Academics

Fine Arts

Experience the Arts at Stevenson


stevenson1106_0107_LR.jpg

As a young person interested in the arts, you probably understand that it may be impossible to truly capture the quality of a fine arts program in words. This is especially true here at Stevenson where the arts are at the core of what makes Stevenson a unique place to grow and learn. Stevenson offers a rigorous academic environment where you will be surrounded by other students who also share your passion for the arts.

Symposium of the Arts



In May of 2011, Stevenson celebrated the arts through its annual Symposium event. This video captures the energy and commitment of our faculty and students to the arts. Press play arrow above to view a 14-minute video of Symposium 2011
or follow this link for a larger screen version in a separate window.

Arts News

  • Bryan Louie in New York City Music Competition


    Bryan Louie recently travelled to New York City just before finals and participated in the 2013 Mingus High School Competition and Festival. The San Francisco Jazz High School All Stars Orchestra and Combo left on Friday morning February 15, and upon their return Monday evening, their esteemed director, Mr. Paul Contos, announced that both the orchestra and combo had won the competition in a sweep. It was an extraordinary experience for all involved. Congratulations, Bryan!
    Charles Mingus Competition Results

  • Fall Play "Our Town" Photos


    Enjoy these photos by Cole Thompson from the fall play, "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder, which closed last weekend to a sold out audience.
    Slideshow of photos
    Individual photos

  • Morning Coffee House Music Performances

    Music teacher, Eddie Mendenhall, and a group of students got together recently to create a Stevenson Coffee House in the Music Department. Enjoy this four-minute video highlighting seven performances which took place there a week ago.
    Morning Coffee House video

  • Celebration of the Arts


    The Stevenson Performing Arts Department presented a "Celebration of the Arts" during Parents Weekend. This event showcased student performances of vocal and instrumental music, drama, and dance. Enjoy these photos of the event by Cole Thompson.
    Slideshow of Photos
    Individual Photos

  • Keckstock Rocks the House


    Keckstock is a new tradition at Stevenson which started last year and continues to be a much anticipated showcase of musical talent for our students and faculty. This year's event was held in Keck Auditorium on May 15 and was recorded. Four of the acts have been edited and posted on our school's video site. Check back in the next few days to see additional videos as they are completed.
    Keckstock videos

  • Spring Music Concert


    The annual Spring Music Concert took place on Friday, May 11, and featured several student musical groups including the Jazz Band, the Jazz Choir, the Chorus, the Band, the Orchestra. Enjoy these photos by Cole Thompson.
    Individual photos
    Slideshow of photos

  • Karsen Melgard Performs at Friday Assembly


    Junior Karsen Melgard performed an upbeat rendition of "If I Die Young" at Friday assembly.
    Watch a video of her performance

  • Architecture Students Get Hands-On Tour

    Students in Mr. Pratt's Architecture class toured the campus construction site of the new Barrows Hall dormitory. The class has teamed with Stevenson Building Projects Manager, Ron Herbig, to gain intimate access to the new building project. Students are studying the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) project requirements and are applying their knowledge of the building's blueprints in crafting their own models. Follow the link below for more photos

    more...
  • Student Art Show

    Student art is on display in the gallery of the Treasure Room in Rosen Center this month. This presentation showcases pastels and acrylics from students in Mr. Pratt's AP and Advanced Studio classes. It will be on display for the month of October. Follow the link below to see three images from the gallery.

    more...
  • Musical Performance by Matt McKay and Harrison Fuchs


    Assemblies on Friday mornings often feature musical performances by students. Enjoy a video of this performance by Matt McKay (vocals) and Harrison Fuchs (keyboard).

Fast Facts - Fine Arts

  • Of the 12 AP Studio Art exams taken, 92% received a passing grade. (2012)
  • A performing arts center, dance studio, ceramics studio, and an art gallery, where student works are showcased throughout the year.
  • Three theatrical performances each year, along with several additional dance and music shows. Watch videos of the recent production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night
  • A full orchestra, choir, jazz ensembles, and band. Watch videos of the Chamber Singers, and the student music concert, Keckstock
  • Students are encouraged and supported in sharing their talents with the entire student body. Watch students perform a Coldplay tune live at the weekly assembly.
  • Stevenson's radio station, KSPB-FM, is the largest student-run radio station west of the Mississippi
  • Nine dedicated faculty members

Department Chair

Stephan Pratt is the Head of the Fine Arts Department.

