Middle School

Visual Art

In the Middle School the studio is a safe and nurturing creative zone. Throughout the four year program, students work with enthusiasm and eagerness to face challenges. Our goal is to encourage and support students in the creative process throughout the changes of the Middle School years.  

The program presents challenges. Students work. Questions and solutions are taken seriously. A variety of techniques, materials, and teaching approaches offer opportunities for girls to master many skills. The girls are designers, sculptors, painters, researchers, architects, and engineers throughout a course of study that melds thinking, making, reflection, and writing.  

A robust visiting artist program, annual art-focused field trips, and partnerships with local arts institutions bring the vibrant local art community into the classroom and into the projects the students undertake. A biennial Fine Arts Festival, the Five/Seven Tea Party and an annual Eighth Grade Exhibition give students the chance to present their work and ideas to their peers and the community. Through choices in the elective program, students can explore such topics in the visual arts as video and photo-bookmaking. The eighth grade program offers students a chance to work in an array of disciplines including tempera painting, ceramics, art history, and photography to sample the wide variety of choices and artist educators they will be offered in the Upper School. Seventh and eighth grade students show their work in the prestigious Scholastics Art and Writing Awards competition.

Visual Arts Curriculum

List of 6 items.

  • Grade 5 Visual Arts

    Required Course

    This course places an emphasis on developing visual thinking and technical skills. The process of placing value on one’s one own work and the work of artists and various styles stresses further understanding of individual aesthetic, technical, and conceptual choices. Interdisciplinary projects link art curricula to ancient cultures, intersecting art with science and technology.
  • Grade 6 Visual Arts

    Required Course

    This course explores two and three dimensional materials and concepts while promoting design thinking and problem solving skills. Interdisciplinary projects link to history, computer science, and environmental science. Printmaking, painting. and art history are emphasized in the studio.  Project planning, goal setting, and critical analysis of work in individual and group settings deepen understanding of the creative process as related to everyday life.
  • Grade 7 Visual Arts

    Required Course

    This course reinforces art fundamentals, building upon conceptual, aesthetic, and technical knowledge. Studio work incorporates a sophisticated range of media and design coupled with investigations that connect art to daily life. Students are expected to be responsible for their choices in content and media and to be active participants in both individual and group critiques.  Interdisciplinary, real-world applications of art are explored in various career paths that include architecture, interior design, product design, digital media, and painting.
  • Grade 8 Visual Arts

    Required Course 

    This course provides a structured, yet varied program that allows for creative exertion and versatility, while preparing students for a more comprehensive analysis of the art processes and concepts covered in each area.  Challenging students’ sensibilities regarding choices of subject matter, techniques, and resolution of work is central to each unit. Trimester-long explorations may include photography, film, clay and painting.
  • Introduction to Podcasting

    Elective Course | Grades 7-8

    This course introduces students to the art of podcasting. During this project-based course, students follow the design thinking process to plan and create meaningful podcasts for the Ellis community. Students learn components of podcast production including: presentation techniques, story development, interview methods, script writing, on-location and in-studio recording, and audio and video editing. By the end of the course, students have a working knowledge of the elements that make a successful podcast production.
  • Maker Shop

    Elective Course | Grades 7-8

    Why did you choose that backpack?  Why do you like that font? In this course, students explore the characteristics of design that are powerful in their everyday life. The course starts with an immersion in the design process and lessons in prototyping that will help students refine ideas. Students explore elements of design by utilizing the Foundry and TechShop. Trips to TechShop give students the chance to explore new tools and talk with local design professionals. The course ends with a collaborative project that responds to a design need found at Ellis.