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Visual Arts

Visual Arts is a focus for all of ND Academy. Students take Art once a week from EYC to Lower School finishing at 5th grade. After 5th grade, students are able to choose various visual art electives to fill their schedule such as Mixed Media, Drawing & Painting, or Studio Art from 6th grade all the way through 12th grade.

Big ideas like identity, risk-taking, experimentation, personal and cultural expression, story-telling, time, and spirituality are explored across a variety of mediums and contextual art movements. Students utilize a visual journal to question, reflect, and expand their own ideas about these concepts and themes. Depth within thematic subjects is encouraged. All grade levels are exposed to a variety of visual media and rigorous vertical planning is performed so that from year to year, students artistically grow in skill level and personal voice.

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
– Aristotle

The arts are a universal form of human expression and a unique way of knowing that engage us in effective, imaginative and productive activities. Learning through the arts helps us to explore, shape and communicate our sense of identity and individuality. A focus on the individual enhances our self-confidence, resilience and adaptability. It encourages our sense of belonging and community through the recognition of identities. During adolescence, the arts provide an opportunity for age-appropriate and holistic development of the social, emotional, intellectual and personal intelligences of the student.

In International Baccalaureate (IB) arts, students have opportunities to function as artists, as well as learners of the arts. Artists have to be curious. By developing curiosity about themselves, others and the world, students become effective learners, inquirers and creative problem-solvers. Students develop through creating, performing and presenting arts in ways that engage and convey feelings, experiences and ideas. It is through this practice that students acquire new skills and master those skills developed in prior learning.

Development in the arts is a dynamic process, and not necessarily linear. The student moves freely through a creative process towards a deeper understanding of the arts. IB arts values the process of creating artwork and the point of realization; the two elements combined tell us what students have experienced, learned and attempted to convey. In IB arts, the four objectives have equal importance and value. Although the objectives can be addressed separately to scaffold learning, when used collectively they enrich teaching and learning of the arts.

Thinking creatively fits naturally in IB arts, but can easily become a focus in other subject groups too. This objective is essential in modern education to address the need for student-centered learning and lifelong learning, looking towards a modern context of flexible employment and a higher demand for innovation and change in the workplace. As both an objective in the arts and an approaches to learning (ATL) skill across the program, heightened awareness of thinking creatively encourages students to develop metacognitive skills and become self-regulated learners.

Arts in the IB stimulate young imaginations, challenge perceptions and develop creative and analytical skills. Involvement in the arts encourages students to understand the arts in context and the cultural histories of artworks, thus supporting the development of an inquiring and empathetic world view. Arts challenge and enrich personal identity and build awareness of the aesthetic in a real-world context. (p.4, Visual Arts Guide)


  • Empty Bowls Service Learning Project
  • Capitol Art Exhibit (Statewide show at the Capitol sponsored by the Georgia Art Education Association (GAEA)
  • Student work featured in Georgia Art Education Association's magazine Collage
  • Student work featured in digital show at the National Art Education Association Annual Conference (NAEA)
  • Participate in Youth Art Month (YAM) Showcase & Scrapbook for GAEA

Visual Arts Curriculum

DP Visual Arts (grades 11-12)

The IB Diploma Program visual arts course encourages students to challenge their own creative and cultural expectations and boundaries. It is a thought-provoking course in which students develop analytical skills in problem-solving and divergent thinking, while working towards technical proficiency and confidence as art-makers. In addition to exploring and comparing visual arts from different perspectives and in different contexts, students are expected to engage in, experiment with and critically reflect upon a wide range of contemporary practices and media. The course is designed for students who want to go on to study visual arts in higher education as well as for those who are seeking lifelong enrichment through visual arts.

Upper School Visual Arts

These courses are designed to challenge the students previous knowledge of art and skill level that allows them to become inquiry-based learners with self-driven objectives and interests. Students will continue to be exposed to drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, mixed media, and sculpture. Through the years, students begin to truly choose the mediums that resonate the most with him or her and are then guided by the teacher to further explore the interest and gain a highly specialized set of skills upon graduation.

Middle School Visual Arts

6th Grade Visual Arts

This Visual Arts course is designed as an overview of multiple media course for exposure to various mediums such as drawing, painting, mixed media, printmaking and ceramics. The students get a taste of new ways to express themselves and many entities of art that allow for personal expression.

Drawing & Painting I & II

Course will highlight various techniques for drawing and painting, including pencil and charcoal, watercolor, and painting. Students will draw from life and work from photographs exploring value, color, perspective, and techniques for strong composition.

Mixed Media I & II

Course will explore various 2D and 3D materials such as drawing, collage, surface variation, sculpture, and printmaking. Students are afforded the opportunity to create an inquiry driven final based on concepts and new knowledge learned over the course of the semester.

EYC / Elementary Visual Arts

The visual arts classes in Pre-K through 5th grade correlate with the PYP Units of Inquiry for each grade level as well as enhance students' understandings of the PYP Profile traits and attitudes. Students are exposed to a variety of visual media including drawing & painting, collage, sculpture with basic materials, photography, and clay. Students get to explore big ideas through their own art making as well as learn about ancient, traditional, and contemporary artists. Overall, the arts provide an environment that is conducive of exploration and expression so that students can learn to care for materials, ideas, and each other through the process of art making. The arts program at Notre Dame strives to embrace the ethic of care outlined in the new Georgia Performance Standards and sees art as way for students to learn to be empathic, ethical and creative.

Visual Arts Facilities