Departments

Expressive Arts Department Mission

We encourage a student's life-long relationship with the arts, challenging her to find her own confident artistic voice and to gain a respect for artistic tradition based on our belief that the arts are an intrinsic part of the human experience.

Visual Arts Courses

List of 16 items.

  • Studio Art I

    Studio Art I is a year-long offering and functions as a foundation course in art, helping students establish creative confidence and preparing them for further course work in the Expressive Arts. Students gain a solid understanding of the formal elements and principles of art while learning about the many ways in which to infuse their work with meaning and personal vision. The development of strong observational drawing skills is emphasized through the exploration of various media such as pencil, charcoal, pastel, watercolor, and acrylic paint. Assignments include historical and contemporary approaches to color theory and two-dimensional design. Students are encouraged to analyze and discuss how artists from different time periods and cultures approach problems and questions relating to the visual world. Students keep a daily sketchbook, participate in group projects and critiques, venture out on fieldtrips, and complete individual projects throughout the year. Studio Art I emphasizes success and progress at the individual level, allowing students to find inspiration in the world around them and to communicate their stories visually.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 9-12 (1 credit; full year)
  • Studio Art II

    Students in Studio Art II continue to develop skills and techniques for the studio, while also strengthening their artistic voice and creative confidence. Students paint and draw subject matter such as still-life, portraiture, landscape, perspective, gesture, and abstract. Familiar and new media are explored such as charcoal, ink, watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastels, spray paint, printmaking, and collage. Graphic and fashion design is also studied. Historical and contemporary examples of art help bring perspective to class work. A sketchbook serves as a key component of the course and is used on a weekly basis for planning projects, experimenting with new techniques, and practicing skills. Field trips complement the curriculum as the class explores the local art community and seeks out inspiration. Through a combination of directed assignments, collaborative projects, group critiques, and independent pieces, students learn new skills, techniques, and concepts to find success as developing artists.
    Prerequisite: Studio Art I or equivalent experience.
    Students who have not taken Studio Art I must have instructor's approval based on 5 examples of relevant work.
    Grade Level: 10-12 (1 credit; full year)
  • Studio Art III

    Studio Art III is for students who flourish when working independently on projects they have designed. Students propose projects for themselves in areas of studio art that challenge and interest them while also keeping them engaged at a rigorous pace. Some directed assignments are given to help expand students' skill sets and understanding of art. A sketchbook serves as a key component of the course and is used on a weekly basis for planning projects, experimenting with new techniques, and practicing skills. Field trips with students at other levels complement the curriculum as the class explores the local art community and seeks out inspiration. Students complete the course with a strong set of pieces to add to their portfolios.
    Prerequisite: Studio Art II or equivalent experience. Students who have not taken Studio Art II must have instructor's approval based on 5 examples of relevant work.
    Grade Level: 10-12 (1 credit; full year)
  • Art - Advanced Placement

    This full year course is intended for the student who is seriously committed to the study of the visual arts including painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture. Students work at a rigorous pace to complete either the AP Drawing Portfolio, 2-D Design Portfolio, or 3- D Design Portfolio requirements. Work produced in this course is expected to be both well-crafted and conceptually strong. In the fall, directed assignments and independent projects help students develop expertise in drawing, painting, and 2-D or 3-D media to complete the Breadth Section of the AP portfolio. In the winter and spring, the students create a body of work centered on a theme as the Concentration Section of the AP portfolio. The underlying objective of the course is to guide the student to work at a college level and create a portfolio of work that meets the standards of evaluation by the College Board's AP Program.
    Prerequisite: Studio Art II or equivalent experience; students must apply and be accepted into this course based on an established set of criteria.
    Grade Level: 11-12 (1 credit; full year)
  • Independent Study in Art

    This semester-long course is designed for students who have completed all the available sections applicable to their focus in art. An independent project/study will be developed in collaboration with the instructor connected to a specific medium or area of interest; areas include Studio Art, Photography, Ceramics, or combined media. Students wishing to enroll in this section may do so with prior approval of the instructor with whom they wish to work. Students must also be able to present a project proposal, set their own goals, and have demonstrated that they are able to work in a focused and self-directed manner. This course gives advanced art students the opportunity to explore areas of interest in more depth with the guidance of an instructor during an existing scheduled class time. Students are encouraged to follow emergent ideas, but are also expected to present a cohesive and accomplished exhibition at the end of the semester.
    Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor
    Grade Level: 12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Photography I

