The foundation for the visual arts journey that students embark upon is built in Preschool and Kindergarten. Our young students are encouraged to express themselves through a range of hands-on learning activities that help them begin to acquire skills in sensory observation they will use and expand throughout their years at Dwight.
Kindergarteners study color and line, and begin working in their own sketchbooks and with different media. With inquiry as a guiding principle of the IB, the visual arts curriculum connects with, and extends, the transdisciplinary themes and topics that students continue exploring in Lower School. As they learn more about themselves and the world around them, students are encouraged to remain curious and to ask questions about art and its affective power as a means of both personal and cultural expression. Through the exploration of works by significant artists across different times and cultures, students sharpen their observation skills and learn how to understand and interpret the language of art through the analysis of subject matter and visual characteristics.
In both Middle and Upper Schools, learning continues to be inquiry-driven, encouraging students to question how they, as consumers and makers of art, can better understand the complexities of the world in which they live. Through deeper critical and historical studies of the art world, students investigate the relationships among artists, their artworks, and audiences from varying cultural, political, historical, and social perspectives. With some of the richest artistic resources available anywhere, New York City offers our students an amazing array of museums and galleries in which to study and experience art.
Visual arts are organized around the creative cycle: planning, creating, and evaluating art. Students gain confidence and ability through a thorough immersion in traditional drawing and painting. They are encouraged to explore their individual creative abilities and master techniques appropriate to their chosen area of expression. Students are exposed to artistic and aesthetic expressions of other cultures and are offered many opportunities to explore the galleries, museums, and international art world centered in New York City. Dwight's studio art courses aim to help the student become a developing artist with a critical eye, an inquiring mind, and an individual approach.
In Dwight's photography activity, students learn how to operate a digital SLR by adjusting aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. They learn rules of composition, light, color, and framing; and then they break those rules when necessary. Assignments include a self-portrait, a photo essay, sports photography, nature, and urban subjects. In reviewing their work, students constantly ask themselves, "What makes a photograph great?"
Dwight's Film Program recognizes that film is at the same time a powerful communication medium and an art form. Building on the structured and unstructured film-making experiences of students, the program emphasizes both the creative and academic sides of film. Students work both individually and collaboratively to develop the professional and technical skills needed to express themselves creatively through film. A concern with clarity of understanding, critical thinking, reflective analysis, effective involvement, and imaginative synthesis that is achieved through practical engagement in the art and craft of film are central to the IB Film course.
The Dwight Visual Arts Department is proud to share virtual galleries, to showcase and celebrate the artistic sparks of genius of our students in grades 1 through 12. We hope you enjoy viewing the works of our talented young artists!