HS Art

High School Visual Arts


Art in the High School is taught in media specific, semester long courses. Below is a sampling of the courses offered at TAISM.


Painting begins with an extensive exploration of color theory through exercises that allow students to mix, manipulate and experiment with the value, shade, tint, tone and intensity of pigments. Students will also learn different application techniques for a variety of paint media (tempera, acrylic, and watercolor), as well as some basic observational drawing and perspective skills. As with all studio courses, the Elements and Principles of Art and Design provide the foundation for each assignment.


Printmaking is a studio-oriented class that allows students to explore a variety of printmaking techniques that include: paper-cuts, stencils, rubber stamps, Gyotaku (printing with natural objects), block printing, collagraphs, monotypes, and dry-point etching. This course begins with a rudimentary exploration of contour drawing, quick sketching and observational life drawing. Within each project, students will learn to manipulate tonal values and textures within their works. As students gain confidence in printmaking and are able to achieve effective compositions and make mature conceptual decisions, they will earn opportunities to attempt self-generated projects.

Visual Journals 

Visual Journals is a mixed-media, studio-oriented class that challenges students to develop visual and written solutions/responses to a variety of topics and prompts. Prompts often integrate instruction, dialogue and demonstration of a particular medium, or combinations of media, i.e. brush and ink, water color, collage, etc. Students will have many opportunities to reflect on the experiences, people, traditions, societal and cultural influences that have shaped their lives.

Digital Art

This 2D art course is an introduction to digital art, a term used for a range of artistic works and practices that use digital technology as an essential part of the creative and/or presentation process. Students will explore computer illustration, image manipulation, digital camera use, graphic design, and the principles and elements of art to create a body of work.  Students will learn to use hand-generated images, digital cameras, scanners, printers, and computers/software to produce images that show both technical and conceptual skills. Course content will include projects, presentations, critiques and lectures based on both classical methods and constructed methods of image creation. Students will explore and create digital images, digital prints, digital alchemy, and commercial design. As with most art classes, students will continue to hone their skills technically, conceptually and verbally. Discussions, slideshows, critiques and research will broaden students’ knowledge about the medium of digital art.


This 3D art course introduces students to methods used to create forms with clay. Hand-building and throwing on the potter’s wheel are explored to create a series of pieces. Mastery of skills introduced, pride in craftsmanship, and exploration of personal vision are integral to the class curriculum. Although traditional methods of construction and surface decoration are explored as part of the medium’s potential, students are encouraged to imagine other possibilities as well as create unique works. Exploration into the unique physical characteristics of clay and how it contributes to the content of the work being formed will be the focus of the course. Contemporary pottery and potters, as well as artists that inspire form, are considered in project assignments. The culmination of pieces created will evolve from the student choices throughout the process: concept, construction, technique, surface decoration, glazing, and firing.

Advanced Art

Advanced Art students have met the instructor’s prerequisite for this class based on past work in other art classes taken at TAISM or by submitting a portfolio. Students are given a variety of assigned projects in all media, but are also expected to generate their own work through a personal exploration of a specific medium or subject. Students are expected to maintain a collection of sketches, photographs, notes and images to be developed into future works. Advanced Art students are expected to generate their own ideas and subject material for art works. Students who exhibit initiative in this process will have more freedom. Students who do not take initiative will be assigned projects by the instructor. Advanced Art students must be able to receive a forthright critique of their work and are willing to make changes in their work to improve the quality of their technique or conceptual intent.

Advanced Placement (AP) Studio Art

During the first week, the course is outlined and the specific requirements for each portfolio (quality, concentration and breadth) are discussed in detail. Exemplars from past AP student portfolios are viewed with special emphasis on which art works are used in each section of the portfolio as well as the difference between a Drawing, 2-D Design and 3-D portfolio. Through teacher-directed instruction and student-generated projects, emphasis will be placed on the production of a volume (between 25-30 works) of quality art work. Students will develop a functional understanding of the elements and principles of design, composition and conceptual development in order to generate their own personal vision. Ultimately, students should understand that art making is an ongoing process that takes place both within and outside the studio, and that a great deal of research, experimentation and independent resolve are crucial to successfully completing an AP portfolio.

Please visit our online High School Art Gallery.

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