    This year-long course introduces students to the concept of the photograph as a means of visual communication and as a path to creative confidence. Students encounter photography through traditional wet darkroom processes, digital techniques, and alternative methods. This foundational course familiarizes students with elements of design and composition, helping them develop their critical thinking skills. Photography I involves students with the basic mechanics of the 35mm film camera and the darkroom through correct exposure, film processing, and printing techniques. Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop Elements are used to digitally edit, manipulate, and produce archival digital prints. Students are encouraged to explore subject matter of interest to them, including portraiture, landscape, and nature photography as well as documentary and abstract approaches. Through a combination of darkroom and digital work, group projects and critiques, fieldtrips, and demonstrations, students gain confidence in their ability to communicate strong visual messages with their images.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 9-12 (1 credit; full year)

  • Photography II

    This year-long course is designed to continue where Photography I ends by building on the knowledge gained in the first year’s study of photography. Rigorous film and digital coursework encourages students to challenge themselves and expand beyond their comfort zone in this ever-changing medium. During this yearlong course, topics such as advanced portraiture, studio lighting, large format, and alternative methods are covered and regular class critiques keep members of the class involved with students at varying levels of photography coursework. In the lively environment of the photography lab, students begin to view their photographs objectively, to exchange ideas and criticisms, and to learn about the broader historical, social, and contemporary contexts of photography. During the second half of the year, students enrolled in Photography II are strongly encouraged to design dynamic and personal photographic projects that build upon areas they have explored in the past, and to continue developing their personal, creative vision. Prerequisite: Photography I or equivalent experience. Students who have not taken Photography I must have instructor’s approval based on 5 examples of relevant work.
    Grade Level: 10-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Photography III

    This year-long course offering is for motivated students who wish to pursue an individual area of interest to create a portfolio of personal images. Students work independently at the advanced level and select from an array of topics that have been introduced and explored in Photography I and II. Although students create independent projects, they are part of a larger group that participates in critiques, fieldtrips, and demonstrations on technique. This is an ideal course for a student who has discovered a love of photography and wishes to explore further in an area of interest that is unique to her. At the end of this course, each student has created a portfolio that consists of analog or digital prints in a presentation book, a CD, and an artist's statement.
    (Gr. 10–12)

    Prerequisite: Photography II or equivalent experience. Students who have not taken Photography II must have instructor’s approval based on 5 examples of relevant work.
  • Ceramics I

    This year-long course is designed to introduce the student to the processes and techniques involved in the production of ceramic art, including construction methods, glazing, and firing of work. Students will learn numerous hand-building techniques (pinch, coil, slab, etc.), as well as gain an introductory experience in the use of the potter’s wheel. Additionally, students will be exposed to a variety of historical and contemporary ceramic artworks, including the socio-political issues which have shaped the history and development of this medium’s long and diverse history. Along with developing an understanding of the historic and aesthetic accomplishments of the past, and the formative influences on the contemporary ceramic artist, students will also be exposed to the diverse cross-cultural solutions to humanity’s need for utilitarian and sculptural expression. Emphasis will be placed on developing a functional understanding and employment of the formal elements and concepts of three- dimensional design. All this is intended to build a vocabulary of technical and aesthetic skills necessary for the development of individual expression. Formal group critiques of finished works will provide each student with the opportunity to: form and articulate an aesthetic opinion; give and receive constructive criticism; and further the development and exchange of creative ideas.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 9-12 (1 credit; full year)
  • Ceramics II

