For weekly updates on the happenings of the Art Department and more examples of student work head over to the Art Blog. http://www.stmaryscalne.org/blogs/category/art-blog/
Art at St Mary’s is an area of excellence and the girls outstanding artwork is on permanent display around the school. Our aim is to cultivate girls’ enthusiasm and curiosity for the visual world through observational rigor and the introduction of a wide range of imaginative, aesthetic and creative experiences. In the department all artwork is informed with reference to art history or the work of contemporary artists. However, from early on, emphasis is on the individual and girls are encouraged to stretch themselves, bringing their own experiences into their work.
The Art School is staffed by two teachers and an Artist in Residence who bring their own individual specialisms to the department. The Art School is housed in purpose-built studios, with specialist facilities for painting, 3D, ceramics, textiles and printmaking. UVI Form girls have a studio of their own.
Art making extends far beyond the curriculum. The Art School is open during evenings and weekends and there is a wide a range of activities on offer. Girls regularly design the sets for all school productions and in recent years have entered major art competitions such as The Saatchi Gallery/Sunday Telegraph Art Prize for Schools and The Oexmann Art Award at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum with a high level of success.
Lower School Curriculum
Teaching in The Lower School is intended to acquaint girls with a breadth of techniques and to build a solid foundation for GCSE. The LIV Form focus is on colour and form. This is reinforced in the MIV Form through themed 2D and 3D projects. In the UIV Form observational skills are extended and girls are introduced to painting on canvas.
Our Curriculum Enrichment Weeks provide pportunities for girls to work on ambitious group projects in a wide range of media, often inspired by visits to galleries or museums. Working collaboratively is not only great fun but encourages teambuilding within the Form.
Art is a very popular option at GCSE with outstanding results. The first term in the LV is spent experimenting with a range of processes and techniques in preparation for starting the main coursework project. This lasts a year and is completed by the end of the Christmas term in the UV Form. Coursework is based on themed projects such as Landscape, Botany and Portraiture and within this girls chose to specialize in painting, ceramics or textiles. After the completion of coursework girls start to prepare for their exam which generally takes place at the end of the Spring Term. Girls are taken on trips to major museums and galleries nationwide to give them the opportunity to experience artworks first hand to inspire a greater level of creativity.
The emphasis at GCSE is on creative development; girls also learn the importance of sketchbook preparation before resolving their ideas in a final exhibition.
AS and A Level
Art continues to be a popular AS and A2 Level option and complements well a range of subjects. The AS Level course is taught through set projects and girls also receive weekly instruction in life-drawing. The A2 Level course is more self-directed; by then, girls have cultivated their own interests and receive individual support to help realise their own intentions. Examples of recent A2 Level work may be seen in our online gallery.
In the UV1 girls are required to write a Related Personal Study, a focused essay on a particular area of interest to supplement their artwork. It also expected that alongside the numerous trips that they are taken on that the girls visit a wide selection of exhibitions in their own time.
Life drawing is regarded as an essential aspect of visual enquiry. Girls study Life Drawing as a matter of course at A Level and it is also offered as an evening activity and to art scholars in the 5th Form.
Art Scholars and the Gifted and Talented
In each year group we have a dedicated art scholar and number of Gifted and Talented artists. We believe it is vital to give these girls the opportunity to pursue their talents to the greatest extent possible. We therefore offer a programme of workshops and visits to galleries and museums such as The National Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The Courtauld and The Saatchi Gallery to name but a few.
Exam Boards and beyond A Level
Girls regularly choose to pursue Art beyond A Level and in recent years have gained entry to a number of prominent art schools and a wide range of other degree courses.
Ms Candia Bradshaw (Director of Art)