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.
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.
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.
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.
Ceramics I & II
This course is an introduction to the art and craft of ceramics. Students learn hand-building and wheel-throwing skills with an emphasis on 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 is emphasized. We will also consider the historical context, materials, technology, and social aspects of ceramic arts.
Drawing & Painting I & II
Drawing and Painting students begin by learning the fundamentals of observation and basic skills of drawing. The curriculum also includes studies in the formal elements of art, drawing vocabulary, and art history. Painting is introduced with exercises in primary colors, color mixing, and complementary colors.This course begins with more structured assignments and will then transition into broader conceptual themes, giving students the opportunity to communicate a personal artistic style through their work.
Photography I & II
This hands-on course will instruct students in the basic operations of a digital SLR camera as well as in proper camera handling, exposure control, depth of field, lenses and the visual characteristics of lenses, and how digital capture works. Students will also learn how to transfer files to a computer and systematically manage a large number of digital files. Adobe Photoshop will be used as the digital darkroom and for basic image correction as well as for creative assignments. Students will learn various ways of presenting work. In Photography II, technical skills coupled with aesthetic expression are emphasized along with a study of photographic theory, and trends in contemporary and historical photography. Advanced students also explore basic DSLR video skills, create their own unique portfolio, and produce a website for promoting their artistic practice.
Students in this course will learn the basics of digital illustration and design. They will develop traditional drawing skills to aid in the development of graphic media. Specific tools and techniques will be taught to enable students to create digital vector images that can be applied across a wide range of products and media. Drawing & Painting is a prerequisite for this class.
Videography & Filmmaking
In this hands-on course, students are introduced to the principles and techniques of film production, including camera operation, basic script writing, lighting, sound, and basic digital editing. Students will also learn how to use a video camera, shoot DSLR video, capture audio, and use editing tools while incorporating aesthetics. Photography is a prerequisite for this course.
Silversmithing I & II
Students gain proficiency with the basic jewelry-making techniques of sawing, filing, soldering, and polishing to design and create projects in silver and other materials. The principles and elements of design are the foundation for self-expression in three-dimensional jewelry and sculpture. The course covers a variety of techniques, stone setting, the history of silversmithing, properties of metals, and significant artists.
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 performance. Students will study fundamentals of music and beginning-music theory.
Music - Intermediate
This course is for the intermediate music student who has successfully completed Beginning Music or has equivalent music experience. The goal of this course is to teach intermediate music students the skills and techniques necessary to organize and rehearse music in preparation for live performance. Students will review the fundamentals of music and beginning music theory, and then study intermediate music theory.
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 live performance. Students will review intermediate music theory and will work toward the study of advanced music theory, analysis, improvisation, and composition.
Recording & Engineering -
This course is for the advanced music student who has successfully completed Intermediate Music. The goal of this music course is to study advanced music, selected by the students, in preparation for live performance. We will review intermediate music theory and will work our way towards the study of advanced music theory, analysis, improvisation, and composition. The students will also be expected to prepare a presentation about music for their class by doing research in the school library and on the Internet. Each week will be spent studying music theory, practicing, and rehearsing. We will also study recording and engineering; the students will learn how to record, engineer, and produce a CD. We will study the basics of recording, including microphone placement, how to operate the digital recorder, adding effects, and the advanced skills needed for mastering a final product.