Fine Arts Department

The study of Fine Arts and Humanities helps to foster creativity in our students, and integrates and enriches other disciplines of our classical curriculum including social studies, languages and religion.

Department Overview

The Fine Arts Department offers courses in all grades, leading up to the possibility of advanced study in all performing and creative disciplines.

This specialized curriculum, which offers strengths and options like no other in the school, strikes a balance between the academic study of the Fine Arts throughout history and opportunities to learn hands-on directly through the creative process. The benefits are both idealistic and practical, in that we hope students will develop a life-long appreciation of the arts for their own personal enrichment and that they will also have a greater chance for professional advancement because they will think creatively.


Curriculum Sequence

Form A Instrumental Music or Chorus; Art
Form I
Instrumental Music or Chorus; Art; Drama
Form II
Instrumental Music or Chorus
Form III
Art; Public Speaking; Introduction to the Humanities
Form IV
Humanities
Forms V & VI
Electives: AP Art History; AP Music Theory; AP Studio Art;
Studio Art; Men's Chorus; Acting; Production; History of Film

Course Descriptions

Art - Form A

Form A Art will focus on how the 7 Elements of Art (Line, Shape, Texture, Space, Form, Color, and Value) and the Principles of Design (Pattern, Emphasis, Variety, Unity, Balance, Rhythm, and Movement and Proportion) are used to make art and build a solid foundation for future art and art history classes. The Elements and Principles will also be discussed in classroom critiques, when students speak about their own work.

Problem solving will come into play as design challenges and “mistakes” force the students to look at their work from a different view to “fix” the problem at hand, rather than always starting over or erasing their work. This will challenge them to create “happy accidents” and finished work. Careful attention to directions will be key to completing projects with success and on time.

Course Length: All Year (Meets twice per week.)
Registration Policy: Required for Form A

Art - Form I

Form I students will continue their study of how the 7 Elements of Art (Line, Shape, Texture, Space, Form, Color, and Value) and the Principles of Design (Pattern, Emphasis, Variety, Unity, Balance, Rhythm, and Movement and Proportion) are used to make art. Students will be expected to complete more advanced projects. This year will introduce topics from Art History, using concepts learned in Form A.

Course Length: All Year (Meets twice per week.)
Registration Policy: Required for Form I

Chorus - Middle School

The aim of this course will be for students to develop the sufficient vocal and musical skills to collectively participate in school Masses, Services, concerts, and outreach projects. This course provides the opportunity to develop vocal and musical skills through the applied study of choral music. Through rigorous rehearsal students shall achieve – with proper tools – the ability of meaningful expression through music regardless of initial perceived ability. Some class sessions will be devoted to the Dalcroze Eurthymics (rhythmic games), and Music Mind Games.

Course Length: All Year (Meets twice per week)
Registration Policy: Students in Forms A – II must take either Instrumental Music or Chorus 


Handbell Choir - Form A

The aim of this course will be for students to develop the sufficient coordination and musical skills required to become a virtuosic ensemble. Performance opportunities may include collaboration with the Lower-School Chorus during Masses, concerts, and outreach projects. This year-long course will cover repertoire from a wide range of styles and cultures.

Course Length: All Year (Meets twice per week)
Registration Policy: Students in Forms A – II must take either Instrumental Music or Chorus



Instrumental Music

Students will participate in two concerts, one before Christmas, and one during the Spring.

Course Length: All Year (Meets twice per week)
Registration Policy: Students in Forms A – II must take either Instrumental Music or Chorus 

Drama - Form I

Drama is an art form focused on the human person. It leads to a healthy awareness of the individual and society through different forms of storytelling. Studying drama enhances communication skills vital to developing students. This performance-based introductory course will teach students the disciplines of movement, speech, improvisation, theatre studies, technical theatre, and design. These skills will be integrated and practiced within the context of in-class performances.

Course Length: All Year
Registration Policy: Required for Form I

 


Art - Form III

The goal for the semester is to complete a solid foundation for a greater understanding of art using the 7 Elements of Art (Line, Shape, Texture, Space, Form, Color, and Value), while also solidifying techniques and skills which can be used during Studio Art classes if students elect to continue taking art during Forms V and VI.

Problem solving will challenge some to think outside of the box while giving others the creative license to design at a higher level. Listening to and following directions will be key to completing projects with success and on time. The following concepts will be studied during the semester: perspective, grayscale and watercolor study.

Course Length: One Semester (Meets twice per week)
Registration Policy: Required for Form III

Public Speaking

For thousands of years, societies have understood the importance of public speaking and rhetoric. Understanding the craft of public speaking can help make a toast, pass new laws, and even end wars. Through the techniques studied in this course students will learn to craft questions into research, research into opinions, opinions into words, and words into speeches. The knowledge acquired in this class will prove helpful throughout a lifetime.

Students will be required to present a number of speeches in front of their peers, followed by questions and comments. Full cooperative participation in all projects is vital to success in the class. It is understand that certain fears go hand-in-hand with public speaking. Nerves will transform into confidence, but only through getting up and giving speeches.

Course Length: One Semester
Registration Policy: Required for Form III


 

Introduction to Humanities

This one-hour course is a historical survey of art, music, and literature. It is a complementary component of the AP World History I course in Form III.

Course Length: All Year
Registration Policy: Required for Form III

Humanities

This course is a historical survey of art, music, and literature. It is intended to complement the AP World History II course in Form IV, from the Renaissance (after an introduction to medieval thought) to the modern era. It focuses primarily on great works of western Europe, with some emphasis in the second semester on the United States. Works studied include literature (including Dante, Boccaccio, Montaigne, Cervantes, Rousseau, Baudelaire, Calvino, Joyce), art (sculpture, fresco, panel and canvas painting, engraving, drawing), architecture, and music (Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, all periods of classical music, and jazz).