    This year-long course is designed to build upon existing skills acquired in Ceramics I. Students will further explore hand building techniques (pinch, coil, slab, etc.), as well as the use of the potter’s wheel. Students will be expected to be more self-motivated and directed as they respond to class assignments. Additionally, students will be exposed to a variety of historical and contemporary ceramic artworks, including the socio-political issues which have shaped the history and development of this medium’s long and diverse history. Along with developing an understanding of the historic and aesthetic accomplishments of the past, and the formative influences on the contemporary ceramic artist, students will also be exposed to the diverse cross cultural solutions to humanities need for utilitarian and sculptural expression. Emphasis will be placed on developing a functional understanding and employment of the formal elements and concepts of three dimensional design. All this is intended to build a vocabulary of technical and aesthetic skills necessary for the development of individual expression. Formal group critiques of finished works will provide each student with the opportunity to form and articulate an aesthetic opinion, give and receive constructive criticism, and further the development and exchange of creative ideas.
    Prerequisites: Ceramics I
    Grade Level: 10-12 (1 credit; full year)

  • Ceramics III

    This year-long course represents the highest level of class offerings in this study area at Miss Hall’s. As such, students have been prepared to engage in more self-directed objectives and avenues of aesthetic exploration. By working and consulting with the instructor, students will set goals for themselves as they pursue their interests in both content and methods of fabrication/construction. Students will be encouraged and expected to engage in establishing greater facility with the medium, deeper understanding of the principles and concepts of 3-dimensional design, and more purposeful exploration of their aesthetic ideas. Additionally, students will continue to be exposed to a variety of historical and contemporary ceramic artworks, including the socio-political issues which have shaped the history and development of this medium’s long and diverse history. Along with further developing an understanding of the historic and aesthetic accomplishments of the past, and the formative influences on the contemporary ceramic artist, students will also be exposed to the diverse cross cultural solutions to humanity’s need for utilitarian and sculptural expression. Emphasis will be placed on further developing and displaying a functional understanding and employment of the formal elements and concepts of three dimensional design. All this is intended to further build and test the vocabulary of technical and aesthetic skills necessary for the development of individual expression. Formal group critiques of finished works will provide each student with the opportunity to form and articulate an aesthetic opinion, give and receive constructive criticism, and further the development and exchange of creative ideas.
    Prerequisite: Ceramics II or permission of the instructor
    Grade Level: 11-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Designing with Glass

    This one-semester course will focus on understanding the qualities and properties of working with fused and slumped glass forms. Students will engage with some of the chemistry and physics of the material, gather experience in producing molds (to slump fire their work) while being challenged to explore the effect of composition, color theory, and overall design.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 10-12 (1/2 credit; second semester)
  • Filmmaking

    In this yearlong course, students will encounter and investigate the basics of film creation, from beginning to end, by looking at classic films and iconic filmmakers’ directing styles and by learning the vocabulary and genres associated with this medium. As they work toward making their own films, students will practice script writing and story boarding and will create shot lists and field logs. Using DSLRs, students will learn the basics of production including basic camera functions, lighting, shot types, and sound editing. In post- production, students will use industry-standard video editing software to edit their footage and create final short films ready for film festival submission.
    Prerequisite: Any Expressive Arts course or permission of instructor
    Grades: 10-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Garment and Textile Design

    This one-semester course introduces students to the fashion industry. The history of clothing and fashion is studied together with contemporary designers and trends, and students gain an understanding of the greater cultural and global context in which everyday clothing is created. The course includes basic sewing skills and knowledge of sewing machines as well as more theoretical design and draping concepts. Students create mood boards, critique each other, and venture off campus on various field trips.
    Prerequisite: completion of one credit in a studio art (art, ceramics, or photo) or with department recommendation
    Grade Level: 10-12
    (1/2 credit; semester to be determined)
  • Gallery and Arts Administration

    Students will learn about the business side of the art world in this onesemester, project-based class. We will visit galleries and museums to learn about curation, gallerists, arts management, grant writing, and selling of art. Students will work as a team to establish a mission statement for our pop-up gallery, identify a space to curate a show, serve as the jury for the selections, and host the show in the gallery as a final semester project. Prerequisite: application and instructor approval
    Grade Level: 11-12
    (1/2 credit; first semester)
  • History of Art

    In this one-semester survey of global cultures’ visual expression, emphasis will be placed on recognizing the religious, social, political, economic, intellectual, and technological influences that have fueled cultural evolution. Students will examine the history of art from prehistoric cave painting through contemporary sculpture, painting, photography and architecture. Art from around the globe is studied - from Europe to Asia, from Africa to the US and South America. Several field trips to local museums will provide opportunities to directly experience examples of what has been studied in the classroom.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 10-12 (1/2 credit; first semester)

Theater Arts Courses

List of 6 items.

