Over the centuries art and artists have provided work that both affirms and questions the values of the society from which they come. Students examine the work and analyze it with regard to the time and events that produced it. Working with art in this way adds a rich layer of understanding of the political and social movements that shape nations. Students connect the visual image to the poetic image to the historical image and circle back again, broadening and deepening their perspective of the world around them.
The academic impact of deep art experiences is revealed in the study entitled “Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement” commissioned by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the Arts Education Partnership. Joining art study with other core content areas allows for what cognitive psychologists identify as “transfer”: the notion that “learning in one context assists learning in a different context.” Our students have distinguished themselves in contests, in classrooms, and in community service. We believe that it is the systemic integration of art and art history that has developed their thoughtful response to school and society.
The sketch program asks students to create a drawing per week based on the classical principle of using light to create form, continuously developing and applying techniques passed down from the old masters.
Art is required as a core subject area at The Thaddeus Stevens School, which means that each student in grades five through eight spends three periods per week, two hours and fifty minutes, engaged in the study and production of art.
The elementary grades study the fundamentals of art to acquire a foundation for the more comprehensive study and practice in the upper grades.