Visual and Performing Arts
Our foundress, Cornelia Connelly, reminded us throughout her teachings that the fine arts are a vital part of a Holy Child education, stressing the art of observation in acquiring knowledge–of the world, and of ourselves. Since our students face rigorous academic schedules, we encourage them to get truly engaged in their fine arts courses, to take full advantage of the opportunity to escape and expand their individuality in a completely different way. Not only do we believe in educating the whole child, which includes instilling that passion for the arts, we also inspire them to explore a whole host of “big ideas,” to expand their horizons, their minds, and their creativity along the way.
Our visual and performing arts instruction is deeply rooted in the hands-on exploration of each discipline. We have created a climate that nurtures and celebrates each student’s individual diversity and talent. We treat Visual Arts and Performing Arts with equal care, encouraging creative expression in a wide selection of course offerings. Our goal is to enhance the students’ lifelong appreciation of the arts, bring joy to their process, and to challenge their ability to grow in personal expression, and overall achievement.
Art I builds upon existing knowledge and understanding gained through grades 6-8, preparing the art student for more advanced study though the high school program as well as providing students the opportunity to develop their creative thinking abilities, aesthetic understanding, and joy of the world around them. By exploring, experimenting, and investigating a variety of media, students will further develop their art skills and engage confidently with art, craft, and design concepts as they begin to develop their own visual language to communicate and express their ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Through contextual studies of art and artists, students will explore links between creative thoughts and practical outcomes while also focusing on the quality of communicating ideas. This course will also include an element of collaborative projects and digital media with a view to investigating the most contemporary practices and how art education informs careers and life choices.
The Art 2 elective builds upon previous knowledge and understanding and prepares the art student for more advanced study. It aims to provide students the opportunity to develop their creative thinking abilities, aesthetic understanding and joy of the world around them. By exploring, experimenting and investigating a variety of media, students will further develop their art skills and techniques. Students will be given opportunity to engage confidently with art, craft and design concepts as they strive continue to develop their own visual language to communicate and express their ideas, thoughts and feelings. Through contextual studies of art and artists’ students will explore links between creative thoughts and practical outcomes whilst also focusing on the quality of communicating ideas. This program includes a 3D unit, an imaginative painting, a print, a cultural study, architectural study and a prolonged series of exercises to develop technical skill level. There will also be a field trip to a DC gallery with docent lead studies, developing critical thinking and connections with artworks.
The Art 3 elective builds upon Art 2, providing students the opportunity to further develop their creative thinking skills, aesthetic understanding and joy of the world around them. Students will be encouraged to develop their personal artistic voice as they work on lengthy art projects, developing an inquisitive mindset through questions, perseverance and attention to detail.
By exploring, experimenting and investigating with a variety of media, students will further develop and discover art skills, engaging confidently with art, craft and design concepts. Students will be able to deepen their individual visual language, to communicate and express ideas, thoughts and feelings through a variety of projects. Students will explore links between creative thoughts and practical outcomes through contextual studies of art and artists and a visit to D.C galleries. With focused concentration of control of media students will enhance their hand eye co-ordination and explore techniques to improve their expectations and abilities with an emphasis on individual skill levels. Students will learn to review and think reflectively through peer and self-evaluation and presentations. There will be an increasing emphasis on independent practices to create a deeper connectivity with their final realizations. Students will explore digital media and creative design projects as well as explore opportunities for courses and careers in the field of art, design and creative communication.
The Art 4 elective aims to provide students the opportunity to deepen and develop their creative thinking abilities, aesthetic understanding and joy of the world around them and prepare the student for the next stage of their artistic journey.
Through exploration, experimentation and investigation using a variety of media, students will further strengthen their art skills and techniques. Building upon existing knowledge students will engage confidently with art, craft and design concepts as they strive continue to develop their own visual language to communicate and express their ideas, thoughts and feelings. Through contextual studies of art and artists’ including a visit to a D.C gallery, students will explore links between creative thoughts and practical outcomes whilst also focusing on communicating their own inner artist voice. Students will work on a variety of projects with a focus on personal expression in both 2 and 3 dimension form, including digital media. Artwork will provide a body of work for development towards a portfolio for college application. There will further opportunities to explore courses and careers in the field of art, design and creative communication.
A digital camera and USB drive are useful in case the students wish to use Photoshop. Sketchbooks are required and will be used both for quarterly assignments and for project brainstorming. Semester exams will be given. Each student will prepare and hang an art show in April as their final exam.
The Portfolio/Studio Art course builds upon existing skills, knowledge, and understanding. Students will deepen conceptual understanding with opportunity to express individual thoughts, ideas, and feelings with an emphasis on inner artist voice. Students will further develop creative thinking abilities, aesthetic understanding, and joy of the world as well as explore how artists and designers engage in the world around them. Through more individualized guidance, students will prepare artwork for a college portfolio and submission requirements. Students will be encouraged to visit galleries and gallery talks during the year.
