The Arts

Lori Anne Pinette Memorial Piano Scholarship

Erskine Academy offers many visual, audio, and performance fine arts, which are listed in greater detail in each year’s Student Guidebook. Below is a sampling from the 2015–16 school year:

by Olivia Leary ’16


Advanced Art – Students work in a variety of mediums and techniques with emphasis on creative thinking and personal expression.

Advanced Drawing – The ability to draw is the basis for the creation of all other art—painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics. Students work from life, such as drawing the skeleton of an animal, five views of the same object, a pile of shells, or a tin can.

AP Studio Art: 2-D Design Portfolio – Provides the opportunity for students to pursue the successful completion of an Advanced Placement portfolio in two-dimensional studio art.  Each student completes the course with a digital or slide portfolio and participates in a final presentation of works.

Architectural Drafting – Topics include history of architectural styles and principles of good floor plan design, as well as execution of a complete set of plans and construction of a scale model.

Art 1 – Students explore art theory, history and techniques through two- and three-dimensional projects such as drawing, painting and pottery. Students are introduced to art vocabulary as they read and write about art.

Art 2 – Offers more complex projects involve clay pottery, sculpture and two-dimensional designs. Art history focuses on specific artists. Art criticism and history provide a stimulus for aesthetic growth.

Basics of Sculpture Through Culture -Various cultures and periods of history are explored, and students produce a sculpture based on one of their art forms. Mixed media is used to produce objects such as milagros, cartouche, maracas, retablos, and oaxacan figures.

Clay Concentration – Enables more advanced students to use the medium of clay as an expressive art form to practice a variety of hand building techniques and is an opportunity to concentrate their capabilities using the potter’s wheel.

Custom Wood Production – Six to eight different projects with wood will be completed. These projects incorporate the use of all woodworking tools and machinery as well as proper techniques and work habits.

Interior Design – Introduce students to a variety of topics concerned with creating a pleasing environment. Students explore the effective use of various decorating choices and learn the importance of organization.

Painting – Students work with a variety of mediums, tools, subjects and approaches to painting. They explore the elements and principles of design to create another form of communication.

Screen Printing – An introductory level class bringing students an awareness of the printed graphics industry. Through the use of coating tools, 2-ply film, silk-screens, and textile inks, students attain skills associated with the graphics field.

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Pottery wheel demonstration during art show

Street Art / Mural Painting – Forms of street art are investigated with discussions about and encounters with street photography, graffiti, sculpture, installation art, art vandalism, underground art, urban sound projects and large-scale projections, with an aim to understand how such art forms came into being and how they can express a distinct message to the inhabitants and visitors of Erskine Academy.

Visual Journaling – Students develop their own styles as they work with different techniques in art and writing. This course includes watercolor, drawing, poetry and free writing. Art is used to expand creative writing beyond the margins of paper.

Visual Journaling 2 – Consists of creative writing and art assignments. Free write prompts focus on self-discovery, goal-setting and aspirations of the high school student.

Watercolor Painting – Exploration of watercolor with emphasis on skillful handling of the most expressive paint medium. Students are introduced to color theory, composition, and a variety of techniques.

Wheel Throwing – Students unravel the mysteries of the potter’s wheel. Fundamental techniques are covered as students learn to center, throw and trim a variety of functional forms including cups, bowls, plates and vases.

Zentangles® – Zentangling is a relaxing and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns using pens and pencils. The process is a meditative art form that can increase one’s focus and create a different mood or state of mind.

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Production of “Annie”, 2015


Advanced Drama – For the experienced drama student. Each trimester focuses on a separate full-length play. Students learn about and be expected to make decisions and prepare such theater necessities as: acting, blocking, and costume creation, set creation, lighting, and make-up for each show.

Classic Films – History and Critique – 50’s & 60’s – Like novels, good films reflect changing social values and issues. Students view a variety of films from the 50’s and 60’s, learn the elements of valid criticism, compare filmmaking techniques, and discuss the historical and artistic relevance of those films.

Creative Non-Fiction Writing – Students read and write a variety of creative non-fiction works including personal essays, memoirs, feature articles, and biographies. Students focus on the tools of storytelling as well as how to structure effective pieces of writing.

Creative Writing – Students design and write poetry, short stories, and a play reflecting their gained understanding of devices such as personification, characterization, imagery, simile/metaphor, narrative voice, etc.

Dance – Consists of learning and actively participating in various types of dance. The focus is on modern dance, line dancing, ethnic, square, decade, and popular fad dances. Students learn daily dance exercises, basic dance movements, and steps. The class covers choreography and the history of dance. Students are required to choreograph their own routines and teach them to the class.

