced sculpture further develops skills in spatial relationships, utilizing different materials, and safe shop practices that were introduced in Materials and Methods of Sculpture (ARV230A). The application of these ideas is emphasized through collaborative work, site-specific installations, the understanding of the language of sculpture and documentation of process. A further exploration of three-dimensional form-making enables the student to develop artistic expression and a greater understanding of contemporary sculpture. Emphasis may include permanent/nonpermanent materials: clay, plaster, metal, wax, fabric, wood, stone, or found objects. Both additive and subtractive methods are employed. The first two mods specifically address the technical aspects of the discipline and the development of a conceptual language. This understanding provides the groundwork for independent projects in the third mod.

Students must progress though the mods in sequential order if they take more than one mod, though the progression may span multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Materials and Methods of Sculpture (2 credits)

Open to: 11, 12

Painting and Drawing

In this course, students build a foundation in basic painting and drawing. Various concepts, materials, and techniques involving painting and drawing are assigned and explored. Drawing is used as both a means of preparation and as an independent mode of expression. Students are also introduced to the fundamentals of painting. Through assignments, students form an understanding of the relationships between color, form, shape, texture, value, and composition. Effort and conscientious completion of all requirements are considered for the assessment of assignments.

Students taking more than 1 credit must progress though the mods in sequential order, though the progression may span multiple years. The third mod is optional.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Advanced Painting and Drawing

The focus of this course is directed towards creating a unique body of work in painting and drawing. In class, students work on strengthening their painting and drawing skills while developing a unique and personal vision. Students are encouraged to explore and develop their personal interests and ideas. Throughout the course, students are introduced to a variety of sources and materials to facilitate their exploration of different media, methods, processes, and possibilities to create art. The instructor provides brief lectures and conduct demonstrations as needed. In addition, the instructor offers individual guidance through one-on-one discussion with each student as projects are developed. Students are required to maintain a sketchbook and work outside of class.

The third mod of this course is optional.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 2.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Painting and Drawing (2 credits)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Advanced Studio: Painting & Drawing

The focus of this course is developing and completing a comprehensive body of work consisting of paintings and drawings that address a centralized theme with a written artist statement. Throughout the course, students advance and evolve their aesthetic, concept, personal ideas, and technical skills. Students are responsible for developing their portfolios by creating works that reflect their own individual voices. The instructor gives brief lectures and conducts demonstrations as needed. In addition, the instructor offers individual guidance through one-on-one discussion with each student as projects are developed. The development of the student’s body of work culminates in an independent exhibition at George School. An ability to work independently on art projects is essential in this class. Students are required to maintain a sketchbook and to work outside of class. Prior experience with a wide range of art materials is expected to showcase a quality portfolio.

This course may be taken more than once. In any year in which they take this course, students must register for at least 2 credits. Those who want more terms to develop a comprehensive body of work are welcome to register for more.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 2.0-7.0

Prerequisite: Advanced Painting and Drawing (2 credits)

Open to: 11, 12

AP Art & Design: Drawing

The AP Studio Art Exam consists of a comprehensive portfolio that addresses two components: Sustained Investigation, and Selected Works. In the Sustained Investigation section, students will develop an inquiry to guide their creative process. In this section, students will submit fifteen digital images that demonstrate their investigation and works of art guided by their inquiry. In Selected works, five actual works of art that demonstrate the highest quality will be submitted by mail to the college board. An ability to work independently on art projects is essential in this class. Students are required to maintain documentation of their work outside of class. Prior experience with a wide range of art materials is expected to showcase a quality portfolio. AP students are required to take an AP mod in the fourth or fifth term.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Departmental approval

Open to: 12

Photography

Basic analog photography concepts, processes, and techniques lead students toward mastery of 35mm camera operation, exposure, and darkroom procedures. In addition to technical skills, students explore the aesthetics of photography through critiques, presentations, and written assignments. Student work is entered in regional and international photography contests and exhibited throughout the year in the George School galleries. Assessment is based on the quality of work, effort, and timeliness. Students are provided with a 35mm manual camera for this course, and projects are shot outside of class time. Film and chemicals are provided; all other materials are provided for a $100 fee. If additional materials are needed, they may be purchased in the school store.

