Fine & Performing Arts Department


The Fine and Performing Arts Department provides an opportunity for each and every student to discover from within a personal voice of self-expression. Whether this expression takes place on the stage, utilizing design software in front of a computer, or with a paintbrush in hand, the experience of awakening one’s own creative spirit is available to all in our challenging and caring environment.

Course Offerings
Dramatic Arts (FALL AND SPRING)

This course is designed for all levels and exposes students to multiple aspects of creating theater, including acting, staging, designing, and directing. All class members will gain an introduction to theater through games and other activities, but individual student interests and experience will shape much of the course content. Students can choose to focus on acting and explore the use of the voice, body, emotion, and imagination in performing scenes and monologues. Students can also learn the important elements of technical theater including lighting, sound, and stage design. Advanced students can gain experience as drama coaches, dramaturgs, and directors. Attendance at plays throughout the year enhances the course, allowing for a critical review of the various components of theatrical production. This course is appropriate for levels ranging from beginning theater students to those preparing for the IB Theatre course. Students can take the course multiple times for credit, each time tackling more advanced material or working on different aspects of dramatic arts. 
Freshman – PG elective

PAiNTING (FALL AND SPRING)

In this introductory class, students will learn to accurately discern relationships of shape, form, color and value, and to interpret this information through the various paint mediums. Through a series of class projects on canvas board, prepared paper and other suitable surfaces, students will explore various approaches to the use of water color, acrylic and tempera paint. Attention will be placed on the development of disciplined technical skills, such as paint handling and application, as well as the exploration a of painting’s potential as a medium of communication and creative visual expression. There is no pre-requisite for this class though knowledge of how to draw will be helpful. Students taking this class should come with a willingness to explore and work hard.
Freshman – PG elective

DRAWING (FALL AND SPRING)

This is an introductory class that will focus on drawing as a means of visual inquiry. Students will learn about gesture, contour line, positive and negative space, visual space, shadow and light, composition and perspective. They will use these methods in rendering the still-life, landscape, live model, and self-portrait. Students will learn how to manipulate pencil, ink, pastel, oil pastel, colored pencil and charcoal to successfully complete various projects. This class does not require any previous experience, only a willingness to learn and work hard.
Freshman – PG elective

ADVANCED PAINTING/DRAWING (SPRING)

Students will build on the skills they gained in the previous painting and drawing classes as they further their exploration of the materials and the potential that painting and drawing has for self-expression and communication. Painting students will continue to learn about color and color relationships by looking at and discussing the work of Josef Albers and Hans Hoffman as well as a variety of contemporary artists. Students will have the opportunity to prepare, and then work on, different surfaces such as metal, stretched canvas, paper and wood. Drawing students will have the opportunity to choose a particular medium from those explored previously (pastel, colored pencil, pen and ink, etc.) with which they will investigate further the still life, landscape and/or self – portrait.

Our focus will be on the continued development of technical skills, creative investigation and personal expression. An introductory painting/drawing class, or equal experience, is a pre-requisite for this class.  Sophomore – PG elective

CERAMICS (fall/spring)

This is an introductory studio class consisting of hand, wheel and mold methods of construction.  The course will include an examination of special hand building and wheel techniques, glaze and decoration methods, and firing processes. Students will be expected to successfully throw a bowl and cup on the wheel, as well as build a pot using the pinch, coil and slab methods. From time to time, students will be introduced to contemporary artists and their work as it relates to ceramics. They will have the opportunity to work on both functional and non-functional (decorative) ceramic pieces. Previous experience is not required for this course, only a willingness to experiment with the medium and to work hard.
Freshman – PG elective

PRINTMAKING (FALL)

In Printmaking, students will be exposed to a variety of printing processes such as mono-print, lithography, transfer, woodcut, linoleum and dry point. With these methods, students will learn how to mix various elements to achieve the correct viscosity of ink; they will learn how to apply just the right amount of ink to whatever surface they are working on, and master the ability of wiping a plate so as to achieve a good print without under or over wiping. Students will be expected to use the basic elements of art and principles of design to create two dimensional works. This will take place in a structured, yet spontaneous, environment that encourages involvement and commitment to originality and self-expression. Students will be introduced to work of past and present artists who have used various printing methods to great effect as a way to inspire creative imagination.
Freshman – PG elective

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY (FALL/SPRING)

In this course students will explore digital photography in relation to the fine arts. Students will be introduced to digital photography technology and software. Emphasis will be placed on the production and analysis of expressive and thoughtful artwork as students learn how to independently edit and print their photos. Students will be introduced to Adobe Bridge as a tool for organization and storage, and Photoshop CC as the central software tool for photo editing. Compositional tools such as framing, “rule of thirds”, light, texture, pattern, lines, symmetry, depth of field, distance, perspective, space, and balance are the center of class projects and discussions. Students will be assigned practical photographic projects using school-issued Canon DSLR cameras, as well as lectures and relevant reading materials.

