The Arts

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 :

Art 1 – Survey course that explores art theory, history and techniques through two- and three-dimensional projects, such as drawing, painting and pottery. Students will be introduced to art vocabulary as they read and write about art.
Art 2 – More complex projects involve clay pottery, sculpture, and two-dimensional designs. History will focus on specific artists. All criticism and art history will provide a stimulus for aesthetic growth.
Advanced Art – Students will work in a variety of mediums and techniques with emphasis on creative thinking and personal expression. Art criticism and art history will provide a stimulus for aesthetic growth.
AP Studio Art – This course provides the opportunity to pursue the successful completion of an Advanced Placement portfolio in two-dimensional studio art. Using an aggressive timetable and self direction, each student will explore an assortment of methods and techniques.
Clay Concentration – Clay concentration will enable more advanced students to use the medium of clay as an expressive art form, to practice a variety of hand building techniques and an opportunity to concentrate their capabilities using the potters wheel.
Advanced Drawing – The ability to draw is the basis for the creation of all other art… painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics. It enables the artist to plan/describe what he or she visualizes and helps them to fully express their intentions. In this class, we will be working from life. Some assignments might include drawing the skeleton of an animal, five views of the same object, a pile of shells or a tin can. These will not be quick sketches, but detailed drawings making objects look three-dimensional on a flat surface using line, shape and value.

Watercolor Painting – Students will be introduced to color theory, composition, and a variety of techniques as they learn to handle watercolors skillfully. Historic and contemporary watercolor paintings will be discussed and students will participate in group critiques.
Zen tangles – Zen tangling 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 our focus and create a different mood or state of mind.

Street Art / Mural Painting – Forms of street art will be investigated, including 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 may express a distinct message to the inhabitants and visitors of Erskine Academy.

Creative Nonfiction Writing – Students will read and write a variety of creative non-fiction works including personal essays, memoirs, feature articles, and biographies. We will focus on both the tools of storytelling as well as how to structure effective pieces of writing. Anyone interested in creative writing or in getting a leg up on college admission essays is encouraged to consider this course.

Wheel Throwing – In this class we will unravel the mysteries of the potter’s wheel. The fundamental techniques will be covered as you learn to center, throw and trim a variety of functional forms including cups, bowls, plates and vases. As students advance, they will refine their techniques and be challenged with more complex forms.

Digital Animation – Using digital media we will explore design, storytelling, and information architecture. Students will focus on conceptual and visual analysis as well as practical techniques for presenting ideas effectively.

Digital Animation 2 – This course is for the student with keen interest in the production of computer animations. Students will be expected to mentor first-year students and assist the teacher in demonstrating concepts. Students will also create short 3-D animations as well as construct two 2-D animated shorts. Traditional animation techniques such as roto-scoping and using a green screen also will be demonstrated. Students will have the opportunity to choose a final independent project.

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. For this course, students use mini-DV cameras and non-linear editors. Students will develop skills in project management, research and communications, design and video production.

Digital Video Production – This course will include advanced techniques in field production for commercial and educational television. Emphasis will be given to pre- and post- production stages, as well as training for independent assignments and “electronic news gathering”. Students will gain hands on experience in lighting, composition, staging, directing, on-camera announcing and interviewing. Students will also learn techniques in planning and preparing for the production process. In post-production, students learn the fundamentals of media asset management, advanced editing techniques and different delivery methods with an emphasis on video compression for the web.
Thomas College Essentials of Watching Films – 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. Successful completion of this course will qualify students to earn 3 college credits granted through Thomas College.
Photoshop – This course is offered to students who want to learn the elements of manipulation of graphics using Adobe Photoshop. Graphics manipulation projects will be featured. Use of digital camera and scanner will be incorporated into the course.
Sculpture Through Culture – Various cultures and periods of history will be explored, and we will produce a sculpture based on one of their art forms. Mixed media will be used to produce objects such as Milagros, cartouche, maracas, retablos, and oaxacan figures.

Visual Journaling – Students will develop their own styles as they work with different techniques in art and writing. This course will include watercolor, drawing, poetry and free-writing. Art will be used to expand creative writing beyond the margins of paper.
Visual Journaling 2 – This course will consist of creative writing and art assignments. Freewrite prompts will focus on self-discovery, goal-setting and aspirations of the high school student.
Painting – Students will work with a variety of mediums, tools, subjects and approaches to painting. They will explore the elements and principles of design to create another form of communication.
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.
Custom Wood Production – A list of six to eight different projects with wood will be completed. These projects will incorporate the use of all woodworking tools and machinery as well as proper techniques and work habits.
Screen Printing – Screen Printing is 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 will attain skills associated with the graphics field.
Band – Band members study a broad range of Concert Band literature. The students will be expected to understand basic music fundamentals and achieve fluency on their instruments. At the beginning of the school year Band students will be assessed on their musical abilities. Students may be encouraged to add Music Lab at the discretion of the instructor. The Band performs concerts throughout the school year. Band is open to all students with previous musical experience.
Chorus – The Chorus explores and enjoys a wide spectrum of vocal music. Students will study the basics of singing technique, style, and music theory. The Chorus performs concerts throughout the school year. Chorus is open to all students.

Audio Sounds Artists – This course will incorporate 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 You Tube channel etc.). Students will be required to fulfill listening assignments, since listening is needed to become better sound artists/engineers. Students will learn how to correctly set-up the Music Department’s sound systems and will learn about different microphone capabilities, microphone placement, and how to successfully implement the sound board.
Vocal Ensemble – One year in general chorus and an audition is required. Vocal Ensemble features a combination of a cappella and accompanied vocal repertoire. The ensemble performs concerts throughout the school year.
Percussion Explosion (audition is required) – Percussion Explosion is designed for all 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 collaborating with other music ensembles. We will 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.
Jazz Combo (Prerequisite: Incoming freshman are more than welcome to audition in the fall) – Jazz Combo is a performance class where students will study the art of jazz. Styles such as Latin, blues, funk, and standards will be explored. Students will work on their improvisational and music reading skills. The Jazz Combo performs throughout the school year.

Drama (offered every other year alternating with Introduction to Drama; prerequisite Intro to Drama or EA Theatre Club) – This class is for the experienced drama student. Each trimester will focus on a separate full-length play. Students will learn about and be expected to make decisions and prepare such theater necessities as acting, blocking, costume creation, set creation, lighting, and make-up for each show. Students will be required to spend some time after school hours rehearsing and preparing for the shows.

Creative Writing – Creative Writing will allow students to 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.
Speech and Debate – This course is 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 will be trained in the 11 National Forensic League speech categories as well as in the fundamentals of Public Forum debate. We will explore a variety of literary genres for interpretation and oral delivery and stress the use of voice, enunciation, and expression.
Interior Design – The course will introduce students to a variety of topics concerned with creating a pleasing environment. The course will explore the effective use of various decorating choices and stress the importance of organization.