Students must progress through the mods in sequential order if they take more than one mod, though the progression may span multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Advanced Photography

Technical skills acquired in Photography (ARV410A) are further refined in this course. Experimental techniques, ranging from historic and antique processes to digital imaging, are introduced (and, for those taking Advanced Photography 2 or 3), explored in more depth. Students experiment with studio lighting, digital imaging, non-silver processes, hand-coloring, toning, and mixed-media. Participation in class critiques, during which images created by students are analyzed for aesthetic, conceptual, and theoretical concerns, is required. The third mod, which is optional, is focused on portfolio development as students work to develop their individual voices through the photographic medium. Student work is entered in regional and international photography contests and exhibited throughout the year in the George School galleries. Since the curriculum changes every year, students are encouraged to take this course more than once. Materials for this course may be purchased in the school store.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 2.0-3.0

Prerequisite (for Advanced Photo 1): Photography (3 credits, B)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

AP Art & Design: Photography

In this course, students prepare for the AP Art & Design exam while participating in the Advanced Photography 2 (ARP410E) or Advanced Photography 3 (ARP410F) class.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Advanced Photography 1 (3 credits, A)

Open to: 12

Digital Imaging & Design

The art of digital imaging through the use of Adobe Photoshop is explored in this course. Students create images with 35mm Digital SLR cameras that they may borrow from the school. In the first mod, each student designs and publishes a hard-cover book based on their summer project. In the second mod, students learn to edit and manipulate their images in Adobe Photoshop by participating in hands-on demonstrations and completing technical exercises. In the third mod, which is optional, students develop a cohesive portfolio. Participation in class critiques–during which, images created by students are analyzed for aesthetic, conceptual, and theoretical concerns–is required. Paper and ink are provided for a fee of $75 per mod. Student work is entered in regional and international photography contests and exhibited throughout the year in the George School galleries.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 2.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Photography (3 credits, B)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Advanced Digital Imaging & Design

The Advanced Digital Imaging and Design courses provide students with the opportunity to refine and extend the Photoshop skills introduced in Digital Imaging and Design (ARV420A). As in that course, the first mod is devoted to producing a book based on the summer project, the second mod is dedicated to increasing the student’s expertise with Photoshop, and the third mod is focused on portfolio development.

Students must progress through the mods in sequential order if they take more than one mod, though the progression may span multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite (for Advanced Digital Imaging 1): Digital Imaging and Design (3 credits, B)

Open to: 11, 12

AP Art & Design: Digital Imaging

In this course, students prepare for the AP Art & Design exam while participating in the Advanced Digital Imaging & Design 1 (ARP420D) or Advanced Digital Imaging & Design 2 (ARP420E) class.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Digital Imaging & Design (3 credits, A)

Open to: 12

Graphic Design

In this course, students explore graphic design as a form of visual communication connecting type, image, form, and color. Projects encourage students to consider the interplay among these elements and help students to develop the fundamental skills needed to work within the powerhouse of Adobe Suite. Student work is entered in regional contests and exhibited throughout the year in the George School galleries. Past projects have included: designing a magazine layout, T-shirt design, designing an album cover, cubist-style self-portrait, film poster, and social-awareness poster.

Students must progress through the mods in sequential order if they take more than one mod, though the progression may span multiple years.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Advanced Graphic Design

In the Advanced Graphic Design courses, students continue to expand and refine the skill set they began to develop in Graphic Design (ARV510A) and they work more independently on project planning, problem-solving, and evaluating and revising their work. In addition, students explore the visual aesthetics of graphic design through critiques, presentations, and written assignments. There is a focus on portfolio development as students work to develop their individual voices through the medium of graphic design. Student work is entered in regional contests and exhibited throughout the year in the George School galleries. The goals and tasks of this course change for students individually,

The mods may be taken in any order and the course may span multiple years. Students may take this course multiple times.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite (for Advanced Graphic Design 1): Graphic Design (3 credits, B-)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

AP Art & Design: Graphic Design

In this course, students prepare for the AP Art & Design exam while participating in the Advanced Graphic Design 2 (ARV510E) or Advanced Graphic Design 3 (ARV510F) class.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Advanced Graphic Design 1 (3 credits, A)

Open to: 12

Woodworking & Design

In this course, students learn how to work with and maintain a variety of traditional hand woodworking tools. Each student designs and builds a small box using traditional joinery techniques. Students also learn to use power tools safely and to design and build an original piece of furniture. The class includes trips to museums, local studios, and the Philadelphia Furniture Show. Students have opportunities to exhibit their work in area shows. We will also work with a local sawmill operator with a portable sawmill to continue the long tradition of milling, stacking, and drying wood from fallen campus trees for use in the program.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Advanced Woodworking & Design