Throughout the year, students will be introduced to the work of photographers, digital artists, and various sophisticated techniques in order to create work that reveals each student’s individual spirit and vision. By exploring photography and digital media, students will be able to develop a body of work that reflects a range of ideation and technical versatility. Independent research, art journals, individual and class critiques, and artistic dialogues will be used to inspire students as they work towards creating a final photographic portfolio. Projects will have certain requirements but will be open-ended enough to allow each student to develop his or her own style and mode of expression, and showcasing a high level of thought, skill and artistic vision.

Interested students may repeat this course and work on more independent projects while exploring their own photographic interests and further developing their digital media skill sets.

Freshman – PG elective

art major (honors)

This class is geared for students who are interested in applying to art and design programs for college, although any student with a strong interest and background in the arts would certainly feel at home. In this year-long course, students work to develop their portfolios by first completing a series of intensive drawing assignments. As the year progresses, the students begin working on a body of work for the end of year Art Major Show. This work should represent each student’s passion in the arts and the best of his or her abilities. Any area of art and medium is allowable, ranging from oil paint to film to architectural models, making for a lively time. Students are assessed on the quality of their work, and for the scope and enthusiasm of their efforts. This is an Honors Level class and students are expected to produce their best work. 

Senior elective

IB MUSIC SL1/SL2

This course will be taught as a two-year course with a prescribed 150 contact hours with the instructor. Each student will be required to study musical perception. SL students are then required to choose one of three options to pursue: creating music, solo performing, or group performing for an internal assessment. Students will be assessed externally by submitting a Listening Paper (musical perception questions), and a Musical Links Investigation (a written media script investigating the significant musical links between two or more pieces from distinct musical cultures). A student with little to no knowledge of music theory or experience may sign up for this course.
Junior/Senior two-year course

IB MUSIC HL1/HL2

This course will be taught over two years and will require at least 240 contact hours with the instructor. Each student will be required to study musical perception, and will be internally assessed on creating music and a solo performance. External assessment will consist of a Listening Paper (musical perception questions) and a Musical Links Investigation (a written media script investigating the significant musical links between two or more pieces from distinct musical cultures) to be reviewed by the IB organization. It is recommended that a student enrolled in this course have some experience with music theory and performance, including reading music.
Junior/Senior two-year course

IB Theater SL1/SL2, HL1/HL2

This IB Theater course is a two-year, multi-faceted theater-making course of study offered at both the HL and SL levels. The course gives students the opportunity to make theater as creators, designers, directors, and performers. It emphasizes the importance of working both individually and collaboratively as part of an ensemble, and offers the opportunity to engage actively in the creative process, transforming ideas and research into action and dramatic arts.

The IB Theater syllabus at SL and HL levels consists of three equal, interrelated areas: theater in context, theater in process, and theater presentation. All students will complete three assessments: i) director’s notebook: a log chronicling ideas on the staging of a specific play, ii) research presentation: an individual presentation outlining and physically demonstrating the research into a convention of a theater tradition, and iii) collaborative theater project: an original piece of theater collaboratively created and presented by a class ensemble. Students at the HL level will complete one further assessment, the solo theater piece, in which students research a drama theorist, identify an aspect of their theory and create/present a short solo theater performance.
Junior/Senior two-year course

SONGWRITING (FALL)

Musicians of all levels are encouraged to take this class in order to build their skills in songwriting. The course will focus on popular music, and students will be expected to explore new genres of music. Students will learn to apply musical concepts such as harmonization, chord progressions, and structure. Also studied, will be the literary aspects of writing lyrics, such as the effects of rhyme scheme and imagery. Most importantly, students will implement the important artistic process of editing and revising. Students do not need to know how to read music to succeed in this class, but it would be helpful to know some fundamentals, such as how to play an A major chord and an A minor chord. Students who complete this class are encouraged to use their new skills in the second semester’s Music Technology class. 

