Academics
Academic Departments

Fine & Performing Arts Department

The Dead Leaf is a butterfly that possesses two arts.  With wings open, it demonstrates glossy stripes of black, orange, and blue.  While lovely, this does not distinguish it in an order known for iridescence.  It is when the butterfly closes those opulent wings that it earns its name.  It looks like a dead leaf, brown, of course, but complete with veins, slight nicks on the sides, small pale circles to look like boreholes.  A famous lepidopterist once noted that this sort of excessive mimicry was like Art, “a form of magic. . .a game of intricate enchantment and deception.” 
 
At Virginia Episcopal School, our Fine and Performing Arts department, much like this butterfly, seeks to produce and inspire art that appeals to both experts and novices.  We believe art holds a special place in the story of man, for the thing is, once you have learned about the Dead Leaf butterfly, you tend to watch your step.  Like art, you are apprehensive for it everywhere.
  • Ceramics I (F)

    Prerequisite:  None. Open to students in grades nine through twelve
     
    Ceramics is a semester-long course. It enables students to recognize the properties and possibilities of clay by creating artworks using hand-building techniques. Development of technical skills and artistic vocabulary includes scoring, slipping, hand-building, slab, coil and pinch techniques, bisque firing, painting and glazing. Students learn to approach ceramic artwork as both functional and decorative sculptural objects. Project assignments stress craftsmanship, following the assignment guidelines and creativity. Students participate in critiques in both individual and group settings.
     
     
  • Ceramics II (S)

    Prerequisite: Requires that Ceramics I is completed with an 85 average or better, or teacher assessment. Open to students in grades nine through twelve
     
    Ceramics II is a semester-long course. This is an advanced art course in which students become more artistically creative and visually literate. In Ceramics II, students will explore throwing on the wheel, layering glazes and working with high fire porcelain. This course contributes to students’ development in the four content areas of art production, art history, art criticism and aesthetics. Students familiar with the basics of ceramics have the opportunity to become more confident in their visual literacy and production of functional and sculptural ceramic art.
     
     
  • Studio Art I (F)

    Prerequisite: None. Open to students in grades nine through twelve.
     
    Studio Art I is a semester-long course. This course examines art as media and criticism for the first-year art student. Attention is given to creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Beginning art students develop the ability to “read” and utilize the principles of art and elements of design to communicate ideas. A first-year art student will become familiar with the vocabulary, the tools and the media used by artists and designers, as well as develop an understanding and appreciation of art.
     
     
  • Studio Art II (S)

    Prerequisite: Completion of Studio Art I with an 85 average or better, or teacher assessment. Open to students in grades nine through twelve.
     
    Studio II is a semester-long course. This is an advanced art course in which students become more artistically creative and visually literate. Students who have completed Studio Art I may continue in Studio Art II, where they work in two and three-dimensional works. This course contributes to students’ development in the four content areas of art production, art history, art criticism and aesthetics. Students familiarized with this basic core of information have the opportunity to become more confident in their visual literacy and production of art.
     
     
  • AP Studio Art

    Prerequisites:
    1. Completion of an entry level art class with a grade of 90 or better
    2. Successful evaluation of the student's work by the instructor
    3. Completion of a satisfacotry number of pieces for the AP Studio Art portfolio in the year preceding enrollment in the actual class
    4. Satisfactory completion of summer work

    Meet all criteria - Approved
    Meet 3 of 4 criteria - Approval Likely
    Meet 2 of 4 criteria - Approval Unlikely
    Meet < 2 of 4 criteria - Not Approved
     
    This course is designed to guide students in the creation of a portfolio that addresses three major concerns in the study of art:
     
    1. Quality: A synthesis of form, technique and content in the student’s work.
    2. Concentration: An in-depth investigation and process of discovery centered on a particular and compelling visual interest or problem.
    3. Breadth: A breadth of experience that exhibits serious grounding in visual principles as well as formal, technical and expressive means of the artist.
     