Theatre 1 is a gateway course that introduces students to the history, theory, and practice of theatrical design and acting. Students will gain an understanding of the onstage and off-stage elements that go into making a story come to life onstage. Building on their experiences with middle school theatre productions, students engage with play texts, craft and design technical elements, and are introduced to the art of acting. In addition, the class will provide hands on opportunities to work on the productions at Holy Child.
Acting is storytelling. The actor’s first responsibility is to the story, second to the imagination of character, and third, get out of the way and let the character tell that story! During this year-long course, over a series of progressive units, students will begin to discover an effective, dependable, and applicable set of working tools for the actor and working theatre company.
Students will study a complete spectrum of acting for theatre. From comedy–stand-up, farce, clowning and improvisation to classical acting–Elizabethan and neoclassical texts– to movement, physical theatre, mask and puppetry work. All the while developing a “real world” set of working tools for the actor, ultimately shaping professional, critical, explorative, confident, brave, truthful performers.
Designed for the practical learner, the written portion of this course will be limited. Students will be assessed on a mostly practical basis, learning by doing and assessment by show casing learnt skills practically in rehearsal and performance: discussion, participation, rehearsal, preparation & performance with limited written work within analytical responses: evaluation and scriptwriting/dissection of texts.
Acting for theatre is set for an exciting and demanding road ahead: are you brave enough?
Advanced Theatre Production is designed to further students’ skills, knowledge, and interest in the collaborative work of theatre arts. Students complete projects in the areas of directing, costumes, sets, lighting, sound, and publicity, getting practical experience by providing technical support for many school events.
The program is enriched by professional guest speakers and backstage tours. In the second and third quarters of the year, students create and implement the marketing campaign that will be used to publicize the winter musical to newspapers, radio stations, other schools, and the local community.
In the final quarter, they revisit theatre history and utilize the skills they have developed over the year to cast, design, and produce a one-act play to be performed as a class.
Dance I is an introductory dance class for students to learn dance anatomy, the origins and history of dance, and explore and perform a range of dance styles such as Folkloric Dance, Social Dance, Classical Ballet, modern Dance, Musical Theatre, Tap, Jazz, and Hip-Hop. This introductory course covers the major themes of dance: developing dance literacy, exploring, connecting, choreography, and performance.
Prerequisite: department recommendation/audition. Course may take 4 years.
The dance ensemble provides an advanced option for students in dance and movement. Students perform throughout the year in various arts performances and are able to take the course for multiple years. Students practice in group dance experiences through rehearsal, performance, and dance technique training. This course is designed to develop technical range and performance skills through the study and production of dance repertory.
Vocalists can enroll in the vocal ensemble course with teacher recommendation and/or successful entrance audition. Advanced students in the middle school may also be invited to audition for this class. Students will strengthen their vocal, sight-singing, and performing skills while discovering their vocal instrument. Students will study and perform music of varying styles from all genres including classical, jazz, and American popular music. Vocalists in the class perform in all concerts, masses, arts events, fall recital, our upper school musical, and must attend all upper school chorus rehearsals.
Chorus is an exciting ensemble open to students who love to sing from grade 6-12. Students will develop vocal stamina, musical repertoire, and will gain confidence. In Chorus, the focus is placed on vocal production, proper diction, basic sight-reading and singing in parts. Students interested in Chorus must audition with the instructor for appropriate vocal placement. Performance opportunities are: Masses, Christmas concert, Evening of the Arts and Graduation. Other performances such as our middle and upper school musical and off-campus events are also possible during the school year.
Instrumentalists can elect an Instrumental Music class starting in their freshman year. Selection in this course is determined by the successful completion of an entrance audition.
Advanced Middle School students may also be invited to audition for this class. Students study and perform music of varying styles from all genres including Classical, Jazz, and Pop.
Instrumentalists in the class perform in the winter musical orchestra, Christmas concert, Fine Arts events, and two recitals throughout the academic year.
This course aims to provide each student with the opportunity to develop a greater understanding and appreciation for music through the exploration of various musical genres. Students discover the musical elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, form, expression, and styles with a focus on listening, keyboard skills, guitar, and technology. Emphasis is on learning to listen to music and the role it plays within the wider contexts of history and society. Listening and performance materials are drawn from a variety of sources focusing on classical, world music, and American popular music.
Music II is a class designed to expand and diversify the students’ knowledge in many areas of music. The class focuses on reading music and piano proficiency. Students will also be introduced to other instruments including guitar, violin, and drums. Students will learn how to record, compose and remix songs using Garage Band.
The first semester focuses on piano and the foundations of musical terms, music theory, and background in music history. The second semester focuses on current events in the music industry and the arts, and Garage Band. Student will also analyze music including pop, jazz, and world music. The class will also feature a project leading up to the GRAMMY awards.
Through listening, critiquing, and analyzing specific musical works, the students develop a greater appreciation for music.
Director of Visual and Performing Arts
MS and US Music
Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair
US Arts Teacher
MS and US Music
MS and US Dance Choreographer
MS and US Theatre Technical Director
MS and US Art Teacher