Whether you are discovering your creative side for the first time, interested in applying scientific principles in a practical hands-on setting, or want to pursue an art career in college and beyond, CRMS enjoys a robust and unique range of arts offerings with a multitude of dedicated teachers and studios.
The Arts Department emphasizes a commitment to the production and appreciation of art, the awareness of the role of art in society, and the value creative exploration can have on lifelong learning. CRMS is fortunate to enjoy dedicated art spaces for each unique offering. The arts faculty are also all practicing artists themselves and offer a wide array of experiences to share with the students.
The CRMS arts program extends well beyond the classroom. Students have the opportunity to participate in art service crews each afternoon, take advantage of open studios in the evening, and perform musically in Coffee House, band concerts, and all-school meetings throughout the year.
Many students who don’t consider themselves “artistic” or “musical” come to CRMS and are surprised to discover this new side of themselves. By exploring and developing their creativity in the art studios, CRMS students are better equipped to think creatively in the classroom.
All 9th grade students are required to take Arts Survey, an integrated program in the visual and performing arts. During this course, they are presented with the opportunity to briefly explore many of the art disciplines offered by the Colorado Rocky Mountain School Fine Arts Department. Coordinated by a team of teachers, core units in drama and two- and three-dimensional design introduce students to the elements of art vocabulary, techniques, and theories. Most important, students are encouraged to challenge themselves, through a wide range of opportunities, to experience the creative process. This course is integrated with the 9th grade humanities curriculum.
CRMS offers the most comprehensive high school blacksmithing education program in the U.S. Students learn the blacksmith’s craft in an atmosphere rich in history and in programs that focus on developing the foundational skills of blacksmithing. Opportunities to learn about blacksmithing and ironworking are supported by the Service Crew and Interim programs.
This blacksmithing curriculum serves as a comprehensive introduction to the blacksmithing process and technique. It is designed to provide students with the skills to explore the potential of forged iron as an expressive medium. Students work on a variety of exercises and projects that teach the fundamentals of the craft, including design and table drafting. Students also examine the historical context, materials, geography, technology, and social aspects of iron and forge.
The Service Crew and Interim programs combine service and educational components. Students work on collaborative projects that provide a variety of functional and decorative ironwork for the CRMS campus.
Ceramics I, II & III
This course is an introduction to the art and craft of ceramics. Students learn hand-building and wheel-throwing skills emphasizing the artist’s voice and communication through ceramic arts. While engaged in studio projects, students explore the expressive potential of clay while developing artistic and technical solutions in both form and surface. The importance of developing excellent technical skills and craftsmanship are emphasized. Students will also consider the historical context, materials, technology, and social aspects of ceramic arts.
Drama and Performance
In this Drama and Performance course, the fundamentals of acting will be explored and practiced as students center around the themes of Voice, Body, Audience and Stage. Performance approaches from ancient to contemporary will be considered and incorporated while learning to deliver a message to an intended audience. Students will take solo and group projects through a progression from inspiration to design to performance. This process will include planning, practice, reflection, and engagement with the global arts community through the use of social media sharing platforms. A major focus of this class will be the creation and performance of CRMS’s annual drama production.
Drawing & Painting I, II & III
Drawing and Painting students begin by learning the fundamentals of observation and basic skills of drawing, then progress through perspective, rendering three-dimensional forms in space, and the elements of composition and design. In the second semester, students are introduced to color mediums emphasizing colored pencil and acrylic painting. This course will begin with more structured assignments and then transition into more conceptual themes allowing students to communicate a personal artistic style through their work.
In Drawing and Painting II/III, students identify as artists, collaborators, and researchers. They foster their curiosities and follow an arts-based inquiry process based on interdisciplinary connections, studio exploration, and ongoing critique and refinement. Students become the authentic owners of their work and develop the skills and language to support it. They will complete an artist portfolio and learn to present it in a professional manner.