Course Offerings - Open Level

Art 1: Drawing & 2D

This beginning art class exposes students to the fundamentals of art. Students discover the elements of art and principles of design as well as explore the foundations of art history. Exploration in figure drawing, observational rendering, one and two point perspective and color theory are starting points for the student's creativity. Through class critiques, students evaluate their own work and analyze the work of others.

Ceramics 1

For students with a limited art background, this course introduces the techniques behind ceramics and sculpture, including use of a potter's wheel, glazing, and firing. The concepts of the additive and subtractive processes when working in clay are also emphasized. Through class critiques, students evaluate their work and analyze the work of others.

Digital Art 1

Students will embrace the computer as their primary art medium in this course, an introduction to graphic design skills using the basic components of the Adobe® Creative Suite® software program. Projects are designed to promote experiential learning by teacher demonstrations, student collaboration, and self-guided tutorials. In developing a comfort level with the digital camera, scanner, and color printer, students will manipulate digital photographs, create digital paintings and posters, and take steps in 2-D animation and film.

Film Photography 1

Students will supply their own 35mm film camera, usually priced at $200 and up. Students learn elementary skills such as loading and operating the camera and bulk-loading black and white film. From assignments throughout the year, the course emphasizes hands-on lab work; students gain confidence in changing film to reels, developing film, and printing the negatives. Each student creates a binder-style portfolio with photos and write-ups that describe his or her process in completing it.

Digital Photography 1

This is a first year course that requires the students to supply their own digital SLR camera, usually priced at $500 and up. The program offers students an opportunity to work with Adobe Lightroom for editing files, create an e-portfolio on Flickr for sharing their images, and learn basic fundamentals of composition. They will study and become familiar with camera controls, shooting techniques and digital editing workflow.

Concert Band

The concert band is the core wind and percussion ensemble, and enables students to study an instrument through band literature of various styles and levels of difficulty. Students also participate in pep band during Fall Term and perform in multiple concerts throughout the year. This ensemble is open to all levels of instrumental proficiency.

Chorus

This course, offering a wide variety of choral and musical experiences, stresses proper breathing, support, tone production, and posture while singing in four-or-more-part harmony.

String Orchestra

Orchestra is the core string ensemble and challenges students to increase their repertoire by practicing and performing literature from a variety of musical periods. This ensemble is open to all levels of string proficiency.

Guitar 1

This course is for students who wish to acquire a basic knowledge of the guitar, including tuning the instrument, knowledge of chords, finger strumming, bar chords, scales and exercises, and performance of modern, folk, and rock music.

Music Theory & Improvisation (last offered in 2013-2014)

This is a beginning course in theory, improvisation, and composition of music. Students are introduced to the elements and movement of chord structure, harmony, melody, and rhythm.

Music Appreciation (new in 2014-2015)

Music appreciation offers students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with beginning music theory, music history, and digital music composition.

Songwriting & Music Production

This course is designed to give students a chance to explore songwriting and music production in a structured and conscious way. The ability to sing, play guitar and/or piano are not required but will greatly aid the songwriting process. Using the computer as a "virtual recording studio," students will combine software based sound production with recorded audio from their compositions. Over the course of the year, students will complete at least three songs, in a variety of genres, and perform them at a showcase in the spring term as well as record their compositions. Skills in working with software will be developed along with songwriting techniques. Students will be introduced to basic digital audio theory and mic placement techniques, as well as develop skills in hard-disk recording and editing with Logic, Garage Band and other multi-track audio software. Students will collaborate as song writers and sound engineers in the process of composing music.

Musical Theater

The musical theater class is designed to develop skills in all elements inherent to the art form: acting, dancing, and singing. Students are exposed to the history and tradition of musical theater through the study of its rich repertoire.

Drama 1

Drama 1 is a yearlong class designed to introduce students to acting, directing, and technical aspects of theater. The class will focus on the exploration of critical theory, history, and performance in theater. In addition, emphasis will be placed on voice and body movement, the principles of blocking, and improvisation. This course is designed for students with little or no theatre experience and operates in the hopes of promoting the appreciation and enjoyment for all aspects of drama.

