Life is short, art is long. - Hippocrates
The art curriculum at Cascade Canyon School travels an adventurous path to learning about and through art. Strong interdisciplinary threads weave across the curriculum. The universal language of the visual arts provides experiences that help each student express and expand their imaginations. Students make art; perceive, are aware of and interpret ideas – they think about art; and ponder the influences/approaches of other cultures/peoples/artists as they relate to each other through expression – discovering alternative ways of knowing the world! In other words, in art class, we practice flexibility, originality, curiosity, complex thinking and risk-taking, being inventive, and searching for differences and similarities.
We travel this road to discovery in any given class by exploring the language of art (see box below). We travel lightly, leaving behind doubts, making lots of mistakes and learning to be our own boss when deciding which visual choice/direction to take!
The terminologies of the basic visual concepts are defined as the elements and principles of art. The elements of art are line, shape, color, value, texture, form and space. The principles of art (the manner in which elements are arranged in an artwork) are balance, emphasis, repetition, similarity, contrast, overlap, unity, movement, rhythm, distortion, gradation and pattern!
Using this "language" as our road map, lessons/adventures usually proceed with a motivation - a problem to be solved, a design dilemma and/or a guided exploration. This motivation includes an instructional objective to experience new materials/methods of production or a new approach to the same materials, or a new way of "looking" at the message/lesson objective (so that DaVinci cannot accuse us of "looking without seeing")! We analyze, apply, arrange, compare, construct, contrast, relate, define, demonstrate, depict, describe, develop, discover, discuss, draw, emphasize, experiment, explain, express, identify, illustrate, interpret, judge, list, manipulate, produce, recognize, select, show, solve, use, utilize, verbalize, work and talk about the content! Woven into each lesson is a thread of art history and analysis! We include artrageous "games" in this area such as role playing art buyers and auctioneers, "What's My Viewpoint," "Create a Gallery," "Will the Real ____ Please Stand up?," etc.
The following chart provides "rough" examples of what a particular grade's curriculum might explore artrageously! It grows developmentally introducing new skills that build upon each other. For example, in all grade levels, one can design masks. The Kindergartner might smudge/mold an aluminum foil "mask" from the shape of their face, while a 1st/2nd grader might manipulate paper into a symmetrical paper sculpture mask. The 3rd /4th grader could create a plaster bag mold creature mask, while the 5th/6th grader might sculpt an aluminum can mask. Lastly, clay portrait heads "with an attitude" provide a developmentally appropriate medium for the 7th/8th grader! This chart is a "rough" example because the curriculum is by no means limited by a "developmental skill." We move upwards, sideways, backwards and in a zigzag through the age-level curricula!
Kindergarten (Or making, exploring and smudging things!)
• Painting with brushes and fingers
• Printing with found objects: Styrofoam,
potatoes and fingers
• Puppet design
• Paper play: ripping, tearing, collage
• Using scissors to cut all kinds of lines!
• Sculpture from found objects and clay
• Manipulating clay (form a ball, make a
coil, flatten, squeeze, and pinch)
• Learning to take care of supplies!
• Drawing with everything and anything
that will draw
• Exploring color
• Making things from puppets to
xylophones to everything in between
1st/2nd (Everything the K's experience plus adding/adapting ARTrageous adventures that address):
Fascination with how things work
Great observational skills
Understanding "size" relationships
Artwork from different cultures
Line to make things three-dimensional
Understanding personal selection ("I like red")
• Positive negative studies
• Paper Manipulation: Origami, paper tube
• Printmaking, collagraphs
• Cityscape tiles
• Color – personal color wheel, color and
• Self portraits of all kinds
• Resists with oil pastel, glue, on fabric
(Batik) and more!
• Textiles: wrapping, twisting, sewing,
pulling, tying fabric!
• Sculptor – carving
• Scratching thru layers!
3rd/4th (Everything the K's and ½'s experience plus adding/adapting ARTrageous adventures that address):
Understanding principle of overlap
Understanding of foreground, middle ground, background and that form follows function
Appreciation of fantasy
Openness to new experiences including humor
Interest in learning to draw
Increased understanding of how artists express themselves and their cultural identity
• Color scheme, warm/cool, contrasting
• Still life
• Landscape sculpture
• Contour drawing – learning to see
• Map-making (relief sculptures)
• Gargoyle Fantasy Faces
• Architecture: columns, beams, domes,
towers & turrets:
"Your favorite Room", "Tourist Map"
• Bark Painting
• Metal tooling
• Art Books, scrolling, binding, scoring,
5th/6th (Everything the K's, ½'s and ¾'s experience plus adding/adapting ARTrageous adventures that address):
One/two point perspective – showing depth
Functions of architecture (worship, burial)
Human form, self-portraits
Posters (balance, space and emphasis)
One-two point perspective
Understanding and identifying symbols in art
• Batik, printing, tie-dye, stitchery
• Ink washes
• Found object sculpture
• Paper Mache
• Ceramic sculpture
• 3-D paper sculpture
• Wire sculpture
• Self Portraits: Photoshop manipulation,
torn paper collage portraits
contour drawing/water color portraits,
fractured portraits, etc.
• Printing: ALL kinds!
7th/8th (Everything the K's, ½'s, ¾'s and 5/6's experience plus adding/adapting ARTrageous adventures that address):
Awareness of how color, line, shape and composition affect a project
Interest in complex ideas
Using materials and techniques to depict moods, ideas feelings
Perspective; understanding diminishing size and color to show depth
Wanting to know "why" things are taught
Thinking abstractly, grasping double meaning, morality and symbolism in artwork
Talking about historical artwork, what artists might have been thinking, effect of their society on art. Asking "why" artists do what they do!
Understanding cultural iconography (history/culture/art/geography/religion!)
• Personalized projects: Self Portraits, "What is True about You Today That Will Still be True in 10 Years?"
• "Real" artrageous explorations: posters, art as protest
• Designing jewelry, fabric
• Casting, carving, mold-making
• Printing: All types! Monoprints, collagraph prints, block printing, etc.
• Edible Color Wheel! Speaking of edible: 3-D Gingerbread Houses!
• Public sculpture, lawn painting, murals etc.
• Whirligigs (Outsider and/or Folk Art)
• Digital Explorations
• Art Journaling
• Value Studies
A line is a dot that goes for a walk. -Paul Klee