Freshman – PG elective

MUSIC TECHNOLOGY (SPRING)

Music technology students will gain experience using computers to record, process and mix audio. The course focuses on the fundamental skills that help musicians in any genre of music. Among those skills to be developed will be recording and editing audio, understanding and using MIDI, and using loops and digital signal processing for effects. Some familiarity with playing an instrument is recommended but not required. Students who are already comfortable with music technology will work on more advanced assignments. As a culmination to the course, each student will be expected to create recordings to be included in an end-of-year semester album. It is strongly suggested that students take the Songwriting class in the fall as an appropriate lead-in to Music Technology.
Freshman – PG elective

MUSIC SKILLS AND PERFORMANCE (FALL/SPRING)

In this comprehensive music course, students at any level will have the opportunity to improve their technique, write songs, form ensembles, and, most importantly, play music. This class is open to both beginners and experienced musicians. Each student will learn to practice and rehearse music, and motivated students may choose to participate in one of the many performance opportunities available on campus throughout the year. Music theory lessons will prepare students for AP Music Theory and IB Music. Students may take this class more than once with a more challenging curriculum; advanced musicians can continue to study their main instrument or explore a secondary instrument.  Freshman – PG elective

AP MUSIC THEORY

Students learn to analyze, realize, and harmonize figured bass in four part vocal style as well as score reduction. Students also compose melodies above a given bass line, practicing contrapuntal structure. Rules of harmony and composition from the Common Practice Period (1600 1900) are emphasized although other stylistic periods are studied. In addition to compositional skills, students gain advanced aural musicianship skills including: melodic, rhythmic, and, harmonic dictation, sight singing, transposition, and aural analysis. Homework is assigned every class period. Chapter quizzes on written compositional elements are given every week as are aural assessments. Students completing this course work will take to take the College Board AP Music Theory Exam in May.
Junior/Senior/PG elective

IB VISUAL ARTS Sl1/sl2, hl1/hl2

This course is designed to engage the student in a two-year program that will provide a wholly creative experience. By going through the proven steps and procedures most artists embrace as a vital part of the creative process, each student discovers the artist within and develops a body of work that is both personal and relevant to the current times we live in. Beginning with carefully guided assignments that rely on specific research and investigation, the student then creates work that is the result of this inquiry. Each student keeps their thoughts and ideas in an Investigation Notebook, which becomes an invaluable tool in the creative process. As a culmination of the program, at the end of the second year, each student has a formal showing of his or her work. The show is documented, and an independent investigator from the IB Programme evaluates the student’s work.

There are two options provided in IB Art: Option A students focus more on their studio work (60%) than the Investigation Notebook (40%). Option B students focus more on the Investigation Notebook (60%) than studio work (40%). Studio work involves practical exploration and artistic production. Investigation work involves independent contextual, visual and critical investigation and reflection, both visual and written. Over the two years of participating in this class, Higher Level (HL) students have a minimum of 240 hours of class time, while Standard Level students are required to have 150 hours of class time. 

Junior/Senior two-year course

DESIGN THINKING (FALL/SPRING)

In this semester-long course, PG students will be introduced to the world of product design and development, and what it means to bring an idea to the marketplace. Each assignment will be introduced as an area of possible consumer need, leaving the students with a problem to solve in the most effective way possible given the realities of demographics, markets and technology.

 These problems will be solved in two proven steps: Research and Development. The research component will be carried out by analyzing the need for a certain product and how to best produce it. Ideation will take place in the form of working sketches with ideas tested out in group critique form. A finished presentation board that demonstrates the legitimacy of a student’s product idea will be presented for approval before the next phase - developing an actual prototype.

Working in Cheshire Academy’s Maker Space, each student will construct a prototype of his or her product for display and demonstration purposes. Accurate scale drawings will be made to work from each step of the way. A variety of materials will be used to work from including foam, wood and styrene. Students will be given demonstrations in hand tool and basic power tool usage and safety. Upon completion of the model, each student will give a final sales presentation to the class before grading is to take place.

 By the end of the semester, each student should have a firm understanding of the nature of entrepreneurship and the critical importance of creative thinking in this kind of endeavor. Effective research of a topic, combined with an awareness of global trends, will make for smart solutions to the given problems. Drawing and model building skills will add to each student’s ability to make a convincing presentation. “Change by Design” by Tim Brown will be the required reading along with appropriate handouts. All materials, within reason, will be provided by Cheshire Academy. 

PG semester course

Fine & Performing Arts Department Faculty

Francois Poisson

Francois Poisson

Fine & Performing Arts Department Chair

Eunyoung DiGiacomo

Eunyoung DiGiacomo

Fine & Performing Arts Teacher

Jennifer Guarino

Jennifer Guarino

Director of the Theater Program; English Teacher; Fine & Performing Arts Teacher

Karleen Kubat

Karleen Kubat

Fine & Performing Arts Teacher

Jesse Ofgang

Jesse Ofgang

Music Teacher

Nathan Trier

Nathan Trier

Music Teacher

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Address: 890 Lorem Ipsum Street #12 San Francisco, California 65432 Phone: 123.4567.890 Business Hours: 8a-6:30p M-F, 9a-2p S-S