Dance 1

This class introduces ballet, modern and jazz dance. With a strong emphasis on technique, students will learn, build and master movement in a sequential, dance discipline-based class. It places emphasis on aesthetic understandings and training the body as an instrument of communication and expression. Student learning includes opportunities to develop kinesthetic awareness, proper body alignment, physical strength, flexibility, endurance, and care of the dance instrument while exploring improvisational and choreographed movement. Students also work on sequencing skills, phrasing, and body articulation as it applies to the choreography presented. No previous dance training needed.

Radio 1 -- does not fulfill the Fine Arts requirement

The Radio 1 student learns the basic operations of Stevenson’s on-campus radio station, KSPB 91.9FM. These include the history of the station and the technical equipment necessary to produce both a pre-corded, and a live, radio broadcast. Students are also introduced to KSPB’s current shows to give them idea of what it takes to create successful radio programming. This course exposes the beginning radio student to the exciting world of broadcast radio and helps to begin to develop skills necessary for effective broadcasting and public speaking.

This course does not fulfill our Fine Arts requirement.

Remote Streaming Video Production -- does not fulfill the Fine Arts requirement

In this year-long course students focus on the live webcasting of Stevenson events to increase Stevenson's visibility and global image. Students in this course will be responsible for producing and broadcasting Stevenson events that take place at various times throughout the academic year, both on and off campus. Examples of events are athletics, performing arts, parent meetings, college center events, concerts, etc. This course introduces students to the exciting world of remote broadcasting. The students will be responsible for the online streaming of Stevenson events. These productions will be available around the world in real time on our website and will allow the parents of our students to see their children perform in a variety of ways.

This course does not fulfill our Fine Arts requirement.

Communication & Media Literacy (last offered in 2013-2014) -- does not fulfill the Fine Arts requirement

At its core this required course for new ninth and tenth graders is about information and communication. In today’s world of information overload and infinite choice, how does one filter out the noise and select and evaluate sources? Conversely, how does one tell a compelling story and communicate in such a way that one’s own voice makes it through the din? Through practice, participation, collaboration, and iteration, students develop skills and experience in media, technology and information literacy, digital citizenship and ethics, online privacy and safety, digital footprint management, public speaking, and more. With an eye on the meta-skills required for successful 21st century learning and success, this course aims to develop skills that will be applicable for the lifelong learner.

This course fulfills our Communication & Media Literacy Requirement, but does not fulfill our Fine Arts requirement.

Public Speaking (new in 2014-2015)-- does not fulfill the Fine Arts requirement

This single-trimester course is required for all 9th graders and new 10th graders. It is designed to teach students the basic principles of public speaking. Through exercises, games, and formal presentations, students will learn the techniques and qualities of an effective speaker in a variety of arenas. Upon the successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
1. Effectively present a speech in front of a group with the purpose to inform, persuade, and entertain.
2. Properly organize ideas for a speech in a written outline that includes an introduction (to catch attention and pre-view topic), a body (minimum of three main ideas with supporting material), and a conclusion (to summarize and re-emphasize)
3. Demonstrate effective nonverbal language skill that enhance the oral presentation, such as hand guestures, body language, and facial expressions.
4. Demonstrate effective and appropriate vocal skills including poise, vocal variety and inflection, rate of speech, volume, and articulation
5. Understand his/her responsibilities as an audience member.
6. Demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of the listening process and to identify strategies for improving listening skills.
7. Demonstrate an understanding of the way in which speaking and communication skills effect our everyday lives.

Voice or Instrumental Music Lessons -- do not fulfill the Fine Arts requirement

Regularly scheduled private lessons are arranged by the director of music. These are taken on a pass-fail basis for half credit, and do not fulfill our Fine Arts requirement.

Course Offerings - Upper Level

Art 2: Drawing & 2D

This hands-on studio class is for students interested in developing advanced proficiency in drawing and painting. A premium is placed on observational work, including traditional easel painting and drawing of classic motifs, such as the still life, portraiture, and landscape. Modernist styles are also introduced, including cubism, abstraction, and mixed media. Students are exposed to “plein-air” field painting, as we take advantage of our beautiful local environs. Art history, when pertinent to projects, is liberally included in the curriculum. This class also helps prepare students for Advanced Placement Studio Art.

