Academics

Visual & Performing Arts

Graduation Requirement: Two years in either Visual or Performing Arts

The Drew Arts Program develops the creativity, talent and technique of our students with an authentic and engaging combination of hands-on studio time, theory, analysis, and critique. Extensive and diverse offerings span all skill levels, as we aim to address the needs of both beginners and advanced students.You will integrate theory and practice in each discipline as you utilize Drew’s dynamic environment to experiment, collaborate and, ultimately, grow in your craft. By practicing making art, you will achieve mastery while developing your individual voice. Drew prepares you to apply the creative process to the arts and beyond. You will make use of Drew’s dedicated studios for both visual and performing arts through traditional and digital media. You will also integrate the city as an extended lab for museum trips, artist visits, and working on location.

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts Department at Drew invites students to have authentic and engaging experiences in our studio spaces. Each course, through a wide range of traditional and digital approaches, is designed to help you build your skills, explore your own ideas and observations of the world, and help you understand how to express your point of view visually. We value the creative process of brainstorming, iterating, and gath-ering feedback for revision as a method that you can apply to the arts and beyond. You will also integrate the city as an extended lab that offers locations for creative projects and exposure to museums and outside artists. Art is ultimately about communication and each course will invite you to make those steps toward developing a personal voice.

Visual Arts Curriculum

List of 16 items.

  • Drawing & Design 1

    What fundamental skills and understandings help prepare you for success in a range of visual arts? In this class, you will explore how line, shape, color, texture, value and space become the building blocks of strong design across the arts. You will work with a wide range of materials, including pencil, acrylic, watercolor, and collage techniques. Units will include drawing still-life subjects, portraits, painting, and designing personal projects such as book covers, posters, and images to express your own ideas about identity and important causes. We will focus on projects, developing studio skills, expanding aesthetic choices, and gathering feedback through critique. Projects culminate in two Gallery Walk events and school exhibits.
  • Drawing & Design 2

    How are the objects, products and experiences in our world made? Introduce yourself to the design world and the importance of drawing and imagination in developing ideas for actualization. Learn how designers and artists think and practice observational and interpretive drawing.

    Units include fashion design, furniture design, architecture, and figure drawing. You will explore design-thinking issues such as understanding the needs and preferences of the end-user, developing empathy, prototyping, revision, and teamwork. Develop skills such as loose sketching and deeper observational drawing. You will have opportunities to explore computer aided design tools and understand their role in a variety of fields.

    After a variety of teacher-directed projects, you will complete a self-directed project. Projects culminate in two Gallery Walk events and school exhibits.

    Prerequisite: Drawing and Design or teacher approval
  • Graphic Design 1

    What is graphic design and why is it important? You will learn the fundamentals of two-dimensional design, the foundation of art, graphic design, and visual communication. You will learn and practice the design process and explore it through a simple five-step plan. You will focus on how through simple, yet intentional visual manipulation, points, lines, planes, gestalt, and color can communicate and create meaning.

    You will create collages, colorize and restore old family photographs in Photoshop. Additionally, you will create your own logo, branding an Infographic poster as well as laser cut products in Illustrator. Adobe Suites is used to help you master presentations, posters, and class projects. Critiques, visiting artists, and field trips will deepen your understanding and build community. Projects culminate in creating your own portfolio, two Gallery Walk events and school exhibits.

    Prerequisite: Drawing and Design 1 or teacher approval
  • Graphic Design 2

    In this class, you will build on your foundation in Graphic Design while improving your creative and critical thinking skills. You will practice the design process in order to find solutions to a number of visual communication goals and problems by identifying each step in the design process, understanding the importance of each step, and then implementing them. In order to solve a problem, designers need to understand it. Sometimes what is presented and described as the problem actually is not. Learning about the problem through a deliberate systematic search for knowledge helps the designer improve their work.

    Projects include designing a game board, yearbook, and political posters. You will develop a body of work through a concentration project of your own designs.

    Prerequisite: Graphic Design
  • Photography 1

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. There is something powerful and poetic about photography where even the most common sites can visually communicate our human experiences. Students in this class will learn about the skills and techniques used by photographers to create interpretive images. Photography includes many genres and you will use tools such as cameras and editing to master various styles and to express yourself through pictures.

    Foundation assignments will cover aspects such as composition and design, defining space, close-ups, pictorial lines, motion, abstraction, reflection, authentic portraits, and aesthetic choices. You will also work on a number of personally-designed projects throughout the year in order to understand how to build a cohesive body of work for portfolios and books. Students will be taking their own diverse images outside of class time. Our daily steps as a group will be focused on expression through your composition and editing choices and on gathering feedback through critique. We will also look at samples of historic and international works every week in order to build your own toolbox of styles and ideas. Projects culminate in two Gallery Walk events, a book-publishing project and school exhibits.

