The arts are ubiquitous at VVS and integrated into all we do. Walk into Brady Hall and you’ll probably see a student at the Steinway in the foyer, maybe the dance team will be working out some choreography on the stage or a Rock Band member might be working on perfecting a drum solo in one of the music rooms.
At VVS we encourage students to experience a variety of art classes. Underclassmen explore photography, ceramics, drawing, painting, music and theatre in their freshman and sophomore years, thereby discovering a passion which they can pursue in greater depth during their years in the IB. We are committed to this variety of opportunities because we strongly believe that development of the creative potential is a crucial aspect of nurturing a well-rounded individual, and that the ability to understand, appreciate, enjoy and create art is a gift.
“I love art because with every pencil line you, the artist, get a new chance to create something amazing. And the best part is that it doesn’t even have to be amazing to everyone – if it’s amazing to you, that’s enough.”
– Jordan Murray, Class of 2010
Master teacher Jeff Perkins, photography and ceramics, says, “The students really do have freedom of expression. We encourage the freedom to make whatever you want to make. I always tell the kids ‘Making art is the only place where you are totally in charge of your life.’”
In the arts we put the philosophies of VVS and the IB into action by engaging students in the act of creation. The courses are designed to ignite passions, and provide the skills needed for success. We strive for excellence in the arts, grounding our studies in an understanding of history, techniques, and practitioners from the discipline. We believe arts literacy is key to leading an exceptional life.
With our own recording studio and a dedication to playing live, VVS is a great place to study music. Our Rock Band and Jazz Band practice often and play concerts at the school, in Sedona and compete regionally. Introductory music classes focus on fundamental concepts and the skills needed to be a well-rounded and knowledgeable musician. Concepts covered include instruments, sound, music rudiments, musicianship skills, listening, and music technology. VVS has guitars, keyboards and percussion instruments available for use. IB Music focuses on music theory, Western classical music, Jazz, world music, instruments, sound, music rudiments, score reading, music analysis, musicianship skills and basic music technology.
Our Theatre Department puts on three major productions each year – the underclassman one-acts, a fall IB production, and the always highly anticipated all-school spring musical where auditions are open to each member of our community. In underclassmen classes, students are introduced to the basics of theatre-making, largely through games and exercises designed to expand the use of the body and voice and awareness of the aspects of performance as an actor and ensemble and learn some aspects of production. IB Theatre is organized into the exploration of three categories of experience: Theatre in the Making focuses on the creation and experience of theatre through games and exercises which develop skills; Theatre in Production requires students to employ these skills in performance, and to learn about the “behind-the-scenes” and technical aspects of production; and Theatre in the World introduces students to theatre practices from diverse cultures and time periods.
The Art Studio is a bustling place, and you can find student and graduate work all over our campus. Underclassman drawing is designed for beginning art students and offers a variety of approaches to freehand drawing including drawing from still life, perspective drawing, and oversize drawing. Underclassmen painting introduces basic tools, skills, and techniques used in oil painting, including color theory, color mixing, and composition. Each project culminates in a group critique which enables students to refine their visual vocabulary and learn to analyze, describe and interpret artwork.
Students who chose IB Visual Arts work on assignments that explore different styles, techniques, and subjects, and record their studio progress and processes in their Investigation Work Books (IWB), which document their self-guided research into artists, art history, and techniques. In the second year, students work on independent projects, guided by their own interests. Throughout the course, students will be assessed on their improvement in technique, concepts, planning, pacing, research, and response to criticism. The course concludes with a final art show in Avery Gallery.
In our ceramics studio students learn basic throwing, hand building and glazing techniques. As the class progresses, students work on mugs, plates, lidded pieces, teapots and learn how to glaze and fire their pieces, using both high fire and raku techniques.
Students in IB Ceramics become competent in throwing, hand building and a variety of glazing techniques. They concentrate on sculptural pieces and learn advanced glazing and firing techniques including those for stoneware, raku and pit firing.
Photography students learn about the various parts of the camera, its operation in both manual and automatic modes, how to develop film in order to get a good quality negative, and how to make a beautiful black and white print with full tonal range.
IB photo students learn advanced printing and toning techniques and have the opportunity to use different camera formats, such as the 2-1/4 and the 4+5 view camera. As in other art classes, each student has an IWB to record their journey, containing ideas, sketches, photos, independent research, personal reflection and writings about the class.