  • Drama and Performance I and II

    This year-long course is designed to give students experience in the art and craft of acting on the stage and to deepen their knowledge and understanding of theater. Exercises, improvisations, and work on texts will help students free their imaginations, develop flexibility and expressiveness in both voice and movement, and explore the emotions necessary to bring life to a role. Students engage in intensive play and scene study, role analysis, character development and improvisation. Through extended study of plays from different periods, they gain knowledge of theater history and an awareness of various theater styles. The final exam consists of a presentation of scenes and monologues
    (Gr. 9-12)

    Prerequisite: None
  • Drama - Advanced

    This year-long course is designed to provide continued study in theater for the more experienced Drama student. The focus is on self- directed study and performance as well as the opportunity to model for the Drama and Performance I & II students as a Teacher's Assistant.
    Prerequisite: Drama and Performance II or permission of instructor.
    Grade Level: 11-12 (1 credit; full year)
  • Theater Here and Now

    This one-semester course will give students the opportunity to create two theater pieces inspired by things that are happening right now. The first will be a variety show based on that most beloved and theatrical of holidays, Halloween. Students will use all the theater’s tricks of illusion and mystery –music, masks, magic, storytelling, improvisation, and even a ghost show -- to create vignettes, scenes and skits to thrill and chill.
     
    During the second half of the semester, students will pick a subject or event of local concern, research it and create a theatrical event to bring it to life. In this section they will apply some of the theatrical techniques learned in the first half of the semester. Freed from the limits of a written text with acts and scenes, they will seek theatrical ways to convey new and developing ideas. We will invite our MHS community as well as our local Berkshire community to enjoy both of these productions.
    Prerequisite: Drama and Performance I or permission of instructor
    Grade Level: 10-12
    (1/2 credit; first semester)
  • Storytelling Live!

    From Homer to Rap, storytelling has been one of the most vital elements of human interaction. In this one-semester, performance- based class we will invent our own stories and explore all the tricks of the trade that storytellers use to take listeners on their journey. Movement, spoken word, sound and rhythm, visual imagery, and choral parts are some of the techniques we will explore as we look for new ways to spin our tales.
    Prerequisite: Drama and Performance I or permission of instructor
    Grade Level: 10-12
    (1/2 credit; second semester only)
  • Technical Theater

    Students are given the opportunity to work in a variety of production capacities to learn by doing such activities as set and lighting design, painting, costume production and stage managing. Students learn the technique and craft necessary to realize the scenery of the two dramatic productions presented each school year plus a chance to learn lifetime skills. Technical Theater provides a great opportunity for women to acquire confidence and training in the use of power and hand tools. One-half academic credit is given for a full year's commitment. (Gr. 9-12)
    Prerequisite: none
    (1/2 credit; participation in both productions)
  • Theater Ensemble

    Two major productions are presented each year, a drama or comedy in the Fall, and a musical in the winter. Auditions are open to all students interested in acting, regardless of prior acting experience. The plays stress commitment to a group project, especially the importance of ensemble theater, rather than the "star system." One-half academic credit is given for a full-year's commitment. 
    (Gr. 9-12) 
    Find out more about Theater Ensemble here.
    Prerequisite: Audition

Music Courses and Ensembles

List of 6 items.

  • Contemporary Music History: 1880s - Present

    From Ragtime to Rihanna, students will explore the evolutionary roots and progression of popular music forms over the past 100 plus years in this one-semester course. Students will explore various musical genres and movements throughout history including jazz and blues, country, folk, early rock n roll, r & b, soul, reggae, latin, disco, hard rock, rap, hip-hop, heavy metal, punk, new wave, glam, grunge, electronic, and pop. Students will gain an understanding of the components of modern popular music, the types of instrumentation used, and its historical roots as well as its cultural, political, and social context plus the significance of given movements. Course work will include readings, films, music videos, albums, and project-based research, design, and presentations on topics of individual interest.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 10-12 (1/2 credit; first semester)
  • Songwriting