    Prerequisite: Drawing and Design 1 or teacher approval
  • Photography 2

    How do photographers build on their foundation and move closer to developing a style that communicates personal vision? Expand your visual literacy as an artist by honing skills through assignments such as poetic interpretation, abstraction, expressionism, surrealism, design portraits, lighting, collage, and multi-frame images.

    You will also work on a number of personally-designed projects throughout the year in order to build a cohesive body of work for portfolios and a book-publishing project. Students will be taking their own diverse images outside of class time. Our daily steps as a group will be focused on expression through your composition and editing choices and on gathering feedback through critique. We will also look at samples of historic and international works every week in order to build your own toolbox of styles and ideas. Projects culminate in two gallery walk events, a book-publishing project, and school exhibits.

    Prerequisite: Photography
  • Digital Filmmaking 1

    How do moving images connect with viewers and communicate human experiences? How do movies convey stories and how are they made? Students in this class will learn about the skills and techniques used by filmmakers to create short experimental films. Even the most abstract imagery can convey emotion, narrative, and popular genres. It’s the poetry of cinema! Class projects will help you build skills with cameras, cinematic shot styles, editing, and sound in order to express yourself visually. You will work on a number of personal projects each semester. Students will be filming their own diverse footage in and out of class. Our daily steps will focus on expression through cinematography and editing choices and on gathering feedback through critique. We will also look at samples of historic
    and international works every week in order to expand your own toolbox of styles and ideas. Projects culminate in two gallery walk events.
     
    Prerequisite: Drawing and Design 1 or teacher approval
  • Digital Filmmaking 2

    How do filmmakers combine visual thinking and story structure to create advanced experimental and narrative movies? Students in this class will deepen their skills and techniques with cameras, cinematography, editing, and sound in order to build more complex projects. You will work on a number of films each semester in order to communicate your ideas and to explore aspects of visual poetry, character development, empathy, and plot that are essential to cinematic storytelling. There will also be opportunities for collaboration. Students will be filming their own diverse footage in and out of class and the emphasis will be on visual innovation and expression. Our daily steps will focus on advancing projects through screenwriting, cinematography, editing choices, and on gathering feedback through critique. We will also look at samples of historic and international works every week in order to expand your own toolbox of styles and ideas. Projects culminate in two gallery walk events.

    Prerequisite: Digital Filmmaking
  • Printmaking 1

    How are prints created and why? Prints are images made in multiples and when you make multiples of an image, it frees you to take risks and reiterate. You will explore a variety of media and techniques including linoleum, woodblock, transfers, and screen printing and learn how to pull editions and create a body of work using a press, screens, and handprinting. You will carve, use photographic techniques, paint, print on paper, canvas, and fabric as well as experiment with color.

    Weekly sketchbook assignments will serve as an image bank to create your prints. You will explore and play with mixed media including transfer, collage, and monoprinting. Critiques, visiting artists and field trips will deepen your understanding and build community. Projects culminate in creating your own portfolio, two Gallery Walk events and school exhibits.

    Prerequisite: Drawing and Design 1 or teacher approval
  • Printmaking 2

    Build on your foundation and further your technical skills as you add complexity to your printmaking projects, including mixed media and large scale prints. Experimentation and risk are encouraged as you develop technical mastery and independent problem solving. You will deepen your voice through more independent, artistic investigations around thematic topics including nature, technology, identity, and place.

    Critiques, visiting artists and field trips will deepen and broaden understandings. You will develop a body of work through a concentration project of your own design using your preferred printmaking techniques.

    Projects culminate in two Gallery Walk events and school exhibits.

    Prerequisite: Printmaking
  • Painting 1

    Why has painting endured through human history even as humans have developed so many new digital media? Enjoy the respite and meditative aspects of the painting process as we balance these with creative and critical thinking skills. Painting has an immediacy that can give the artist access to multiple levels of self expression from gesture to detailed rendering of chosen subjects. Units are designed to juxtapose basic painting techniques and tips for accurate rendering with more abstract approaches.

    In an early unit you will render a piece of “found art” in order to practice color and proportion matching and in a later unit you will rely on your own instincts and mark making impulses to create works inspired by abstract expressionism. After several teacher-led assignments, you will enjoy the freedom to develop and write about your own subjects and ideas. Critiques and field trips will deepen and broaden your understanding of this wide ranging medium by creating opportunities to reflect on individual work and the “art world”. Projects culminate in two Gallery Walk events and school exhibits.

