Visual and Performing Arts Department

ACS is firmly committed to arts education as an integral part of its curriculum. We want to provide our students opportunities to take creative journeys through each these artistic areas. We believe this explorative experience will nurture in our students the skills necessary to develop into creative leaders, able to meet the challenges of the future. The arts, recognized as the highest expression of culture, inform us of each historical period through its literature, paintings, sculptures, architecture, music, dance, and drama. Today it is recognized that to be truly educated, one must not only learn to appreciate the arts, but must have rich opportunities to actively participate in creative work. The universal language of the arts cuts through individual differences in culture, educational background, and ability. Arts education is an important means of stimulating creativity in problem solving. It can challenge students' perceptions about their world and about themselves. The arts can bring every subject to life and turn abstractions into concrete reality. Learning through the arts often results in greater academic achievement and higher test scores.

Students who have participated in visual & performing arts activities are less likely to have difficulty speaking in public and are more persuasive in their communications, both written and oral. Many arts activities require self-control and discipline, these skills serve the students well in all aspects of life, helping them to develop confidence and a positive self-image. Students learn to work together, to find the best way for each member of a group to contribute, and to listen to and respect the contributions of others. Participation in arts education is an important tool for preparing students to live and work in a world that is increasingly team-oriented rather than hierarchical.

In this way Arts Education accomplishes several goals at once; enriching students' school experience while reinforcing traditional academic. ACS offers a wide range of Visual and Performing Arts courses and co-curricular activities.

Visual and Performing Arts Courses

Foundations of Art

Students explore 2D and 3D Art. They create projects involving drawing, painting, mixed media, printing, plaster casting and ceramics. Students experience working with a variety of different media. Their projects have an individual historical research component.

2D Art

Students will work with a variety of media including assorted papers and cardboards, assorted drawing and painting media, textiles and textile paints, threads, found objects, mixed media and clay. Skills and topics covered include: investigating the proportions of the human form and face through drawing and brushwork; producing a self-portrait on canvas based on a famous portrait; working with atmospheric perspective and one and two point perspective; learning watercolor techniques and skills; and ceramics and large canvas work. The class includes a major Research Assignment on the Renaissance and each project includes a historical/cultural research component. Students can take either 2D or 3D Art. They cannot take both.

3D Art

Students will work with a variety of media including wire and wire mesh, plaster, assorted papers and cardboards, foam and foam board, mixed media, found objects, metal sheeting and clay. Students will create an additive and a subtractive sculpture as well as explore mobiles, relief sculpture, casting and assemblages. The class includes a major Research Assignment on the Renaissance and each project includes a historical/cultural research component.

IB Visual Arts I/II

This course is a very challenging and rewarding experience for those who can match the course demands with the effort and time required for success. The course requires a strong interest in the visual arts, a good base of artistic skills built in grades 9 and 10, an interest in research and art history, and good time management skills. Students work in a variety of artistic media, choosing their own themes and projects. This course is based on independent work and is taught through teacher driven classroom assignments. Studio work and investigation are the primary components of this course. A Year 1 student will be required to produce 7 (SL) – 10 (HL) pieces as well as complete one research workbook in order to be on track to meet the total requirements for the two-year program as described below:

Studio work (60% of total IB grade) HL: minimum 144 hrs and 15-18 pieces produced. SL: minimum 90 hrs and 12 pieces produced. Investigation (40% of total IB grade; the research, idea development, experiments, reflective writing and relevant preparation needed to improve a student’s artwork). HL: approx. 96 hours and 300 pages. SL: approx. 60 hours and 150 pages.


Symphonic Band

This class is open to flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, percussion, guitar and tuba players. Students will continue to develop instrumental skills through scales, sight-reading and performing pieces of music as well as building the skills of improvisation and composition. There will be two major performances each year as well as other informal opportunities to perform. Students should have at least two years of experience on their instrument or permission from the music teacher.


Digital Photography I

This is an introductory digital photography class in which students will learn fundamental photography skills and concepts. This course is structured around a series of assignments that gradually build students working knowledge of the technical capabilities and shooting functions of digital SLR camera. Student use Nikon cameras supplied by the school but take full responsibility for camera while they are using it. The course will cover an introduction to the elements and principles of design, rules of composition, technical terminology and basic photo editing skills on Adobe Photoshop. There is also a research component based on the history and styles of photography.

Digital Photography II (Prerequisite: Digital Photography I)

Digital II allows students to further developing their technical, photographic and artistic skills. The course extends the Adobe Photoshop photo editing skills students learned in Digital I. A working familiarity with technical terminology, and the elements and principles of design is expected. Students will have the opportunity to work more in-depth with lenses, such as wide angle and fish eye, shoot in RAW, using HDR, and further explore the internal applications available within SLR cameras. In addition students will be expected to work independently, building on previously acquired skills. Projects will include research based components. There will be emphasis on further developing a creative eye, individual experimentation, theme work and a focus on solidifying technical skills. While some photographing opportunities will be available during class time, the expectation is that students taking this class will be to shooting several assignments on their own outside of school time.


Drama I

Students will explore the theater process, theater in performance and theater in the world. Improvisation, creative dramatics, and scene work are used to introduce students to acting and character development. Drama I provides opportunities for students to develop skills in critical listening and thinking, as well as stage presence and ensemble work culminating in periodic classroom and/or public performances.

Drama II

This course is designed for students who have completed Drama I and promotes opportunities to build on existing skills. Classwork focuses on characterization, devising theater and playwrights. Improvisation, creative dramatics and scene work are used to help students challenge and strengthen their acting skills. Drama II provides opportunities for students to strengthen skills in critical listening and thinking, as well as stage presence and ensemble work culminating in periodic classroom and/or public performances.

IB Theater Arts I/II & Advanced Theater

Both Advanced Theater and IB Theater require no previous experience in drama or theater. The two courses run simultaneously, with IB students completing additional work as is required by IB. The course is designed to encourage students to examine theater in its diversity of forms around the world. At the core of the course lies a concern with clarity of understanding, critical thinking, reflective analysis, effective involvement and imaginative synthesis—all of which can be achieved through the action of theater (acting, directing, designing, and creating).

Theater is about transformation. It is the application, through play, of energy and imagination to frame, reflect, expose, critique and speculate. By studying theater, and engaging with it practically, students will discover how elusive, fascinating and varied theater can be through the exploration of its theory, history and culture, and will find expression through work shopping, devised work or scripted performance. The course emphasizes the importance of working individually and as a member of an ensemble through development of the organizational and technical skills needed to express one’s self creatively in theater and support one another. A further challenge for students following this course is to become aware of their own perspectives and biases and to learn to respect those of others.

Other Electives

Graphic Design

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the skills and work of graphic design. Students will explore Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign through themed projects. By the end of the course, students will have built a large portfolio of work based on these three programs.


This course focuses on the creation and production of the school’s yearbook. Students gather all materials needed for the project, learn design and layout concepts, practically apply their learning through use of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, and gain hands on experience with the process of printing a large scale project.

powered by finalsite