Art 2: Architecture

Through exploration and application of architectural design and techniques, students are exposed to architecture as a potential college-level pursuit and career possibility. Linear perspective drawing is practiced throughout the year, and students design and build models with accompanying plans. Basic elements of the history of architecture are introduced. Local field trips highlight impressive homes in our immediate area, and guest architects make presentations to the class. Site plans, floor plans, elevation drawings and creative designs are all part of the curriculum and are created by hand, as well as by the most recent digital software.

Art 2: Fashion

Through exposure to current publications, students become familiar with both historical and current developments in the international fashion world. Students learn to draw the “nine head” figure croquis that is central to the fashion industry, reflecting the detail, construction, texture and pattern of garments. Through original designs of garments as well as development of illustration techniques, students develop unique additions to their portfolios. The course also introduces students to the fundamentals of the sewing machine in order to construct an original, wearable garment.

Ceramics 2

In this advanced class, students expand upon skills they learned in Introductory Art-3D. Because advanced students work alongside beginners, the course encourages interactive teaching; it also helps students become technically skilled in the use of the potter's wheel and in advanced hand-building techniques. Classes make use of high-fired electric kiln glazes and alternative firing methods.

Digital Art 2

This course is for students who possess some or much proficiency in digital art. Students will develop their skills through practical activities, tutorials and instructor-led demonstrations that replicate real world situations. Large, state-of-the-art iMac computers and the most current Adobe Creative Suite® software is are provided in a newly renovated studio; students who prefer may also use their PC laptops. Digital imaging projects assigned in the course include: photo manipulation and retouch, digital painting, typography, basic 2D and 3D animation, and film applications. Assignments reflect current industry standards and are geared to develop digital/visual literacy, a diverse digital portfolio, and enhanced visual communication skills for use in higher education, in professional arts industries, and throughout life.

Film Photography 2

This is a second year program that features assignments designed to develop a sophisticated eye for seeing photographic imagery. Students begin the year printing in the 5x7 format until the midway point when they begin enlarging to 8x10. At this level, more sophisticated darkroom techniques are possible in order to take more control over the finished image. As in the beginning course, they are required to assemble a finished portfolio of images and commentary.

Film Photography 3

This is typically a third year program for students with well developed darkroom skills. They are allowed a great deal of freedom to express themselves photographically. The course also offers the student four scheduled days per week in the darkroom. Portfolios are assembled by matting finished prints and collecting them in a professional manner that they present at the conclusion of each trimester for evaluation.

Digital Photography 2

This course offers students an opportunity to work with the Adobe Creative Suite including Lightroom for the purpose of manipulating their images. With 4 class meetings per week, a considerable amount of time is spent viewing and discussing instructional tutorials. Each student is required to establish a Pro account on Flickr to serve as their e-portfolio for sharing and evaluation. Printing and finishing images on a selective basis also is an option for this group of advanced photography students.

Jazz Band

Students in concert band may also participate in this advanced instrumental ensemble. Different styles of music are rehearsed and improvisational techniques are explored. When appropriate, the group also forms smaller jazz-rock bands and jazz combos.

Chamber Singers

An ensemble of no more than 35 vocalists, this group performs a variety of vocal pieces, a cappella.

Vocal Jazz Choir

Through this course students have an opportunity to gain experience and develop a feel for vocal jazz.

String Chamber Ensemble

Students in Orchestra may also participate in the chamber ensemble, which provides an opportunity for performing in small groups such as string quartets and trios. Chamber playing demands enhanced awareness, communication among performers, and showcases more challenging repertoire.

Dance 2

This class further explores the dance styles introduced in the Beginning Dance course. Students study ballet, modern and jazz technique, as well as partnering skills. Students also work on sequencing skills, phrasing, and body articulation as it applies to the choreography presented.

Dance 3

This course gives more attention to technique in jazz, ballet, and modern dance. As a final project, dancers choreograph their own dance, or collaborate with other students in the class on an original project. Students participate in dance presentations throughout the year.

