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Visual Arts • Music • Theater
2-D Foundations Studio (Drawing & Painting)
Students in this course have the opportunity to express themselves in drawing, painting, and printmaking techniques. Studio work will include portraiture and life drawing from professional models, and students will have ample opportunity to practice outdoor landscape drawing. Projects include both assigned and independent, student-initiated pieces in traditional and contemporary formats.
3-D Foundations Studio (Sculpture)
In this course, students will explore sculpture techniques using a variety of materials, including clay, wood, metal, and found objects. The class provides time for skill development, which supports students’ independent work.
Photography & Graphic Design
In this course, students will use digital cameras as well as regular photographic equipment, scanners, printers, and computers to explore current technology in photography and learn about good photographic composition. They will also produce projects that synthesize the elements and principles of visual design (such as balance, contrast, line, and color), using both traditional and digital methodology. In addition to pens, paper, ink, and other two-dimensional media, new tools to be explored include digital cameras, scanners, and Adobe software (Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator).
In this course, students work with clay and glazes in both functional and sculptural projects. They acquire the basic skills required to throw simple forms on the potter’s wheel and work with slabs and coils to construct hand-built forms. Many specific projects are assigned, but time will always be available for students to work on projects of their own design.
In this year-long course, students will work on a variety of assigned and independent projects, using both hand and power tools. Examples of projects include bowls, plates, and lamps (lathe work), tables and chairs, jewelry, mask tools, and sculpture. Some of the techniques we explore include lamination, steam bending, jig design and construction, and mechanical drawing. Interest, imagination, and perseverance are the essential ingredients needed for this course.
Publications & Promotional Design
Formerly Yearbook, Publications & Promotional Design will teach students the fundamentals of desktop publishing with the Adobe Creative Suite. Students will produce the annual Catlin Gabel Yearbook and will also produce a variety of promotional materials for school events including programs for plays and music concerts, posters for guest speakers, and more.
In this year-long course, students will learn the fundamentals of video production, including lighting, cinematography, sound recording, and editing. Although the class is intended for the novice filmmaker, experienced students are welcome, and projects will be adapted to challenge their individual skill levels. Class time will be primarily devoted to student- and instructor-designed projects that may include video poetry, music videos, public-service announcements, short features, and documentary projects. Our emphasis will be on developing projects from concept (preproduction) through construction (production and postproduction) to culmination (screening).
Citizen Stories: Investigating Race, Class and Culture in Portland
In this integrated History / Media Arts course, students will develop and lead projects to examine the way our city serves its population across demographic categories. Students will be given a foundation in documentary film, photography and audio production to capture stories from the community about race, class and cultural issues. We will read, watch and hear from class speakers on the development of city policies that govern access to education, housing and health services. Texts for the class will include official city planning documents as well as historic accounts of different eras in the city. Through thorough research of both texts and personal narratives we aim to gague the origin of current policy, examine how our city has (de)evolved over time, and chart how we can impact the future
Juniors enroll in the spring term and continue into the fall term of their senior year.
Formerly Honors Art Seminar, Honors Portfolio is a graded, studio based course where advanced arts students in fine arts (drawing, painting, sculpture) and digital arts (photography, graphic arts, and multimedia / video art) can meet with a team of instructors who will mentor them as they develop portfolios for college admission. Student artists are given creative prompts to work through based on trends in contemporary and historical artistic practice. Students collaborate and critique one another's work in bi-weekly seminars and meet one on one with teachers for instruction in technique. This is a rigorous course requiring a dedication to studio practice outside of assigned class meeting time.
NON-HONORS OPTION: Studio Projects
Students interested in the studio work, but not in the portfolio preparation may enroll on a space-available basis to take the class as a pass/fail (non-honors) option.
Genres (honors level)
This honors art course is designed for juniors and seniors who are advanced media production students. Participants will learn about various documentary and narrative film genres and will produce short, scripted films based on content developed in their English classes. This class will meet two times per week for the entire year; upon completion, students will receive one full credit. Prerequisite: Media Arts or the equivalent, or consent of the instructor.
