The Visual and Performing Arts Program at Stuart provides outstanding arts curriculum with an emphasis on essential skill building, design and process-based education using innovative technology, visual and performing art history, aesthetics, and critical thinking. We strongly believe the arts are vital as an essential academic experience for the achievement of human, social, and aesthetic growth.
The program embraces all learning styles, cultural intelligence, encouraging teamwork, creative problem solving, and fostering leadership skills at all grade levels.
In Upper School Art, students develop skills and work toward a personal voice through projects in a wide variety of media. Art history is included in every class as it relates to specific projects. After taking Foundations of Art, students may choose to take trimesters in studio (drawing, painting, and printmaking), in ceramics workshop, or in photography. These trimester courses are prerequisites for the year-long Advanced Studio, AP Studio and Honors Photography.
In the Upper School Music department, we provide opportunities for students to refine their music theory, music history, and performance skills to the highest echelon of their choosing. The Choirs perform challenging choral music from Baroque to Contemporary styles. Music theory and appreciation electives are offered at basic and intermediate levels, and AP Music Theory is a full-year course offered for students interested in college-level theory.
- The Tartantones
- Foundations of Music Theory
- Foundations of Music History/Appreciation
- Intermediate Music Theory/History
- AP/Honors Music Theory
- Instrumental Music
In Intermediate Music Theory/History, students expand basic music theory knowledge to include major and minor scales, intervals, counterpoint, and traditional melody and harmony. Students analyze these concepts via historical music examples and discuss their usage within the music history spectrum. Students compose their own 2, 3 and 4 voice pieces.
The Stuart Instrumental Ensemble for strings, winds and brass, is conducted by the Westminster Conservatory of Music at no charge to students in Middle and Upper School. The Ensemble will rehearse on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:00 pm in the Music Library in Cor Unum at Stuart. Students must be able to commit to a weekly rehearsal schedule and are strongly encouraged to take lessons from a private teacher.
The Westminster Conservatory of Music also offers music classes after school for students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 at our brother school, Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart.
TheaterAll The World’s A Stage
Upper School theater courses are in Acting, Directing, Musical Theater and Stagecraft. All Theater Classes include script analysis, character development, theater vocabulary, performance and critique. Theater History and techniques from Adler, Stanislavsky, Guthrie, are also discussed. A class in Public speaking is offered each trimester.
FilmNobody Puts Baby in the Corner
This unique art form incorporates Art and technology. Cinematography is analyzed for content as a visual language. An appreciation for directorial choices is explored in aesthetics and in several genres. Students create two short films using iMovie for editing.
Middle school art focuses on skills development, building confidence and increasing imagination through a series of projects. Students explore various media, two dimensional design, and three dimensional sculpture.
The first project focuses on scale and perspective related to landscape painting. The landscape collage begins with a lesson about scale and perspective. Students choose a master landscape artist from whom to draw inspiration. Each student studies a chosen painting in a series of drawings. The final composition is a painted paper collage showing scale and overlapping to convey depth.
Concepts:perspective, horizon line, scale and overlapping
Skills: painting, drawing, cutting and gluing.
Art history: landscape and seascape painters and printmakers
The second project is a texture sampler. Students explore various printmaking and drawing methods to capture visual textures. Each student designs a shape or unit as a template to trace on all her textures. She creates textures using rubbing, printmaking and computer generated methods. She then cuts out each texture and composes a “creative” grid while maintaining an active negative space.
Concepts: texture, grid, negative space, value, balance
Skills: printmaking, drawing, frottage, gluing, designing and composing
Art History: tessellations, mosaics, quilts, grid structures in art, modern art and graphic design
The Grade 7 project focuses on the study of one animal through various media. Students study an animal of choice through a variety of media including graphite drawing, watercolor, pastel and paper mache sculpture. They are directed to capture the gesture, proportions, textures, and colors of the chosen animal. Girls use iPads and books to find visual resources from which to study.
Concepts: gesture, color, texture, form and proportion
Skills: drawing, painting, fabricating/ construction and research
Art History: animals in art
The first project focuses on self-portraiture through various media, understanding concepts such as proportion and sculpture.
Students make a series of self-portraits using a variety of materials such as graphite, colored pencils, and watercolor crayons. Each portrait focuses on a different concept such as proportion, form, and emotional and/or symbolic color.
Concepts: proportion, form, emotional/symbolic color
Skills: drawing, painting, blending color, synthesis of idea/materials
Art History: portraits and self-portraits of artists in many cultures and in many media
Found Object Head
Students look at what is essential to convey the idea of “head”. They then begin to gather found materials to construct a head that can be viewed 360 degrees, stand on its own, and can be read as a head by the viewer.
Concept: What is essential to make a head?
Skills: construction, gluing and synthesizing disparate materials.
