Specialist High Skills Major in the Visual Arts and Culture
St. Mary’s High School is the only school in Oxford County that offers a Specialist High Skills Major in the Arts. Students are able to concentrate their area of study providing a specific area of focus in their courses. Additional opportunities in training, workshops, reach ahead opportunities, co-op and links with community agencies are integrated with the students regular academic credit package. Life drawing, large scale dark room photography, ceramics, encaustic painting, illustration and animation are some of the areas where professional artists have been brought in to work with students over an extended period of time. This enriched learning experience provides a greater depth of experience than what can be offered through the regular classroom experience. Additionally fieldtrips to post secondary institutions, major art events and galleries have also been supported through this program.
Students must be registered in a grade 11 Visual Arts course which can include one of any of the following: media arts, photography, visual arts to be eligible for the program.
The Visual Arts
The Visual Arts at St. Mary’s offers students the opportunity to work with arts professionals within the classroom experience. Introductory programs such as AVI10, AVI20 and AVI30 focus on providing a broad range of art opportunities and media for students to build their skills. Drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking form the bulk of the studio work. AVI3M and AVI4M continue the development of techniques but also focuses the student on working independently and with greater latitude in their development of their work. Life drawing is introduced in class at this level. Additional work using various printmaking, painting, installation work as well as mixed media projects continue the development of the students’ studio skills. AWM4M is a portfolio development program where students work toward a final body of work. In conjunction with the instructor, students have the opportunity to select the projects and focus of the work for the semester. Although this program is key to those planning in going on in the visual arts, many students who do not plan to go on in the arts choose to take the portfolio course since it offers the opportunity to explore their own area of artistic interest. Study of contemporary artistic practices and art history support the studio projects. The final portfolio is a professionally photographed body of work that is ready for submission for post secondary institutions.