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.
     
    Texts/Materials Used
    • Earthenware Clay
    • Low-fire glazes
    • Sketchbook
    • Drawing materials
  • 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.
     
    Texts/Materials Used
    • Earthenware
    • Porcelain
    • Underglaze
    • Cone 05 glazes
    • Cone 5 Glazes
    • Sketchbook
    • Drawing materials
  • 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.
     
    Texts/Materials Used:
    • Sketchbook
    • Graphite
    • Acrylics
    • Papier Mache
    • Collage
  • 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.
     
    Texts/Materials Used
    • Sketchbook
    • Graphite
    • Charcoal
    • Oil and Chalk Pastel
    • Acrylics
    • Papier Mache
    • Collage
    • Block printing
    • Watercolor
  • Technical Theater I

    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.
  • 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.
     
    Texts/Materials Used
    • All art materials, 2D and 3D based on the choice of the student
  • 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.
     
    Texts/Materials Used
    • Digital Camera
    • Computer
  • Video Productions 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.
     
    Texts/Materials Used
    • iMovie and Final Cut editing programs
  • 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.
     
    Texts/Materials Used
    Various choral arrangements from composers representative of all periods of music
     
  • 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.
     
    Texts/Materials Used
    • The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis, with Workbook and Anthology, Jane Piper Clendinning and Elizabeth West Marvin (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005)
    • Music for Sight-Singing, 7th ed., Robert Ottman and Nancy Rogers. (Prentice Hall,2007)
    • The Musician’s Guide to Aural Skills, Vol. 1., Joel Phillips, Jane Piper Clendinning and Elizabeth West Marvin  (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005)
    • Concise Introduction to Tonal Harmony with Workbook,  L.Poundie Burstein
  • 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.

    Texts/Materials Used
    Videos exemplifying good public speaking
    Write Out Loud website
    Various scenes from plays
  • Acting (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.
     
    Texts/Materials Used:  Various excerpts from plays, monologues and short scenes
  • 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 Arts/Music Teacher
    434-385-3772
    Year Appointed: 1998
  • Edward Mikenas

    Director of Instrumental Ensemble
    Year Appointed: 2015
  • Joshua Miller

    Theatre Arts Teacher/Director of Theater Tech
    434-385-3703
    Year Appointed: 2017
  • Rose Peak

    Chapel Organist and Glee Club Accompanist
    Year Appointed: 2017
  • Jessica Thompson

    Art Teacher
    434-385-3680
    Year Appointed: 2015
A College Preparatory, Independent Boarding and Day School for Students in Grades 9-12
400 VES Road, Lynchburg, VA 24503 • 434.385.3600