Students in this course will apply the skills they learned in the previous year and continue to pursue the craft of designing and building original furniture. Drawings, scale model making, and in some cases the use of sketch up and other online drawing programs are used to help pull the design into a working form. Students then source the appropriate materials for the piece and the building process will begin. By the end of the course, students have finished their piece of furniture. Students who complete their projects early are encouraged to continue to explore the rich options of working with wood by taking on smaller projects that use techniques such as bowl and spindle turning, texture and color use, carving, and upcycling to name a few. Students may take this course multiple times.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite (for Advanced Woodworking & Design): Woodworking & Design (3 credits)

Open to: 11, 12

Functional Art & Design

“Occupying that tenuous space between fine art and the everyday, functional art refers?to aesthetic objects that serve utilitarian purposes. The genre is remarkably inclusive: it encompasses everything from furniture and lighting to dishes and even books.” – Alex Allenchey

This course is about creative problem-solving in three dimensions as students consider the design and construction challenges and opportunities that arise when combining fine art and function. Students design, sculpt, cast, carve, and fabricate one-of-a-kind objects in wood, metal, and mixed media, and, while working in the wood and sculpture studios, use emerging technologies to express original ideas. Students are introduced to techniques such as welding, subtractive carving, molding, casting, steam bending, and laser cutting. In designing and building their own projects, students focus on the use of recycled and/or sustainable materials.

(This course will not be offered in 2022-23.)

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

 

Prerequisite: Ceramics (1 credit) or Woodworking & Design (1 credit)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

IB Visual Arts

IB Visual Arts is a two-year course of study during which students work in multiple media while selecting one of the following as their primary visual art: Ceramics, Graphic Design, Painting and Drawing, Photography, or Sculpture. Students develop analytical skills in problem-solving and divergent thinking while working towards technical proficiency and confidence as artists, and while learning to challenge their own creative and cultural expectations and boundaries. In addition to exploring and comparing visual arts from different perspectives and in different contexts, students are expected to engage in, experiment with, and critically reflect upon a wide range of contemporary practices and media.

The instructor of the student’s primary art supervises the student’s IB work, the major components of which are the Comparative Study, the Process Portfolio, and the Exhibition. In the Comparative Study, students discover, explore, and compare artwork to enrich their knowledge of art. In the Process Portfolio, students explore and research an artistic theme of their choice while documenting their creative processes. The Exhibition component, completed by March of senior year, is a display of the student’s work.

The HL sequence requires 6 mods over two years, while the SL sequence requires 5 mods over two years. In either sequence, students take two IB-specific mods (one in 11th grade and one in 12th grade) in which they work at the intersection of their primary art and other visual arts disciplines. All IB Visual Arts students, HL or SL, also take at least two mods of their primary art in 11th grade and at least one mod of their primary art in 12th grade, For 12th grade HL students, the second discipline-specific mod can be in their primary art or in any of the IB visual arts disciplines: Ceramics, Graphic Design, Painting and Drawing, Photography, or Sculpture.

In addition, all IB visual arts students attend the IB Arts Block, which meets for 45 minutes weekly throughout the academic year, and attend five IB field trips scheduled on Sundays throughout the year.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 5.0-5.0

Prerequisite: 2 credits in visual arts taken at George School or permission of department

Open to: 11, 12

South Africa: Art, Ecology & Social Justice

This course is cross-listed as MUL990S (Extradisciplinary) and SCI990S (Science). See the course description for MUL990S (Extradisciplinary) in the Extradisciplinary section of the catalog.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 11, 12

Our Arts Faculty

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Acting is truth-seeking for Mo, and George School is the right place for the search.

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Photographer Danielle inspires her students by challenging them to see their skills through different lenses.

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For Amedeo, his students' most important creations go beyond ceramics to the big picture.

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Thinking Extremely Far Outside the Box

My Ceramics teacher taught me how to think extremely far out of the box and taught me to be nothing but myself, not just in Ceramics classes, but also in life. She always believed in me and my abilities and most importantly would take the time to teach me new techniques.

Theater at George School

One aspect of George School I love is the student theater performances that occur three times a year. Typically, the theater department puts on a play in the fall, a musical in the winter, and another play in the spring. One of our recent seasons focused on the theme of empowering women.

Woodworking: Learning to Solve Problems

Woodworking has helped me have an outlet that I am able to turn to when I am feeling stressed. I would have never known that this really is something that I enjoy until I took the class and figured out that I want to have this art be a part of me for the rest of my life.