    The goal of this one-semester course is for the student to develop the ability to express her voice through the process of creative song writing. Students will explore many different song arrangement formats and will practice writing, editing, and revising drafts of songs through making demo recordings and listening back in analysis. Students will keep a production process journal to track revisions, techniques, and progress. Students must already be proficient with an intermediate ability on their instrument of choice or have basic piano skills.
    Prerequisite: none
    Grade Level: 9-12 (1/2 credit; second semester)
  • The Grace Notes

    The Grace Notes singing group is a student-led a cappella ensemble that is assisted by the the school's vocal music director. Membership is selected by audition in the spring semester. In order to be eligible to audition a student must have attended at least one year at Miss Hall's. The group performs in the School's concert series, during the coordinate concerts with other schools, and on other special occasions. The Grace Notes often function as ambassadors for the school. (Gr. 10-12)
    With a full year's participation in a Music Ensemble, students have the opportunity to earn one-half academic credit. Music Ensembles may be taken as a credit bearing course only in addition to the normal student course load.
    (1/2 credit for full year participation)
    Find out more about music ensembles here.
    Prerequisite: Audition
  • Instrumental Music Ensemble

    The exact nature of the instrumental ensemble is determined by the temperaments, inclinations, and abilities of the various players plus the size and instrumentation of the group. The ensembles perform in the school's concert series and on other special occasions.
    (Gr. 9-12)
    With a full year's participation in a Music Ensemble, students have the opportunity to earn one-half academic credit. Music Ensembles may be taken as a credit bearing course only in addition to the normal student course load.
    (1/2 credit for full year participation)
    Find out more about music ensembles here.
    Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor
  • Vocal Ensemble

    Vocal Ensemble is offered for all students who wish to participate in the experience of group singing. The group studies the principles of vocal music: breathing, tone production, fundamentals of articulation and diction. The group performs in the school's concert series, during the coordinate concerts with other schools, and on other special occasions. (Gr. 9-12)
    With a full year's participation in a Music Ensemble, students have the opportunity to earn one-half academic credit. Music Ensembles may be taken as a credit bearing course only in addition to the normal student course load.
    (1/2 credit for full year participation)
    Find out more about music ensembles here.
    Prerequisite: None
  • Private Music Instruction

    Private instruction in voice, instruments, and music technology is available to students. The lesson fees vary with the instructor. A signed parental permission slip is required for all students taking lessons. The student has the option of taking the lesson as a credit course. Private music instruction for credit must be taken in addition to the normal student course load.
    Prerequisite: None Grade Level: 9-12
    (1/4 credit; one semester participation)
    (1/2 credit; year-long participation)
    Find out more about music instruction here.

Expressive Arts Core Values

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More on Arts

Find out more about the music, theater and visual arts offerings, including photo and video galleries here...

Meet the Faculty

List of 9 members.

  • Sophia Lane '96 

    Expressive Arts Department Chair
    Maryland Institute College of Art - M.A.
    Wellesley College - B.A.
    Read Bio
  • Deborah Duff 

    Director of Music and Choral Director
    New England Conservatory of Music - M.M.
    Wheaton College - B.A.
    Read Bio
  • Gary Grosenbeck 

    Ceramics Teacher
    University of Minnesota - M.F.A.
    SUNY Oswego - B.F.A.
    Read Bio
  • Jennifer Jordan 

    Director of Theater and Dance
    Ohio University - M.F.A.
    Marymount Manhattan College - B.F.A.
    Read Bio
  • Yelena Levina 

    Instrumental Music Instructor
  • Bing Liu 

    Instrumental Music Instructor
  • Amy Renak 

    Instrumental Music Instructor
  • Rob Sanzone 

    Instrumental Music Instructor / AV Coordinator
    University of Massachusetts - B.A.
    Read Bio
  • Elizabeth Spangler 

    Studio Arts Teacher
    Colorado College - MAT
    Bates College - BS
    Read Bio
492 Holmes Road • Pittsfield, MA 01201  (413) 443-6401

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Located in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Miss Hall's School is an all girls private, college preparatory boarding and day high school for grades 9-12.
© Copyright 2017 Miss Hall's School