In Middle School, the visual arts are a combination of both process and product. The students work with two-dimensional and three-dimensional art in Grades 6 and 7, using a variety of media such as plaster, slip, and clay to create either masks or relief sculptures. They work in two dimensions with one- and two-point perspective drawings or cooperative griddings. In Grade 8, the focus is on improving drawing skills using exercises from Dr. Betty Edwards’ book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, which culminates in a portrait done in pencil. Each Middle School grade level has one day a week of Art History instruction, with lectures and slides introducing them to modern painting styles from Impression through Cubism and Surrealism. There also are trips to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and occasionally to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to supplement classroom learning.
Woodworking and 3D Design is a unique program for Middle School students that gives them the opportunity to work with their hands, to create something, and to see a product that is both functional and physical. In addition to learning about shop safety and shop rules, students gain knowledge of cutting edges (saws, drills, and planes), assembling, finishing, design, and layout. Students complete a variety of challenging projects: fifth graders build prototypes, sixth graders construct containers, and seventh and eighth graders create furniture.