ACADEMY FOR VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS - VISUALOverview
The AVPA visual arts concentration contains a mix of traditional and digital design and production, with a strong emphasis on digital. The program is designed for students interested in pursuing a college major in any one of a broad range of arts including graphic and web design, illustration, photography, film/animation/video, game design, package design, traditional/fine arts, art history, and so much more. All of the courses help students develop creativity and critical thinking skills, tools to help them succeed in any major or career, including related fields like architecture, engineering, and computer science.
The Visual Arts concentration is a college preparatory program specializing in the latest advances in the arts, including 2D and 3D animation, print/digital publishing, and multi-media. Students study every essential aspect of the visual arts field through immersion in a curriculum that embraces these new technologies, while still emphasizing traditional skills and principles of art and design. While blending art and technology, students have the freedom to explore their strongest interests. Some of the latest areas of research include development with Maya 3D modeling software, Unity game development software, Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets, and Arduino programming to create immersive, virtual reality experiences in conjunction with Ellis Island and the National Parks Service.
Core courses cover a broad range of topics, including the Adobe Creative Suite, the principles and elements of design, drawing, web development, video production, laser cutting and engraving, just to name a few. Along with core courses, students are able to explore their interests further through electives and research-style classes. They are given the opportunity to develop their imagination and boost their creativity through hands-on, experiential learning. The courses range from 3-D environments with Maya, virtual reality with Oculus and Vive, and Arduino, to painting, sculpture, printmaking, and stage set construction, and many other options.
The curriculum is driven by computer graphics instruction and imaging technologies. Core classes specifically designed for Visual students include an introduction to visual arts and graphic communication, design and production techniques, publishing, and digital imaging. Students are required to build and maintain a portfolio that exhibits a high degree of creativity as well as technical proficiency. Works in the portfolio range from traditional drawing and painting to photography, print and web design, computer animation and gaming, and video. Students have access to internships in literally hundreds of production houses that support the art and imaging needs of prestigious metro area businesses. They also have the opportunity to achieve certification with Adobe software, including InDesign, PhotoShop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, and Premiere.
During their time in the academy, students participate in exhibitions and competitions. The skills learned here have helped them take top honors in prestigious events such as the Governor's School, C-SPAN Film Documentaries, and Scholastic Arts. Through the development of an interactive, virtual reality environment, the school has also developed a strong relationship with the National Parks commission and is continually working on projects with them. Students also attend field trips and take part in the design and construction of environments for events like the AVPA Halloween Haunted House. In this event, every grade level gets involved and lets their imagination run wild, while developing skills in every area of the arts.