Essentials of Watching Films, Thomas College – Many people go to the movies as a means of momentary escape from everyday reality. Films, however, can lead the viewer out of the theater and back into the midst of reality, where the human spirit delights, suffers, triumphs, and fails as it encounters life. The challenge for the movie-goer is to develop an “eye” that can perceive how cinematic elements (camera shots, angles, lighting, etc.), narrative technique, and dramatic performance are employed to reveal understanding of the human condition. This course aims at helping film viewers develop eyes of perception, so they can appreciate the insights into the human drama offered by the movies they watch. Successful completion of this course qualifies students to earn three (3) college credits granted through Thomas College.

Introduction to Drama – For the beginning drama student interested in the performance and backstage functions of putting on a show. Students learn the basics of acting, blocking, costume creation, set creation, lighting, and make-up for the stage.

Speech and Debate – Designed for, but not limited to, students who would like to compete on the Speech Team and be introduced to the basics of debate. Students are trained in the 11 National Forensic League speech categories as well as in the fundamentals of Public Forum debate. Students explore a variety of literary genres for interpretation and oral delivery  with stress on the use of voice, enunciation, and expression.


Digital Animation – Using digital media, students explore design, storytelling, and information architecture. Students focus on conceptual and visual analysis as well as practical techniques for presenting ideas effectively. Topics include major 20th century graphic styles; symbols and themes; narrative structures; storyboards; information design; and visual delivery techniques.

Digital Animation 2 – For the student with a keen interest in the production of computer animations. Students are expected to mentor first year students and assist the teacher in demonstrating concepts. Students create short 3-D animations as well as construct two 2-D animated shorts. Traditional animation techniques such as roto-scoping and use of a green screen are demonstrated.

Digital Video Production – This course includes advanced techniques in field production for commercial and educational television. Emphasis is given to pre- and post- production stages, as well as training for independent assignments and “electronic news gathering.” Students gain hands-on experience in lighting, composition, staging, directing, on-camera announcing and interviewing.

Filmmaking – Production – The purpose and goal of this course is to understand and develop skills in digital filmmaking. Students learn to shoot and edit their own productions, as well as view and discuss both professional and student work. Examples are chosen to show how one conveys ideas by means of images and sound, including experimental work, fiction and non-fiction film. Students use mini-DV cameras and non-linear editors. Students develop skills in project management, research and communications, design and video production.

Photoshop – Offered to students who want to learn the elements of manipulation of graphics (pictures and photographs) using Adobe Photoshop™. Graphics manipulation projects will be featured as well as the use of digital cameras and scanners. Students edit and/or combine images to produce various graphic designs and layouts. Examples include advertisements for magazine articles, magazine or book cover pages, or restaurant menu covers.

Jazz Band performance


Audio Sounds Artists – This course incorporates group and individual projects, focusing on the three disciplines of audio recording/engineering: amplifying live music, digital recording (via laptop), and internet work (i.e., uploading, sound cloud, building YouTube channels, etc.). Students learn how to correctly set up the Music Department’s sound systems, about different microphone capabilities and microphone placement, and how to successfully implement the sound board.

Band – Band members study a broad range of concert band literature. The students are expected to understand basic music fundamentals and achieve fluency on their instruments. At the beginning of the school year, band students are assessed on their musical abilities. Students may be encouraged to add Music Lab at the discretion of the instructor.

Chorus – Chorus explores and enjoys a wide spectrum of vocal music. Students study the basics of singing technique, style and music theory. The Chorus performs concerts throughout the school year and is open to all students.

Jazz Combo – A performance class where students study the art of Jazz. Styles such as Latin, blues, funk and standards are explored. Students work on their improvisational and music reading skills. The Jazz Combo performs throughout the school year. Incoming freshman are encouraged to audition in the Fall.

Music Lab – Designed to assist students with their musical advancement within the Erskine music program. Students study material directly related to the District III Auditions/Festivals, All-State Auditions/Festivals, as well as College Auditions and/or Erskine concert performances. Music Lab enriches and elevates the level of the Erskine Academy Music Department.

Percussion Explosion – Audition required. Designed for students with previous musical knowledge and those who can read music notation, Percussion Explosion is a performing ensemble that performs on its own as well as collaborates with other music ensembles. Students explore the varied world of percussion instruments, styles and repertoire. Although Percussion Explosion is a performance-based class, general music and theory knowledge will be learned.

Vocal Ensemble – Features a combination of a cappella and accompanied vocal repertoire. The ensemble performs concerts throughout the school year.