    Prerequisite: Drawing and Design or teacher approval
  • Painting 2

    Build on your foundation in painting while improving your creative and critical thinking skills. You will create a body of related work and learn how to sustain a creative practice through experimentation, developing your ideas, and curating your work with the help of the critique process.

    As you reflect on how you go about your painting practice, you will find painting can be about self-discovery and finding your voice as an artist. You will write and revise an artist statement, conduct research, explore exhibition venues, and present your work to audiences in and outside the classroom. In the end, you will reflect on both your intentions as a painter and understand how your work is perceived through feedback from peers. Projects culminate in two gallery walk events and school exhibits.

    Prerequisite: Painting
  • Sculpture 1

    How is sculpture made and why? Sculptures are made with a variety of materials and three-dimensional forms. You will learn the basic concepts and vocabulary terms generated by the contemporary art world while exploring how this specialized language has evolved during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. You will explore with wire, wood carving, paper maché, clay stop motion, installation and found objects. You will develop collaborative skills and come to understand the way contemporary art frames broader social realities while in turn, understanding how economic, political, and technological changes alter the practice of art and culture. Critiques, visiting artists and field trips will deepen your understanding and build community.

    Projects culminate in creating your own portfolio, two Gallery Walk events and school exhibits.

    Prerequisite: Drawing and Design 1 or teacher approval
  • Sculpture 2

    In this class you will investigate new techniques while improving your creative and critical thinking skills. You will address a broad interpretation of sculptural issues in depth and space. The issues may include mass, volume, form plane, light, and texture. Such elements may be articulated through additive, subtractive techniques, while exploring a variety of media including clay, wire, plaster, wood, and assemblage. You will explore and experiment with installation art as well as video.

    You will create a body of related work and learn how to sustain a creative practice through experimentation, concept development, and curating your work with the help of the critique process. As you reflect on how you go about your sculpture practice, you will find sculpture can be about self-discovery and finding your voice as an artist. Projects culminate in two gallery walk events and school exhibits.

    Prerequisite: Sculpture 1

  • Advanced Studio Art

    How do you make a project your own, find your voice, and show your unique perspective? You will hone these skills through both individual and group critique focusing on both technique and concept development through studio practice and by developing more advanced rendering skills. You will deepen your own point of view through related class and homework assignments to develop a cohesive body of work.

    Projects include self portrait as a playing card, zoo poster, mythological hybrid animal, observational drawing of glass and metal, and political posters of social justice issues. You will design a concentration project at the end of the second semester. Critiques, participating in art contests, visiting artists, and field trips will build community and foster investigation. Projects culminate in Portfolio presentation, two Gallery Walk events, school exhibits, and portfolio development.

    Prerequisite: Drawing and Design and teacher approval
  • Portfolio Development

    How do artists develop a body of work that expresses their personal ideas and style? How do artists prepare for projects like gallery exhibits, publishing, and applications?

    In this advanced class, you will go deeper into your chosen medium in order to create a capstone portfolio. Emphasis is placed on using studio skills, experimentation, and aesthetic choices to create more complex visual statements, cohesive vision, and intentional messaging. Class time will be focused on building your portfolio, honing skills, and gathering feedback through critique. We will also look at samples of historic and international works every week in order to build your own toolbox of ideas.

    You will also be invited to engage with exhibits, contests, and visiting artists in order to learn more about art in the world. Projects culminate in two gallery walk events, school exhibits, and a completed portfolio.

    Prerequisite: Drawing and Design, Advanced level course, and teacher approval.

Performing Arts

The materials we use in Performing Arts classes are an intentional departure from more traditional scholastic models which draw mainly from the Western Classical canon because we believe that this fosters an inclusive environment in which everyone’s story is valued and we want students to know the source stories of the popular forms they gravitate to on their own.

Theater at Drew is about learning to be seen, heard, understood, and believed. Students develop the confidence to tell their own stories and the empathy to appreciate different perspectives. Course work is focused on building skills in creativity and collaboration as students explore verbal and non verbal modes of communication. They also engage in self evaluation, and reflect on their artistic process through writing and discussion.

Music at Drew is a subject in which you can immerse yourself, just as you would with any other academic subject. This is possible because your ensemble is the class, and meets just as often as any of your other subjects. Whether you are a beginner interested in trying a new instrument, or you are already proficient on one or more instruments, there is a place for you in our student-centered ensemble program that values the contributions of each individual.

As opposed to traditional orchestra and band programs, Drew’s Ensemble program fosters individual autonomy. Rather than following from the back of a large section, Drew students learn from the outset to develop their musical voices through collaboration, authentic practice and in developing leadership skills.