Drama 2

This course continues the focus of the Drama 1 class, prepares the students for more advanced work and performance.

Drama 3

For the committed actor, Drama 3 offers a wide choice of arenas for student performance, including both classical and contemporary styles. Students will be encouraged to prepare and audition for the numerous performance opportunities. All students will present two short (1-2 minute) monologues suitable for college or conservatory auditions.

Radio 2 -- does not fulfill the Fine Arts requirement

In this class, students host one radio show on KSPB-FM per week and also work in areas such as public service, news, music, sports, and education programming. Advanced Radio students must be capable broadcast engineers with considerable knowledge of broadcast equipment and radio law.

This course does not fulfill our Fine Arts requirement.

Radio 3: Management -- does not fulfill the Fine Arts requirement

This class is designed to show students what it takes to operate a radio station. In addition to hosting a weekly radio show, students in Advanced Radio: Management serve as staff members for KSPB-FM. The students' twice weekly staff meetings assist the station manager with all aspects of running an FCC-Licensed station on the school's campus.

This course does not fulfill our Fine Arts requirement.

Course Offerings - AP Level

AP Art: Drawing & 2D Design

A select group of students, chosen by the faculty for excellence in studio art motivation and potential, prepare a rigorous portfolio of work in preparation for submission to the College Board for College Credit. Working independently with close supervision, students have access to the art studio during weekends and after school for independent studio work. Students create 24 total works to meet the rigorous, national portfolio requirements.

AP Art: Photography

This course is designed to guide highly motivated and independent advanced photography students toward developing a portfolio of work which, when completed and reproduced in digital form, will be submitted to the College Board for evaluation and potentially for college credit. Students must learn to work independently beyond the classroom schedule, to have refined criteria for evaluating their work, and to aspire to the level of photographic expertise and sophistication of students enrolled in the first year of an art college curriculum. The course provides a format for serious photography students who wish to explore their potential for self-expression and technical development in the visual arts through the exploration of black & white film photography and digital photography.

Students in this year-long course will alternate between working on pieces relating to their chosen “concentration” or theme, Section II of the AP Portfolio, (this work is largely self-assigned and prompted by teacher and peer evaluation and suggestions), and work assigned in class as “breadth” for the Section III of the portfolio. Breadth assignments are designed to elicit a wide variety of techniques and subject matter in contrast with the concentration segment of the portfolio, which explores a single theme in depth.

While the class is largely an “applied working studio environment,” work on projects is interspersed with field trips to local galleries, museums, online tutorials and reading/viewing textbooks for inspiration and class discussions.

At the conclusion of the year students must have twelve works in Section II (concentration) and sixteen in Section III (breadth) in addition to a selection of five original works (the “quality” section), which comprise the final portfolio. Each student will write a summary statement describing the nature of the chosen theme in the concentration segment of the portfolio that is submitted with uploaded digital images on a student web page provided by the College Board, for final evaluation by the AP readers.

AP Music Theory

Offered to students in grades eleven and twelve who demonstrate basic music theory knowledge on an entrance exam and an upper intermediate level of skill in instrumental or vocal music, this course is designed to encompass a wide range of musical study with emphasis on the fundamentals of theory, music handwriting skills, form analysis, ear training, rhythmic and melodic dictation, and basic melodic and harmonic composition.

AP Art History (does not fulfill the Fine Arts Requirement)

This rigorous, full-year survey course seeks to develop an understanding and knowledge of diverse historical and cultural contexts of architecture, sculpture, painting and other media. In this course, students examine and critically analyze major forms of artistic expression from the past and the present from a variety of cultures. While visual analysis is a fundamental tool of the art historian, art history emphasizes understanding how and why works of art function in context, considering such issues as patronage, gender, and the functions and effects of works of art. Many colleges and universities offer advanced placement and/or credit to students who perform successfully on the AP Art History Exam. Through extensive readings, examination and discussion of visual sources, independent research and frequent (at least weekly) assessments, which aim to hone students’ ability to synthesize sophisticated visual and verbal material, this course prepares students for the national AP exam administered each May. Students enrolled in this course are expected to take the corresponding AP Examination in Art History.