"Learning about the Fine Arts is learning how to think creatively, with a sense of imagination. It is not a realm of right vs. wrong, rather a place of multifaceted possibilities."

— Jeremy Foldesy, Fine Arts

Fine Arts

Studio ArtHistory & MusicSummer
  • Visual Language
  • Studio Art I
  • Studio Art II
  • Ceramics
  • Ceramics II
  • Graphic Design I
  • Graphic Design II
  • Art History Survey
  • AP Art History
  • Styles and Analysis In Music
  • Music Theory And Aural Skills  
  • Renaissance Art  

Click here for the Fine Arts structure.

FAR 100 - Visual Language - 1/2 Credit

The Visual Language course for freshmen centers on exploring art as a language. Art is an important means of expression for all human beings and is a part of our shared heritage. The course focuses on the elements of art, which are the vocabulary of the artist, along with the principles of art, the grammar of the artist. Students will learn how to evaluate art critically and demonstrate how to describe and analyze it. Historical and contemporary artists and artworks will be viewed and discussed throughout the course in order to provide the students with ideas and inspiration for their own work as well as to build a base of understanding of the evolution of art. Homework assignments will be integral to the program of study and will consist of reading, writing and sketching.

FAR 406 - Ceramics I - 1/2 Credit

Ceramics I introduces students to hand-building forms in clay. Students gain an understanding of the creative possibilities involved with clay as a medium. This course focuses on various methods of working with clay such as pinching, coil and slab building. Sculptural and surface design skills are emphasized. Students are encouraged to explore functional object making, innovative approaches, and personal vision. Historical and contemporary art examples are shown and discussed as inspiration for projects. Upon successful completion of this course students will be eligible for Ceramics II.

FAR 407 - Graphic Design I - 1/2 Credit

This course focuses on the creation of graphic design.  The course content emphasizes visual symbols, logos, effective representation and a deep level of questioning surrounding all visual choices and possibilities. Aspects of design that will play a large role are advertising, identity, and communication. A major basis for this course is the process of using and exploring the imagination.  Students will learn throughout the semester, how to be thorough, deliberate, and expansive in their visual thinking.  Students will be given projects, problems and themes to address and solve.  Historical and contemporary examples of design will be viewed throughout the semester for inspiration.

Upon successful completion of this course students will be eligible for Graphic Design II.  

FAR 408 - Graphic Design I - 1/2 Credit

This is the first of two graphic design courses within the Fine Arts Department. This is a studio course, so the emphasis is on the creation of graphic design, although historical and contemporary examples of design will be viewed throughout the semester. The content of this course heavily emphasizes visual symbols, logos, effective representation and a deep level of questioning surrounding all visual choices and possibilities. Aspects of design that will play a large role are advertising, identity, and communication. However, a major basis for this course is the process of using and exploring the imagination. Students will learn throughout the semester, how to be thorough, deliberate, and expansive in their visual thinking. Students will be given projects, problems and themes to address and solve. Upon successful completion of this course, students will able to advance to Graphic Design II.  

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Studio Foundations

FAR 425 - Studio Art I - 1/2 Credit

The objective of this course is for the student to develop visual literacy and artistic behaviors through studio practices while developing the ability to articulate his process through reflection and discussion using the criticism process. This course teaches students how to express and communicate thoughts, emotions, and ideas through a variety of media, in both 2 and 3 dimensions. Students will learn decision-making, compositional, and technical skills. Students are responsible for contributing to the content of the course with their own ideas and a continual reflective process. Art history and visual culture are integrated throughout the semester in order to deepen and broaden the pursuits of creating art.

Upon successful completion of this course students will be eligible for Studio Art II.

FAR 407 - Ceramics II - 1/2 Credit

This course is designed as a continuation of Ceramics I.  Students will further expand their facility with clay techniques and processes.  Wheel throwing and extruding techniques will be introduced in addition to the hand-building methods learned in Ceramics I. Students will be given more responsibility to develop their own artistic ideas, with an emphasis on critical thinking about sculptural forms and the aesthetics of functional ceramics. Higher levels of refinement and craftsmanship will be expected throughout the course.  

Upon successful completion of this course students will be eligible for Advanced Art.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Ceramics I

FAR 409 - Graphic Design II - 1/2 Credit

Following Graphic Design I, this course allows for longer projects and a more independent studio working environment. While the emphasis in GDI was primarily image, in GDII there is more focus on type (letter-forms, words, and compositional layout). The ability to work with type effectively lends itself to advertising formats such as posters, book covers, business cards, and album covers, which are the basis for various projects that we develop throughout the semester. In this course students begin to build stronger and more individualized design portfolios.

