Course Offerings
The Arts

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts Department offers a broad range of courses for students with all levels of artistic training.
Foundation level classes focus on building creative and technical skills through an array of media. Students also learn to develop their understanding of aesthetics, and critical visual analysis. As students progress to more advanced levels, they continue to expand and hone their conceptual and technical knowledge. Advanced level students design their coursework with faculty, exploring and growing their creative vision and interests. Three major art exhibitions, with many smaller ones, are mounted throughout the year.

List of 5 items.

  • Drawing and Design

    Drawing and Design is an entry-level studio art course that explores a wide variety of artistic concepts (e.g., color theory, modeling perspective, composition), and makes use of many different media (e.g., black and white drawing materials, pastels, watercolors, acrylics). Art is made from observation, memory, and imagination. Sculpture projects, digital tools, and Photoshop are introduced in this skills-building class, which is designed for students with little or no background in visual art as well as those with extensive art experience. Study of artists and stylistic movements, occasional writing projects, vocabulary study, and class critiques are incorporated throughout the course to develop students’ ability to understand and discuss art.  
  • Intermediate Art

    In this course, students develop their personal style, artistic vision, and creative expression through the exploration of various art and design genres. Building on the skills introduced in Drawing and Design, Intermediate Art emphasizes concept and quality over quantity, as students work to refine their art. The course may be repeated for credit as the curriculum and assignments change each semester, allowing students’ work to progress over time.
  • Advanced Projects in Art

    This course is for seniors with a strong background in visual arts who want to hone their personal style and self-expression through the creation of a mature, full body of work. Students develop a project by choosing a theme to explore in great depth. Conversations about work in progress and critiques of final projects further the understanding of the art-making process. Students in this class exhibit their work in a group show at the end of the school year. 
  • Nexus: A Course in Design and Creation

    What is creativity in an age of technology, when art is no longer confined to the traditional disciplines of drawing, painting, sculpture, or photography? Nexus is a visual arts class that investigates the intersection of art, design, technology, and culture in the contemporary landscape.

    Using design software, 3D printers, laser cutters, and sewing machines in conjunction with the more traditional artistic approaches of drawing, crafting, and sculpting, students investigate various aspects of design and creation. Each student develops a personalized design project, beginning with basic mock-up sketches in pencil, moving to computer software renderings, and ultimately fabricating objects using the tools available in College Prep’s art room and the X-Lab makerspace.
  • Beginning, Intermediate, & Advanced Photography

    Beginning Photography
    How can we record light, frame compelling compositions, and convey meaningful ideas through photography? What is the difference between taking a picture and making a photograph? Beginning photography focuses on providing students with the technical and conceptual skills to address these questions. The course begins by learning about the principles of photography through making photograms, constructing pinhole cameras, then working with 35mm film cameras and developing black and white film for darkroom printing. After learning these fundamentals, students use digital SLR cameras (and even smartphones) in conjunction with Photoshop to investigate the advantages and limitations of contemporary modes of digital photographic practice. This year-long course is a prerequisite for Intermediate Photography.
    Intermediate Photography
    Intermediate Photography explores more technically complex photographic processes (e.g. studio lighting, flash, panorama, high dynamic range photography, and advanced alternative techniques) while diving more deeply into the conceptual underpinnings of image making. This course aims to deepen students’ photographic fundamentals, while guiding them towards areas of personal interest in the medium. Intermediate Photography is offered on a semester by semester basis and may be repeated for credit as the curriculum and projects change each semester, allowing students to add a variety of tools to their photographer’s tool kit. Prerequisite: fall and spring semesters of Beginning Photography.

    Advanced Projects in Photography
    Seniors who have completed two semesters of Intermediate Photography can sign up for Advanced Projects in Photography, in which each student develops a semester or year-long self-directed body of work focusing on an area of personal photographic interest. Ongoing dialogs and critiques throughout the year help each student advance individualized projects toward the desired goal. The culminating experience of this class is participation in the Advanced Projects Art Exhibition at the end of the spring semester. Prerequisite: two semesters of Intermediate Photography or a combination of one semester of Intermediate Photography and other visual arts classes (Drawing and Design and/or Nexus) as well as demonstrable technical photographic proficiency and permission of the instructor.

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Michael Chan

    Michael Chan 

    Visual Arts / Photography teacher
  • Photo of Christina Williams

    Christina Williams 

    Visual Arts Teacher
    510-652-0111 x226

mens conscia recti

a mind aware of what is right