Introducing AP Art History with a George School Twist

George School has always embraced the arts as a key academic department in our curriculum. The arts as a discipline helps students understand the world through multiple perspectives, teaches original thinking through the creative process, develops essential character traits in our students, like the ability to collaborate effectively, work through failure, and appreciate the value of feedback and revision.

Next year, George School will offer another academic option for students wishing to use their interest in arts to deepen their academic portfolio—AP Art History. The new course will help develop students’ analytical and critical thinking skills. The course will give students the opportunity to study the history of art across the globe from prehistoric times to the present. Students will analyze works of art through observation, writing, discussion, reading, and research.

But for those worried an AP course in art will just be rote memorization driven by acquiring content, that is not the case at all. Students will be regularly engaged in interactive hands-on projects. For example, when studying Brancusi who was a pioneer of Modernism, students will use clay to make sculptures to learn by doing, or they might make color copies of photographs that are transferred onto paper and cloth using Robert Rauschenberg and Pop Art as an influence for their work.

In addition to providing one more possibility through which our students can explore their own creativity, this new course will help those wishing to get a jump start on the IB diploma program path. This unique curriculum will help students draw connections between artistic traditions, styles, and practices in a work of art, something that is critical to the success of the IB Visual Arts Exam. And for those not pursuing the IB diploma program, this course offers an interdisciplinary opportunity to delve into creativity and analysis as modes to better understand human life and art around the world and throughout history.

With a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and an MFA from Tyler School of Art, Danielle is a professional photographer in addition to a teacher. She loves taking students on trips to museums and galleries to inspire them to make seeing art in person—rather than on a screen—a lifelong passion.

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