Art History: assemblage, found object art, sculpture, dada art (c.1910)
In the Middle School Music classroom, we expand our knowledge of music history, theory, and performance by listening to instrumental music recordings, playing the guitar, singing songs from around the world, performing a full-scale musical, and analyzing musical form and texture. The grade-level choruses prepare for two choral concerts and numerous other appearances each year. Middle School Select Chorus is offered for those students able and willing to sing challenging choral music.
Grade Five music class meets once per cycle individually and once for Chorus. The focus of the first semester is music theory, especially chords, scales, and chord progressions. The students compose their own 12 bar chord progressions, which helps them when they begin to prepare for their hand bell performance at the Veni Emmanuel Christmas Performance. Fifth and fourth grade choristers sing select pieces at performances that are age appropriate and more challenging than the unison pieces the younger students prepare.
Using their multimedia textbooks as a guide, the students listen to various instrumental ensembles, sing different songs, and play some simple percussion instruments. Each lesson is filled with theory, history, and performance references. The girls work on their own and in groups to hone their skills, compose their own rhythms and melodies, and think critically about the music.
In Music 6, we focus on a comprehensive scope of music theory, performance, and music history/appreciation. We learn these concepts by discovering and performing vocal and instrumental music from around the world.
Music Theory Concepts: rhythm, tonality, form, texture, intervals, pattern/sequences, melody, harmony, dynamics, tempo
Skills Learned: singing on pitch (solo and in ensemble), reading music on the staff
Performance Concepts: instrumental and vocal timbre, vocal range, listening and analysis, expression
Song examples: Swanee and Red River Valley (USA), El Payo and La Mariposa (Latin America), Wai Bamba (Africa), Farewell to Tarwathie (Scotland), Hava Nagila and Lo Yisa Goy (Israel), and many more.
- Visual Art in the Lower School
- Music in the Lower School
- Theater in the Lower School
- Dance in the Lower School
We offer a discipline based art program, creating projects in all mediums: painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, and photography (Grade 4) with components in art history and student critiques.
Line, color, value, texture, shape and form are explored more deeply. The concept and practice of space in two dimensional and three dimensional projects is introduced along with the principles of design of balance and emphasis. Projects include the building of Medieval castles, African textile weavings, and self-portraits.
Lower School Music is centered around musical exploration. Students explore various Orff instruments, improvise vocally and instrumentally, participate in a three year recorder program, sing collaboratively and individually, and prepare for numerous concerts. Students also learn age appropriate theory including treble clef notation, and composition. Our recorder program is conducted from Grade 1 through Grade 3. Grade 4 students participate in formal chorus classes and handbell study.
Kindergarten starts the musical process with a focus on rhythmic echoing and creation. Students participate in drum circles using various Orff instruments where they improvise rhythms within specific guidelines. Kindergartners also prepare for the Eric Carle Museum, where they set his books to music and additional holiday concerts.
Grade Three is the final year for students to play their recorder. The program at this level is much more rigorous than the younger years; third graders prepare to play a song at the Halloween Spooktacular Performance and a recorder accompaniment to the Lower School Veni Emmanuel Christmas Performance. Students also begin to study vocal practices in more detail at the third grade level.
Grade Four visits the Music Room twice a cycle; once as an individual class and once for Chorus, which includes the entire grade. The students are study musical genres in much more detail and complete composer research projects utilizing technological resources. Grade Four also begins playing hand bells in the second semester.
Grade Three is the first year students study theater. We begin the year with an introduction to early theatre history, a basic theatre vocabulary, a study of the stages used by ancient actors. We act during every class using pantomime and creative movement to tell stories independently and in small groups. In December the students present an “Open Class” and in February they perform a short play for the Lower School and their parents.
At the beginning of the 3rd tri-mester the third graders memorize and act out poems and nursery rhymes. Later they are introduced to the folk tales and theatre of a particular culture. They create masks in class and retell the stories to the Pre-School children.
Stuart offers a variety of dance classes through our Extended Day Programs including after school classes and during Stuart's Vacation Camp. We offer Preschool, JK, and Kindergarten Creative Movement/Dance class as well as a Ballet and Jazz Combination Class for Grades 1-5. Tap Dancing workshops are offered during the Vacation Camps.Learn more about Stuart's Extended Day Programs
Drawing is the first language for the preschool child. Art as a whole is recognized as a fundamental channel of communication, which allows children to express and explore emotions and imagination with a full range of materials. They learn to look carefully with discernment and to work with thoughtful intention. Colors, shapes, textures, lines, movement and space all enable creative and personal experiences which can be shared with their classmates through stories, and play.
Preschool and Junior Kindergarten students have music twice a week, once as an individual class and once in a “Group Sing” environment where all of the classes sing together. Students prepare for holiday concerts, perform on Orff instruments, start to learn Kodaly solfege and age appropriate music theory.
Creative Movement meets once a week in the Preschool and Junior Kindergarten. Through a series of movement games, exercises and songs, children develop mind/body coordination, flexibility, strength and sense of rhythm. The children perform for their parents in the Spring.