    Students may select drawing and painting, two-dimensional design or three-dimensional design in the submission of their portfolio to the College Review board.
     
    Formal visual concerns, technical skills and conceptual issues are addressed through creative means in both teacher-directed assignments and student-directed projects. The creation of an AP Studio Art portfolio is an involved and personal process of discovery dependent on the student’s unique thinking and problem-solving skills. It is hoped that this course will not only help students to produce an excellent body of artwork, but also will introduce them to the richness of the creative process on a personal level, opening the door to personal discovery and allowing them to make meaningful contributions to the greater culture.
     
     
  • Digital Photography (F)

    Prerequisite: None. Open to students in grades nine through twelve. Student must have a basic DSLR camera to use for the course.
     
    Digital Photography is a semester-long course designed to develop skills in pixel-based photographic design and printing. Students create, edit, post and share their images electronically. This class includes frequent field trips into the Lynchburg community. Digital Photography includes the ability to see, appreciate and create self-expression through the lens and Photoshop. Students synthesize these elements to create a portfolio of work that reflects their newly developed skills. The assignments require students to think creatively and imaginatively, and encourage them to solve problems in an individual manner. Student participate in critiques in both individual and group settings.
     
    VES provides the latest version of Photoshop. Students wishing to edit on their personal computers must purchase a one-year subscription to the Cloud.
     
     
  • Video Production I (F)

    Prerequisite: None. Open to students in grades nine through twelve.
     
    Video Production I is an online introduction to filmmaking. Students learn how to build a successful video project from the initial stage to the final product, including how to narrow a topic, create a storyboard and shot sheet, write a script, shoot creative video in a timely fashion, edit the video, and publish the finished project. Students also will learn how to use iMovie and Final Cut editing programs.
     
     
  • Video Production II (F)

    Prerequisite: Video Production I
     
    Video Production II is an online course with focus on Special Effects and Animation. Students will use school-owned DSLR cameras, professional camcorders, microphones and lighting equipment to capture their scenes. In this course students will use Adobe Premiere Pro, Motion and Final Cut Software to produce animations, school related videos, such as End of the Year Video, and will serve as leaders in live streaming events and Bishop TV channel on YouTube.
     
     
  • Glee Club

    Prerequisite: None. Open to students in grades nine through twelve.
     
    Glee Club meets daily within the class schedule and provides students with a comprehensive choral experience. The choir performs weekly at chapel services and special events on and off campus. Repertoire includes sacred and secular choral music ranging from the Renaissance period through 21st century composers. A full year’s participation in Glee Club earns students two fine arts credits that count toward satisfying the graduation requirement.
     
     
  • Instrumental Ensemble

    Prerequisite: Students must play at an intermediate level to register for the class. Open to students in grades nine through twelve.
     
    Instrumentalists may participate in this class to earn elective credit in the Fine Arts. One credit is earned for a year’s participation. Instrumental Ensemble meets two days per week outside the class schedule and performs in the fall and spring Family Weekend concerts and in the Lessons and Carols service at Christmas.
     
     
  • Jazz Ensemble (F)

    Prerequisite: Students must play at an intermediate level to register for the class. Open to students in grades nine through twelve.
     
    Instrumentalists may participate in this class to earn elective credit in the Fine Arts. One credit is earned for a year’s participation. Instrumental Ensemble meets two days per week outside the class schedule and performs in the fall and spring Parents’ Weekend concerts and in the Lessons and Carols service at Christmas.
     
     
  • Vocal Ensemble (F)

    Prerequisite: Students must have prior vocal music experience and be selected through audition to register for the class. Open to students in grades 9 through 12.
     