Knight Family Scholar Seminar – Leadership and Art (honors level, offered Fall 2013)
Monet, Picasso, Andy Warhol, Coco Chanel, Frank Lloyd Wright, Isadora Duncan, Georgia O’Keeffe, Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, John Lennon. The word “leader” often conjures up images of presidents, powerful businessmen, or military commanders, but these and others have used creativity and art to lead. This course explores how artists from all disciplines and media are also leaders in society. Students discover what makes a leader in the 21st century, consider the role of creativity in leadership, and explore how artists can combine their unique leadership and artistic skills to play an important role in society. Students will be placing art in a historical context and creating their own artisticinspirations in the studio.
Knight Family Scholar Seminar – Design Thinking (honors level, offered Spring 2014)
The world is filled with large, ambiguous problems. And leadership is changing. It’s not about having all the answers – it’s about finding the answers with other people. Tackling those problems means developing the ability to think creatively, build a team, prototype, pitch ideas, and change on the fly in response to shifting conditions. Students will work collaboratively in groups throughout the semester to solve problems based on the design thinking model. This course will expand on the “Design Your Own Shoe” winterim and instead of working through the entire process in one week, students will have a several weeks to solve a problem.
Digital Photography (Global Online Academy, Fall 2013)
Photography can be a powerful and persuasive tool. This course is designed for students to learn how to give an emotional context to social, political, environmental, and global issues through photography. Students will learn how to prepare for and execute specific types of photographs, as well as the technical elements of digital editing. While students work on photo-based projects they will simultaneously engage in discussions about such topics as the appropriate use of Photoshop, or the ethics of digital advertising. Students will be given opportunities to interpret specific global issues through their own photographs. In addition to taking photographs, students will write descriptions and reflections about their photographs, and give constructive feedback on their peers’ work. Note: Students must have access to a digital camera. Note: This online elective course cannot be used to meet Catlin Gabel's Arts requirements.
Graphic Design (Global Online Academy, Spring 2014)
This course will explore the relationship between information and influence from a graphic design perspective. What makes a message persuasive and compelling? What helps audiences and viewers sort and make sense of information? Using an integrated case study and design-based approach, this course aims to deepen students’ design, visual, and information literacies. Students will be empowered to design and prototype communication projects they are passionate about. Topics addressed will be: principles of design & visual communication; infographics: the art of making information accessible; digital search skills; networks and social media; persuasion and storytelling with multimedia; and social activism on the internet. Student work will include individual and collaborative group projects, graphic design, content curation, some analytical and creative writing, peer review and critiques, and online presentations. Note: This online elective course cannot be used to meet Catlin Gabel's Arts requirements.
Be part of a voice for your school. Sing choral works from every era, in multiple languages and numerous styles. Create something greater through choral communication.
Utilizing the textbook Worlds of Music we will study music from cultures predominantly outside the United States. Each unit will have an in-class non-public performance component, such as taking a field trip to Lewis and Clark College to play with their Balinese Gamelan Orchestra. For every day that is a lecture-based, informative session, there will be a component class that involves creating the music we are learning about.
Students will be given tools to create music ranging from electronic computer programs, learning the basics of guitar and piano, basic music theory, song writing and poetry structure and utilization of other musicians or producing. The course will be project based designed around creation of compositions.
Intermediate and advanced instrumental students have the opportunity to study and perform jazz literature. Typical instrumentation includes trumpet, trombone, clarinet, flute, saxophone, electric or string bass, guitar, piano, and drums. Instructor approval is required.
Music Theory and Digital Composition (Global Online Academy, Fall 2013)
This course focuses on the building blocks of music (scales, chords, keys, intervals, harmonic relationships, rhythm and meter) with the ultimate goal of helping students create compositions of their own. Students will use a variety of online resources to build their skills and to learn to create and arrange music using various digital media. The intent is for students to craft their own work without resorting to pre-determined, canned, digital samples, but rather to draw from their own intellect musical tools that can be written down, tweaked, and ultimately performed and recorded. Class members will share their work with others online, offer peer feedback in conjunction with faculty guidance, and begin building a body of their own compositions. Note: This online elective course cannot be used to meet Catlin Gabel's Arts requirements.
