The Visual Arts
From learning the basic fundamentals of art and exploring the principles of design, to experimenting with various materials, to learning that the history of art is a record of different civilizations and cultures, Detroit Country Day School's fine arts program develops students' abilities often with award-winning results.
Opportunities for artistic expression are unusually rich and varied at Detroit Country Day School. Children have classes in art, in which they experiment, learn technical skills and broaden their aesthetic awareness. The fine arts program exposes students to visual art, photography and technology-based visual arts.
From an early age, students learn the vocabulary and concepts associated with the visual arts. They learn how to use various tools, processes and media. Beginning in the early grades, students develop skills of observation and grow in their ability to describe, interpret, evaluate and respond to the highly visual world ahead of them.
Because creating a work of art is a personal experience at any age, the Lower School is focused on engaging the whole child and allowing the student to feel invested in a way that is deep.
Through the Lower School Fine Arts Program, students learn to be perceptive, flexible and creative while also learning the vocabulary and concepts associated with different types of work in the visual arts. They are consistently exposed to various tools, processes and media so that as they move from Pre-Kindergarten through the early grades, they develop skills of observation and experience growth in their ability to describe, interpret, evaluate and respond to art in the visual world around them. At the Lower School, students explore two-dimensional as well as three-dimensional media, including printing, marker, crayon, watercolor, tempera paint, mixed media, cutting and gluing, clay, weaving and oil pastels. Drawing is also used to help enhance fine motor skills. Students are given the opportunity to participate in hands-on-activities that focus on the elements and principles of art, establish an encounter with people of other lands, become aware of the relationship between art and other academic disciplines, be exposed to artists appropriate to their level.
Throughout the school year, students’ artwork is showcased at local libraries, and every spring, all students participate in Celebrate the Arts, the school-wide visual and performing arts event hosted at the Upper School for all grade levels.
We believe that children are born artists. At the Junior School, we focus on developing their artistic skills and exposing them to a variety of art media. Through the use of technology and the Smart Board, each student is provided with an enriching art experience with a balanced three-part curriculum that includes: Fine Art Studio where students participate in hands-on art activities while exploring a variety of art methods and materials; Academic Art where students learn art vocabulary, elements and principles of design, and explore art history through research; Interdisciplinary Unit Teaching which students are assigned cross-curricular projects that blend the Visual Arts with French, History, Science, and Social Studies.
While skill, achievement and historic appreciation are stressed, emphasis on the fun and enjoyment of learning is an important element of the Middle School Fine Arts education. All classes address the National Standards for the Visual Arts as established by the National Art Education Association and the Michigan Art Education Association.
The Middle School art classrooms foster an instructional climate where students can express artistic talent, develop creative thinking and find multiple solutions to art problems. By presenting a sequential program with a gradually expanding knowledge base and skill development, classes are enriched with the “Exploring Art” textbook, art reproductions, PowerPoint presentations, “Scholastic Art” magazine, slides and various locally and nationally known visiting artists. Each year of study includes four major components: aesthetic perception, creative expression and production, art history and critical analysis.
Students are encouraged to ask questions and form connections about art and how it relates to cultures, research, communication and the development of ideas while taking part in discovery processes and learning creative problem-solving. The students gain the ability to produce, read and interpret visual symbols, and learn to evaluate their own productions as well. Each year, students exhibit their art in a number of local art shows, donate works to the local Children’s Hospital and participate in the mural painting club as eighth graders.
Within the Upper School fine arts program, we encourage students to develop their own individual voice and style as part of a dynamic conversation that engages global currents of thought and practice. By introducing our students to a formal artistic process of learning through the Art and Design foundation class, our goal is to help them “see beyond seeing” and expand their visual awareness to three-dimensions.
Our professionally trained art faculty challenges students to the limits of their imagination, while our facilities provide cutting-edge technology that enables them to realize their ideas. Our amazing environment allows students to explore painting, drawing, jewelry, ceramics, sculpture, photography, printmaking, computer graphics, fibers and textiles at anytime during the school year upon completion of the foundation class. All artwork created by our students is matted and displayed on a rotating basis in our two art galleries and, at the end of the year, we hold a student exhibit where works from all art participants are showcased. Seniors have their own separate show where they have the opportunity to sell their work if they wish.
Throughout the year, students’ work is entered in a variety of competitions, including Birmingham Our Town, Regional Scholastic Art Awards, Michigan Silversmith’s Contest, Birmingham Jewelers competition and Birmingham Bloomfield Art Association High School competition. We take an annual field trip to one of various local art institutions, including Toledo Art Museum, the DIA or Grand Rapids Art Museum for Art Prize. And, Students also attend the annual Scholastic Art Awards exhibition at College for Creative Studies.
We are focused on offering students the time, place and opportunity to do something they love, and providing an experience that will truly change their lives. Each year, our students are heavily sought after and recruited to some of the finest art programs at the best colleges and universities around the world.