Visual Arts

The art department of the Spartanburg Day School engages student in all aspects of visual expression: creation, art history, aesthetics and art criticism. We seek to convince all students of their creative potential as intelligent viewers, perceptive critics and sensitive interpreters of the arts in addition to providing students a nurturing environment in which to produce art.

It is our view that all areas of study profit from lively, creative vision and imagination. Giving our students lessons with art materials, tools, techniques and experiences with creative explorations allows students to develop this valuable part of becoming productive human beings.


Introduction to Art

This class provides an exploration into a variety of art disciplines including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and ceramics. Students will investigate these various art materials and concepts as they develop their ability to make visual images. Weekly studio exercises and assigned projects will introduce different methods of creative making. Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of the theoretical basis of the art forms studied including knowledge of a variety of styles, developments and ideas that have shaped the arts across time and cultures.

Studio Art

Studio Art builds on the skills mastered in Introduction to Art, but the emphasis is on conceptual and expressive work in addition to improving optical drawing techniques. The exploration of artists of the past and present and of other cultures continues to enrich and inform student work.

AP Studio Art

This course is for the highly motivated and confident art student. A student that has accumulated 12 or more exceptional works in earlier classes is a good candidate for this course of study. In this course, art students must clearly articulate an area of concentration and produce works in a series throughout the year. AP Studio Art students rarely can complete the work during class time and will need to schedule time to work beyond the regular school day. A portfolio of 24 slides and 5 works of art must be sent for national judging in May.

AP Art History

This course is for the highly motivated and enthusiastic art/history student and is specifically designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement art history exam. This course surveys global art from the time of Paleolithic humans to the current trends of art in our everyday life. We study art in context of the socio-economic and political conditions of the time in which it was produced and discuss how these pieces still speak to us today. (This course may serve as a credit in either art or history.)

Introduction to Digital Photography

This is a semester course that will introduce students to the basic processes and techniques of working with digital imagery. The course covers camera and lens operation, shooting styles, image adjustments and corrections using editing software, such as Photoshop and Lightroom, digital photo printing, photographic history, composition, and photography's social impact. Students will practice using photography as a creative tool for self-expression and exploration and documentation of the world around them. This is a hands-on course that may require additional supplies. A digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera is encouraged.

Global Art Appreciation

This course will investigate art making from a whole world perspective. This course reflects recent scholarship that emphasizes critical analysis of works of art and understanding of relationships among global artistic traditions. Students will develop skills in critical thinking, visual analysis and contextual analysis. Students may take either semester or both.

Semester One: Global Prehistory, Ancient Mediterranean, Early European and Colonial Americas, Indigenous Americas

Semester Two: Africa, West and Central Asia, South, East and Southeast Asia, The Pacific, Global Contemporary.