The Department of Visual Arts at Briarcliff High School provides a sequential curriculum for students, early childhood through college level course work. The program focuses on the arts as a springboard for creative thought across disciplines. We provide a comprehensive learning progression in the arts curriculum that is developmentally appropriate, cultivating a core set of skills and capacities that develop over time.
Critical thinking is stressed throughout. As students expand their creative potential they develop an appreciation for methods and practices, as well as, the cultural models from which they are derived. In analyzing art, students of all ages draw evidence from 'Masterpieces' and as they develop they discover more in each work to support their understanding. This increases their ability to discuss and write about art. With guidance, they recognize technical choices and observe artistic principles such as composition and color theory. Students eventually learn to apply these principles to their own art making.
Over time, materials and methods become increasingly refined and complex. Students become more accomplished and demonstrate their ability to apply an artist's style or technique to their own original work understanding that there are multiple solutions to visual problems.
The art classroom offers a setting in which the student can reflect on oneself, one's interests, likes and dislikes. As well, students are guided to reflect on the 'world at large', studying social, political and economic contexts of works of art, giving the student a deeper understanding and the ability to make connections with other disciplines.
Todd Elementary, the Briarcliff Middle School and the Briarcliff High School instructors work as a team, collaborating regularly to provide our students with a strong vertical learning curriculum and experiences.