Visual Arts

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts Department at NMSA offers 4 years of scaffolded learning that balances an attention to skill and concept building in the making of visual communication. The four-year Visual Arts curriculum is designed to expose students to a breadth of visual arts experience through exposure to diverse materials, tools, and processes (including 2D, 3D, and 4D – digital and analog) preparing them for successful application and first-year engagement in fine arts college-level learning or related arts career pre-professional experiences. Through the process of making and revising, accompanied by frequent critique, we aim to grow students’ critical, making, and creative problem solving skills, and the self-awareness needed to be successful in any field as engaged, self-expressed citizens.

The Visual Arts Department at NMSA offers 4 years of scaffolded learning that balances an attention to skill and concept building in the making of visual communication. The four-year Visual Arts curriculum is designed to expose students to a breadth of visual arts experience through exposure to diverse materials, tools, and processes (including 2D, 3D, and 4D – digital and analog) preparing them for successful application and first-year engagement in fine arts college-level learning or related arts career pre-professional experiences. Through the process of making and revising, accompanied by frequent critique, we aim to grow students’ critical, making, and creative problem solving skills, and the self-awareness needed to be successful in any field as engaged, self-expressed citizens.

Faculty

Karina Hean

Visual Arts Department Chair

Andres Machin

Visual Arts Instructor

Tom Miller

Visual Arts Instructor

Jacob Sisneros

Visual Arts Instructor

Guest Artist Program

NMSA’s Guest Artist Program is a critical piece of the curricula and central to the mission of the school. It augments students’ technical skills, provides mentorship, and brings the profession to life, allowing students to see how their skills can ultimately be applied in a real world setting. It also offers students and staff alike a fresh perspective that can fuel creativity, encourage experimentation, and expand imagination.

Debbie & Charlie Carillo

Micaceous Clay Artists

Brandon Gunn

Education Director, UNM Tamarind Press Institute

Jami Porter Lara

Ceramic Artist

Earl McBride

Painter

Kathleen McCloud

Axle Contemporary Guest Artist

Tony O'Brien

Photographer

Dario Robleto

Transdisciplinary Artist, Researcher, Writer, Teacher

Curtis Tawlst Santiago

SITE Santa Fe Guest Artist

Lucrecia Troncoso

Micaceous Clay / Sculpture

Rick Yoshimoto

Axle Contemporary Guest Artist

Events
Curriculum

The Visual Arts Curriculum is comprised of sequentially organized semester-long courses that serve as pre-requisites to the following semester and year, supported by 4 full-time Visual Arts Faculty.  Course work combines hands-on studio experience and learning with demonstration, lecture, critique, seminar/discussion, research, and presentations (written/spoken) in both individual and collaborative projects that use visual studies and expression as a way to explore, understand, and communicate about themselves, their community, and the world.  Each student takes 3 courses per semester. Additionally, the VA Faculty host Open Studio 2 evenings a week to further support students in their work.

Throughout the semester, the Visual Arts Department and individual VA classes will visit local museums, galleries, and studios and host visiting Guest Artists.  Students have opportunities to participate and assist in the production of annual Visual Arts Department exhibitions (4-8 annually). The semester in Visual Arts concludes with a private Portfolio Review meeting and conversation with each student and the 4 Visual Arts faculty, wherein progress is noted, areas of growth are identified, and the student practices presenting their artwork, self-evaluating, goal-setting, and using visual vocabulary (oracy skills).  College readiness, application to colleges, grants, and scholarships, attention to summer pre-college study courses, internships and employment are also supported by VA Faculty and curriculum.

9th Grade

9th grade is a foundation year. Students learn the elements and principles of design, and work intensively on drawing skills, digital skills, composition, vocabulary, and sketchbook use. Fall semester is dedicated to 2D Design vocabulary and practice while Spring is dedicated to 3D Design.  Basic drawing skills are emphasized throughout the year. The transition to high school is also addressed as students are taught skills that will help them succeed over the next four years, including organization, collaboration, criticality, health and safety, studio/classroom expectations, and essential creative habits and skills.  Studies in Art Theory Studio Projects explore topics related to the Philosophy of Art.

10th Grade

10th grade is an exploratory year. Course work will revisit issues of design, composition, and visual communication while encouraging students to explore, take risks, be curious, and embrace ‘failure’.  As a result, emphasis is placed on ideation, revision, and process more than product. Students experience a wide range of materials and processes in Studio Exploration 2D, 3D, and digital/4D, while continuing to emphasize and deepen their vocabulary and use of the visual fundamentals.  Studies in Art Theory Studio Projects explore Modernism, and students take Digital Fundamentals, Studio Exploration 2D, Studio Exploration 3D, Digital Exploration.

11th Grade

11th grade is a year of media focus in research, inspiration, and making and builds upon the previous two years by introducing increasingly rigorous, semester-long courses that build depth in material command in Drawing II and Sculpture, New Media, Printmaking and/or Painting (only 2).  Increasingly independent and teacher-guided work that expresses personal interest is increasingly emphasized in Junior Conceptual Concerns. Art Theory Studio will address Post-Modernism and Contemporary Art Now. Preparation for College Applications begins with a focus on portfolio development and in Drawing II.

12th Grade

12th grade is a culminating year of intentional individual effort and expression in which material and expression continues the process of independent study/research supported by semester-long courses in Sculpture, New Media, Printmaking and/or Painting (only 2).  Students convey their ideas visually and verbally with clarity and confidence. An independent Senior Project that culminates in a student-produced exhibition, action, or product is required for graduation with an Art Institute certificate.  Professional Practices and college application preparation/decision making are also addressed along with the transition to college.