CRMS is one of only a handful of high schools in the nation offering the unique opportunity for students to learn to blow glass. CRMS’s passion for this program allows the school to take this ancient art form and share it with students through world-class instruction and a state-of-the-art teaching facility.
At CRMS, Glassblowing is offered each quarter as part of the service program and as an intensive study during the Interim week in February. The purpose of the school’s Glassblowing program is to provide the school community with valuable pieces of blown glass, as well as to apply principles learned in science and math to artistic creations. To accomplish this, students go through an extensive safety orientation and then spend a good deal of time developing the foundational skills needed to work in this medium. Teamwork is a vital element in the actual making of pieces and in the sharing of knowledge. Students make drinking glasses for the Bar Fork dining hall as well as bowls and other items. Students also have the opportunity to create pieces for their own use, particularly during the week-long Interim program.
Music - Beginning
This course is for the beginning music student with little or no previous music experience. The goal of this course is to teach beginning music students the skills and techniques necessary to organize and rehearse music in preparation for live performances. Students will study the fundamentals of music and beginning music theory.
Music - Intermediate
For those who have successfully completed Beginning Music or its equivalent. Students study music appreciation, review the fundamentals of music theory, and will begin the study of intermediate music theory. The class will practice and rehearse songs selected by the students. The goal is to teach the skills and techniques necessary to organize and rehearse music in preparation for a live performance.
Music - Advanced
This course is for the advanced music student who has successfully completed Intermediate Music or who has equivalent music experience. The goal of this course is to study many varieties and genres of advanced music which will be defined by the class and instructor in preparation for a live performance. Students will review intermediate music theory and will work toward the study of advanced music theory, analysis, improvisation, and composition.
Recording & Engineering - Senior Music
This course is for beginning through advanced seniors interested in music. The goal of this music course is to study challenging music selected by the students in preparation for a live performance. We study music theory, analysis, improvisation, and composition. During the third quarter, the students study songwriting. They also gain the skills necessary to produce a professional recording utilizing “Logic” (a software program for recording) and the advanced skills needed for mixing and mastering the final product.
Photography I & II
This hands-on course will instruct students in the basic operations of a digital SLR camera which includes exposure control, depth of field, lenses, and how digital capture works. Students will learn how to manage digital files. Adobe Photoshop will be used as the digital darkroom and for basic image correction as well as creative assignments. Students will discuss the impact of photography on society, its history, significant photographers, and current issues.
In Photography II, Students continue to advance their knowledge of techniques and skills in digital photography. Technical skills coupled with personal aesthetic expression are emphasized along with a study of photographic theory, significant photographers, and trends in contemporary and historical photography. This course will also open a window into digital art. An emphasis will be placed on creativity as students gain expertise with Photoshop and dive deeper into editing and manipulating their images. Students will also explore basic DSLR video skills. Students will work to create their unique portfolios and produce a website for promoting their artistic practice.
Silversmithing I & II
In this course, students gain proficiency in using the tools and materials to design and create projects in sterling silver. The history of silversmithing, properties of metals, significant artists, and identification of styles and techniques are covered throughout the year, as the students make rings, chains, sculptures, boxes, and do stone-setting and other projects using a variety of techniques.
Videography & Animation
This course is for any student seeking complete creative freedom. Animation removes the constraints present in other artistic mediums, meaning the only limit is your own imagination. Students in this course will practice three kinds of animation: traditional, motion graphics, and stop motion. They will also learn the ropes of videography and editing while exploring special effects and opportunities for visual tricks. Students will practice various animation and film techniques through smaller projects, and then end the year with a larger personal project. These projects will relate to different applications of the medium of film, including music videos, marketing, storytelling, and education. As we dive into the many worlds within the realm of videography, students will have lots of opportunities to engage with the work of others from different times, places, and cultures. Just as the video camera gives us the chance to showcase our own unique view of the world, it also allows us to gain access to other people’s perspectives.