Music Production is an immersive experience in which students explore the creation of music using digital and acoustic sound sources. Beginning with the mechanics of sound production, propagation and perception, and moving through a variety of modules, students will work individually and in small groups on technical and creative projects that serve as an introduction to the elements of sound design and musical composition using recording equipment and digital editing tools.

Performing Arts Curriculum

List of 13 items.

  • Theater Ensemble 1

    Theater Ensemble 1 is a hands-on experience in the art of live theater, introducing and exploring theater from page to stage. The focus is on learning to be seen, heard, understood, and believed. You will develop the confidence to tell your own story and the empathy to appreciate different perspectives. Course work includes in-class journaling, analyzing text and character, rehearsing scenes and monologues, playing improv games, and exploring verbal and non verbal modes of communication while building skills in creativity and collaboration. You will attend live performances in venues on and off the Drew campus, expanding your cultural literacy and acquiring a theater vocabulary. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the rehearsal process, engaging in self-evaluation through writing and discussion at the end of each unit. This course also examines the roles of various theatre artists: actors, directors, technicians, designers, and playwrights.
  • Theater Ensemble 2/3

    In Theater Ensemble 2/3, you will continue to explore the art of transformational performance and assume more responsibility for the creative process. This course is designed to expand your awareness of the actor's creative and expressive abilities, specifically in developing fluency with character development, self-awareness, and communication skills.

    Self-discipline is emphasized, and voice and movement techniques are more exacting, including the introduction of dialect work, masks, and Shakespeare's verse. Class work concentrates on expansive text analysis, rehearsal, and performance. The rehearsal process underscores the ability to listen with a willingness to change and to practice empathy. Leadership is highlighted as you take on the management of daily vocal and physical warm-ups. You are encouraged to support the growth of the ensemble as you collaborate on a variety of performance pieces - scripted, non-scripted, and original scenes and monologues. There is a continued focus on in-class journaling, discussion, and attending theatrical performances in order to enhance the experience of the ensemble.
  • Theater Ensemble Honors

    Theater Ensemble Honors is designed to prepare the serious student for life in the theater beyond high school. Participating in a progression of creative projects, an Honors student is challenged to work as an actor, artistic director, designer, technician, stage manager, and teacher. You are expected to take control of the entire production process as a master collaborator - from research and selection of material, to casting, rehearsing, design, and production. You are also asked to explore the ways in which theater can be used to affect social/cultural change or bring a community together through a shared experience. You must also engage in critical reflection about the process once it is over. As an Honors level student, you will also teach theater etiquette to your peers, and lead improvisations, exercises, and class discussions.
  • Theater Production 1

    This is a hands-on course designed to foster understanding and appreciation of the theatrical production process by providing students with a foundation of basic stagecraft. You will be introduced to the skills and equipment needed to take a theatrical event from a conceptual design through mounting a production. Emphasis will be placed on learning about the stage and its equipment, materials and construction of scenic, prop, and costume elements, lighting, sound, and design.

    Exploring these design and production elements, you will be provided the opportunity and framework to become well-rounded theater technicians. You will apply and hone your skills by working on the technical aspects of Drew’s productions in the performing arts department as you design and construct sets, costumes, and props; hang lights, create special effects, and learn the skills needed for sound design and production. You will also reflect on design elements found in theatrical productions with design analysis and critique. Crewing productions at least once each semester is a requirement of this class.
  • Theater Production 2

    Theater Production 2 is designed specifically for students focused on preparing for higher education and life-long learning in the arts. This course advances and refines the stagecraft techniques introduced in Theater Production 1 as you further your foundation of both soft and hard skills in the practical application of stagecraft for Drew’s Performing Arts Department’s production needs. In Theater Production 2, you will also assist in supervising new students with overseeing their basic safety skills, critical thinking in design, and troubleshooting issues related to production. At this level, you will actively monitor new students in adhering to the protocols and safety standards on the grid, in the booth, and on the stage. You will also work in leadership roles as crew leads on a service oriented team that will produce and document performing arts department productions.