Intro to Acting
Members of this class will experience an orientation to the world of the theater, including nomenclature, history, and theater criticism. Students will also explore techniques of mime, mask, voice, movement, and improvisation. Acting will be investigated through script analysis and scene study. Students will experiment with the writing of original monologues. Open to all students.
Advanced Acting / Theater Theory
A continued study of acting technique, building on the foundations of "Intro. to Acting," this course will include scene study and improvisation work, as well as the basics of theater theory. We will read some of the great theater thinkers, discuss their ideas, and examine the roots of modern acting technique. Includes a performance element, theater analysis, and some beginning directing work.
Dance and Movement Studies
Explore a variety of movement styles, ranging from ballet and modern dance to tap, yoga, and devised movement. Incorporating a mix of practical studio time with study of style and choreography, this class will offer the opportunity to expand your personal movement capabilities, while analyzing the historical and stylistic roots of different movement types. Will include an element of performance, as well as some research, dance analysis, and choreography.
Applied Theater Concepts
This course is an introduction to many aspects of theater, including makeup, mask-making, costume adaptation, sound editing, the projected image, prop construction, set design, and qualities of light. In the latter part of the year, each student will identify an area of concentration. The course requires participation in two mainstage productions and the Director’s Festival of One-Acts. Each student will also attend one performance experience per semester and will maintain an electronic learning portfolio of the work of the class. Open to all students.
Theatrical Lit / Directing
Starting at it's most basic level, this course will provide an opportunity to delve into the mechanics of artistic theater-making. Gain an understanding of theater history by reading a selection of formative plays, and study the building blocks of directing. Students will discover new styles of theatrical literature, and learn how to select a play, cast it, and put it through rehearsal. This course will include play reading and analysis, as well as practical direction of actors and production of a one-act play for performance. Open to juniors and seniors.
An introduction to basic stagecraft and set construction, this course exposes students to the application of lighting and sound as production elements. Weekend and after-school work is required. Open to all students.
In this course, students will explore various areas of theater production, including directing, playwriting, costume design, and lighting design. Open to juniors and seniors.
Advanced Play Production (honors level)
In this course for the serious student of theater, each student chooses a specialized area of theatrical production (such as directing, playwriting, costume design, lighting design, or theater history) to study in an immersion approach. During the course-selection process, applicants must complete an interview with the instructor and gain approval of a proposed learning plan. Consent of the instructor is required.
Independent study in the arts is for students to extend their learning beyond the two-year arts requirement of the Upper School. It is not possible to substitute a non-Catlin arts course for something already offered in the curriculum to meet academic requirements. For example, it is not possible to take a beginning acting course at the NW Children’s Theater for academic credit at Catlin. It is the school’s belief that engagement in two years of on-campus arts experiences furthers our mission to educate the ‘whole student’ and enables students to build a well-rounded understanding of themselves as artists, learners and community members. The Arts Department offers two types of independent study. The first is a school-faculty facilitated study where the student pursues learning in an arts discipline that goes beyond current course offerings. Past examples have included honors visual arts students who wish to add portfolio-relevant ceramics to their portfolio and thus pursue study with the ceramics instructor, or a filmmaking student who wishes to produce a documentary on a topic of their choosing in partnership with a Catlin media instructor. For the majority of these students, their commitment to deepening their knowledge in an arts area and/or exploring new terrain requires the student to write a prospectus, research an area of study and maintain an ongoing commitment to studio practice or rehearsal in collaboration with Catlin faculty. These students are thus awarded a full academic credit. The second opportunity is a faculty-supervised pursuit of advanced study in the arts outside of Catlin Gabel. Typically students engaged in advanced instrumental study seek this option. Occasionally a student may pursue something outside the academic curriculum along the lines of darkroom photography. These students generally practice their artform with an organization outside of school and the level of their in-school engagement is limited to a periodic check-in with a supervising faculty and two community performances / exhibitions per calendar year. For these students, they may earn .5 credit per academic year. Any student engaged in an independent study is required to maintain a weekly blog, documenting their work in process in order to remain metacritical about their artistic growth and to maintain transparency with supervising faculty. Finally, individual teachers have the right to decline to supervise an independent study if a student’s proposal does not fall within one of the two paradigms above and/or if supervision / instruction of the independent study takes the instructor appreciably beyond their teaching load.
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