Upon successful completion of this course students will be eligible for Advanced Art.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Graphic Design I

FAR 426 - Studio Art II - 1/2 Credit

This advanced studio course explores a wide range of open-ended themes encouraged to nurture the student’s own personal and individualistic approach to image making. Thematic projects promote the student’s active role in all creative decisions from subject matter to medium and scale. In this course students concentrate on how color, form, design and composition can be used to describe and communicate ideas through visual means. Students will investigate the use of color emotionally and psychologically for practical and poetic ends.

Upon successful completion of this course students will be eligible for Advanced Art.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Studio Art I

FAR 427 - Advanced Art - 1 credit

Advanced Art is designed for the highly motivated student who is serious about studying art, displays motivation, and demonstrates initiative. Students will build on the skills and knowledge gained in their Level 1 & 2 courses to create an individual body of work in the media of their choice. This course will run as an independent study, requiring students to define their own path of investigation in consultation with the teacher. Assignments will be tailored for each individual’s growth. Students may elect to submit their portfolio for Advanced Placement credit. AP Studio Art requirements will be used as a guideline for the course.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of a pair of Level I & Level II courses and a portfolio review with the Fine Arts chairperson.

FAR 500 - Art History Survey - 1/2 credit

This non-studio course is an overview of various major art historical themes that link art throughout the ages to one another. It is not a chronological or comprehensive survey of art history. We will explore themes such as birth, death, war, & beauty.  Within these themes we will learn the practice of analyzing art in terms of style, methods, traditions and innovations within historical contexts and cultures. The course of study involves a great deal of looking at art, as well as asking perceptive questions and engaging in constructive discussion. It will be similar to other history courses in that students will have quizzes, tests and papers as their primary assessments. This semester course is a prerequisite for the full-year AP Art History course.

FAR 501 - AP Art History - 1 credit

To study Art History is to investigate cultures throughout the world and history, in order to see how they have expressed the human condition in visual form. Gaining an understanding through analysis, questioning and dialogue helps us to better understand this vast array of perspectives. This course is based on the curriculum requirements for the AP Art History Exam and students should expect a rigorous and demanding course. Students will receive a strong grasp of the major periods and movements in art history across cultures. Throughout this course, you will learn the complex practice of decoding and deriving meaning from great works of art. This investigation will lead you to a much richer understanding of the visual world that surrounds us. All students are required to take the AP Art History exam in May.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Art History Survey.

FAR 416 - Music Theory and Aural Skills - 1 credit

This course is intended to provide the student with a solid foundation in the two most important areas of a collegiate level music curriculum - music theory and aural skills. The student will master both basic fundamentals and advanced concepts of music theory, notation, melodic/harmonic analysis, rhythmic accuracy, and ear training.  Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to perform the following skills in order to excel in first year collegiate music theory and aural skills courses: Read and notate music; Identify intervals, chords, scales - both on paper and aurally; Identify various meters, both simple and compound – both on paper and aurally; Take rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic dictation; Perform rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic recitation; Demonstrate knowledge of voicing parts and functions; Perform harmonic and melodic analysis using Roman and Arabic numerals; Compose and arrange simple melodic phrases; Create an accurate transcription of various musical excerpts.

Prerequisite: Music Theory and Ear Training is intended only for students who already

have a working knowledge of basic music notation and theory.  Students must pass an

entrance test if they wish to enroll in this course.

FAR 417 - Styles and Analysis in Music - 1/2 credit

This course is designed to give the students a general knowledge of the language and materials of music and music technology. Students will use this knowledge to compare and contrast many different genres, styles, and techniques, as well as develop and articulate informed opinions on how music affects them personally. We will study rhythm, melody, harmony, form, different families of instruments, the characteristics of musical time periods, influential composers and musicians, and genres and styles from around the world. Throughout the course students will also have the opportunity to learn basic music production skills with digital audio workstation software. At the end of the semester, students will complete a final project demonstrating how the concepts studied throughout the semester apply to one of their favorite current artists and reflecting on the ways in which the music of this artist affects them. This is primarily a listening and discussion course, with a strong emphasis on personal experience and reflection on our relationship.

FAR 600 - Renaissance Art - 1/2 credit (Summer Course)

This is a three-week summer Art History course that earns the student a ½ credit in the Fine Arts. The first week and a half is spent in the classroom at the Prep studying the art and artists of the Italian Renaissance. The class continues in Italy, leaving after class on the Wednesday of the second week, traveling to Rome, Florence, Padua and Venice for the final week and a half. The approximate cost is $5000.

St. Joseph's Preparatory School
1733 West Girard Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19130
tel: 215.978.1950
fax: 215.765.1710
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