Course Length: All Year
Registration Policy: Required for Form IV

Drama - Upper School Acting

This course provides the opportunity to develop the skills of acting through the study of acting theories and their practical applications. The students will begin with basic character development and move from classical to modern plays to apply these skills. Evaluation will be based on the in-class performances and the completion of the assignments. There is memorization involved with both monologues and dialogues. Because of the interdependence and collaborative aspects of the course, it is imperative that the students take the assignments seriously and apply their best efforts.

Course Length: One Semester
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V and VI

Drama - Upper School Production

This course is an independent study that will center around one of the two yearly Upper School productions. The grade will appear in either the first or second semester depending on the production that is selected. Prior to the beginning of the chosen production, the student will meet with the instructor. Together they establish the duties and the dates for completion. The evaluation of the student’s work will be based on the meeting of deadlines as well as the performance of the duties.

Course Length: One Semester (Students may enroll for multiple semesters)
Registration Policy: Prerequisite: Instructor Approval; Elective for Forms V and VI

Men's Chorus - Upper School

The aim of this course will be for students to develop sufficient vocal and musical skills required for outstanding choral singing. This year-long course will rehearse three times-per-week and cover repertoire from a wide range of styles and cultures, while building upon skills already obtained in prior Chorus, Bell-Choir, Gregorian Chant, and A.P. Music Theory courses. This course is also highly recommended for those planning to participate in the annual Musical-Theatre production. The spring semester includes a twice monthly coed collaboration with the Madrigal Singers from the Academy of the Holy Cross, and participation in the Celebrate Youth DC High School Choral Festival..

Course Length: All Year
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V and VI


AP Music Theory

This course covers the equivalent of two first-year courses traditionally taught in conservatories and university music schools: Music Theory I and Sight Singing I. Students will learn the basics of tonal music (note reading, key signatures, scales and chords, rhythm and meters) and then advance to more sophisticated concepts (composing a bass line for a given melody, realizing figured bass, writing harmonic progressions in four parts, modulation to closely related keys). The aural component includes identifying intervals, scales, and chords by ear; dictation of rhythmic patterns, basic melodies, and two- and four-part progressions; sight-singing of melodies in major and minor. This course is encouraged for all students who have studied music to an advanced or intermediate level, either privately or in the school. It will be more challenging to students with no training in music.

Course Length: All Year
Registration Policy: Prerequisites: Instructor Approval; Elective for Forms V and VI

Studio Art

This course will develop the techniques and principles students have learned at a more mature level. Students spend the majority of their time creating independent projects inspired by their personal skills and interests. One day a week will be an appointed drawing-and-technique day, on which students will build their art skills, critique each other’s work, talk about current events in the art world, and conduct research for future projects.

Students will complete a minimum of five projects, including a 3-D creation, a self-portrait, and a color study. Art portfolios will be assembled for those students considering application to a college program in the arts. Out-of-class work will include visiting a museum or an art gallery and writing a review of the experience.

Course Length: One Semester or All Year
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V and VI

 

AP Art History

This course covers the equivalent of the undergraduate art history survey course offered in universities. It studies the major works of art, including painting, sculpture, and architecture as well as ceramics and decorative arts, from the Prehistoric era through the 21st century. Students who begin the course in the first semester are expected to continue with the second semester of the course, and all students will be registered to take the A.P. Art History Exam at the end of the spring semester. Slightly over 20% of class time will be devoted to the study of art beyond the European tradition, defined by the College Board as Prehistoric, Near East, Egyptian, Asian, Pre-Columbian, and Islamic art. Basic objectives for the course are to learn the chronology of the civilizations of the past and their principal sub-periods; to learn the style of the art of these civilizations and periods and what is known of their artists and architects; to study the history of these major civilizations and surmise how their various cultural beliefs may be reflected in the style, form, or subject of the major works of art; and to develop critical thinking and oral skills when dealing with all periods of art.

Course Length: All Year
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V and VI

Department Highlights

High School Musical:

Into the Woods
Performances are Friday and Saturday, November 18-19, at 8:00 PM and Sunday, November 20 at 2 PM in the Devine Performing Arts Center.

All events are in the Devine Theatre: Auditions are Wednesday August 31st, 3:30-5:45. Callbacks are on Thursday, September 1st at 3:30-5:45 and the first rehearsal is Friday the 2nd from 3:30-5:30.  All girls of high school age are welcome to audition!

Click here for Into the Woods Audition Packet


Fine Arts Faculty
Dr. Charles T. Downey, Department Chair
Humanities, AP Art History 
Ph.D., Music History, Catholic University of America
M.A., Music History, Catholic University of America
B.Mus., Piano, Michigan State University
cdowney@saintanselms.org
Mr. Henry Achilles
History of Film
M.A., Liberal Studies, Georgetown University
B.A., History, George Washington University
hachilles@saintanselms.org
Mr. Philip Dickerson
All Drama Classes, Public Speaking
M.F.A, Catholic University of America
B.A., Theater, Alfred University  
pdickerson@saintanselms.org
Mr. Michael Lodico
All Chorus Classes, Music I, II, and III
M.M., Organ Performance, Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Netherlands
B.M., Organ Performance, Curtis Institute of Music
mlodico@saintanselms.org
Dr. Marcel Maican
Instrumental Music
Ph.D., Performance and Conducting, Conservatory of Bucharest
M.A., Conducting, Conservatory of Bucharest
mavado@verizon.net
Ms. Blair Sutton
All Art Classes, Studio Art, AP Studio Art
M.A., Corcoran College of Art
B.A., Sweet Briar College
bsutton@saintanselms.org