    Additionally, you will be encouraged to specialize in a focus area of your choosing: lighting design, stage management, costume design, sound/special effects design, scenic design, or prop design. Crewing productions at least once each semester is a requirement of this class.
  • Instrumental or Vocal Ensemble 1

    Arrange and perform advanced literature from a variety of idioms from classical to contemporary. Working in a project-based, collaborative environment, you will practice choosing, arranging and preparing musical selections for performance and recording in the context of a small ensemble setting. Learn the rituals of rehearsal designed to increase your musical fluency and musicianship/technical ability. Develop your reading skills and deepen your awareness of how scales, chords and keys articulate the diatonic system which functions across boundaries of musical style and genre. Learn how to improvise an accompaniment or melody applying your knowledge of idiomatically appropriate musical ideas. Experiment, grow, and challenge yourself as you begin to develop your voice in an ensemble.
  • Instrumental or Vocal Ensemble 2/3

    In years two and three, you will continue to develop your technical and musical skills as you begin to take on a leadership role in the ensemble. You will take more responsibility for the trajectory of the group over the course of each iteration of the preparation/performance process, making decisions about arrangements and approaches and the overall sound of the group. You will learn how to transcribe and arrange music to present to the ensemble in lead-sheet or score notation. Dive deeper into the history and context of music that is both new and familiar to you as you continue to widen your perspective and develop your musical voice.
  • Instrumental or Vocal Ensemble Honors

    Students who have demonstrated the desire and commitment to work at a high level in an ensemble are invited to take Honors Ensemble. In this class, you will take even greater responsibility for planning and executing the trajectory of the group over the course of the year. Honors students will be expected to work outside of class on personal assignments to include recordings, transcriptions and research projects. You will also be encouraged to participate in local and regional solo/small ensemble or honor band ensembles and events, as well as performing regularly for the school community. This course will be of particular interest to students who may be considering continuing their music studies beyond high school.
  • Music Production/Studio Courses

    Music Production is an immersive experience in which students explore the creation of music using digital and acoustic sound sources. Beginning with the mechanics of sound production, propagation and perception, and moving through a variety of students will work individually and in small groups on technical and creative projects that serve as an introduction to the elements of sound design and musical composition using recording equipment and digital editing tools.
  • Music Production 1

    Learn how to record and edit sounds from different sources using a variety of microphones and audio equipment. In this class, students are introduced to the concept of transformation, where sounds can be manipulated using the basic five editing techniques to create rhythmic and melodic patterns. Practice layering, looping, chopping and arranging using a professional DAW, and begin to create examples of musical form which can be developed and varied to make more complete musical experiences.
  • Music Production 2

    Develop more complex and polished compositions using acoustic and electronic sources and work in a variety of environments as you further develop microphone techniques, sampling, editing, mixing and mastering. Focus on uncovering your own personal workflow, create and curate your personal sound libraries and sample banks. Apply your compositional skills to a variety of challenges including soundtracking, mashups, remixes, and covers.

    At level 2, students have the opportunity to collaborate with their peers, work with different DAWs and experiment with tracking and mixing live sessions on the 48-track console. In this course you will work towards completion of a diverse portfolio, which will include your own compositions as well as your analysis of other works.
  • Digital Storytelling

    In this class, you will collaborate in creating examples of short-form media, interactive media, and dynamic presentations that focus on storytelling. Digital storytelling refers to the process in which diverse people can share their unique experiences through the internet and other forms of media. Emerging with the advent of accessible digital technology, digital storytelling provides an alternative to traditional means of communication. You will explore the elements of storytelling, including the dramatic question, emotional content, voice, soundtracks, economy of material, pacing, and the overall purpose of narrative structure in telling a story. You will learn diverse workflows on several different digital platforms and applications including video (shooting and editing), sound recording, mixing and post production, culminating in a personal portfolio of your short-form videos, podcasts, and creative web-design projects.

    Prerequisite: One year of art class
  • AP Music Theory

    Deepen your awareness of harmonic, rhythmic, and textural elements in composing music of diverse styles and genres. You will cover much of the AP Music curriculum in a project-based format, exploring voice-leading, chord progressions, harmonizing melodies and bass lines, and arranging music for different musical instruments.

    A capstone project gives you an opportunity to hear your work performed by a professional ensemble, and thus complete the cycle of creating written music for performance, from inspiration to completion, hearing and assessing the results, giving and receiving feedback, and, ultimately, progressing towards mastery of your own musical voice.

List of 7 members.

  • Photo of Alexandra Blum

    Alexandra Blum 

    Visual Arts Department Chair
    415.430.3781
  • Photo of James Garrison

    James Garrison 

    Performing Arts Department Chair
    415.430.3780
  • Photo of Lisa Bostwick

    Lisa Bostwick 

    Visual Arts Faculty
    415.430.3782
  • Photo of Jin Feiszli

    Jin Feiszli 

    Visual Arts Faculty
    415.430.3757
  • Photo of Lara Greene

    Lara Greene 

    Performing Arts Faculty
    415.430.3783
  • Photo of Amelia Stewart

    Amelia Stewart 

    Performing Arts Faculty
    415.430.3776
  • Photo of Jason Whiton

    Jason Whiton 

    Visual Arts Faculty
    415.430.3785

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