    Vocalists may participate in this class to earn elective credit in the Fine Arts. One credit is earned for a year’s participation. Vocal Ensemble meets two days per week outside the class schedule and performs in concerts for Fall and Spring Family Weekends and in the Lessons and Carols service at Christmas. Students are responsible for learning their individual parts outside of class so that rehearsal time may be used for perfecting the ensemble performance. 
  • AP Music Theory

    Prerequisite: 
    1. Assessment of musical skills, literacy, and working knowledge of basic music theory
    2. Ability to sing or whistle on pitch
    3. Recommendation of the teacher
     
    AP Music Theory is an intense year-long course that focuses on mastering listening, reading and writing music skills. Students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to complete successfully the Advanced Placement examination. The course of study includes the fundamentals of music theory and the application of those components through composition, ear-training and sight-singing practice. Students learn to understand and respond to the structure of music intellectually, physically and aesthetically.
     
     
  • Acting I (F)

    Prerequisite: None. Open to students in grades 9 – 12.
     
    This course is an introduction to fundamental acting techniques. Students will develop an understanding and appreciation for the art of acting through improvisation, scene work, monologues and script analysis. The class will provide students the opportunity to strengthen those powers of concentration, focus, analysis, imagination, creativity and empathy that are critical to every art form.
     
  • Acting II (S)

    Prerequisite: None. Open to students in grades 9 – 12.
  • Public Speaking (S)

    Prerequisite:  None. Open to students in grades 9 through 12.

    This course is an introduction to the principles and practices of public speaking. In addition to listening to, reading and analyzing notable historic and modern speeches by individuals from a broad cross-section of society, students will learn how to write, prepare and deliver a variety of speeches. Speeches such as informative, demonstrative, persuasive, humorous, and extemporaneous will be investigated.


  • Technical Theater (S)

    Prerequisites: No prerequisite. Open to students in grades 9 through 12

    Students focus on developing the basic tools and procedures for creating elements of technical theatre as listed below. Technical knowledge of safety procedures and demonstrated safe operation of theatre equipment are central to success in this course. Students will be required to attend or participate in technical work, rehearsals, and/ or performances beyond the school day to support, extend, and assess learning in the classroom.
  • 9th Grade ARC Collaborative

    The 9th Grade ARC Collaborative provides an interdisciplinary introduction to three different subject areas that students can apply to the rest of their VES experience and future studies. ‘A’ stands for the Arts, which students will engage with through a trimester-long Intro to the Arts course; ‘R’ stands for Reasoning, which will be the focus of their trimester in the Critical Thinking course; ‘C’ is for Computer Science and the work they will complete through the trimester in Computer Science I.
     
    These three academic experiences and the skills our ninth graders will acquire from them will be applicable across academic disciplines. The ARC Collaborative will enrich students’ learning in core subject areas while exposing them to other aspects of our curriculum that may spark a new interest, talent, or passion to pursue further over the course of their VES career. In short, the ARC courses will be a meaningful segment in the path of our ninth graders’ high school experience.
  • Portfolio Development

    Portfolio development class is an independent art course for students who have completed Studio Art I and Studio Art II or Ceramics I and Ceramics II. The course is designed for students who plan to pursue advanced placement studio art in the following year. In this course students will spend their time working independently on their portfolio preparation. This course requires approval from the studio art teacher and is designed for a serious and dedicated art student.

Department Staff

  • Deborah Burton

    June McGraw McBroom Chair of Fine & Performing Arts/Music Teacher/Coach, Drama
    434-385-3772
    Bluefield College - B.A.
    Converse College School of Music - M.M.
    Read Bio
  • Edward Mikenas

    Director of Instrumental Ensemble
    State University of New York at Potsdam - B.S.
    Manhattan School of Music - M.M.
  • Joshua Miller

    Director of Theatre Arts/Teacher/Coach, Boys Basketball, Drama
    434-385-3703
    Mars Hill University - B.F.A.
    Read Bio
  • Rose Peak

    Chapel Organist and Glee Club Accompanist
    Radford University - B.S.
  • Jessica Thompson

    Art Teacher
    434-385-3680
    East Carolina University - B.F.A.
    East Carolina University - M.A.Ed
    East Carolina University - B.A.
A College Preparatory, Independent Boarding and Day School for Students in Grades 9-12
400 VES Road, Lynchburg, VA 24503 • 434.385.3600